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Arborist will assess tree damage in Amherst

Amherst residents who want to save as many of the town's 9,000 storm-damaged trees as possible may soon be able to consult with a town arborist, officials say.

Town Board members last week approved a measure to contract with an arborist who will evaluate storm-damaged trees on town property that are scheduled for removal.

Supervisor Satish B. Mohan said the arborist will take part in a review of every tree on a town right of way that is scheduled for removal.

"We really want to include the neighbors in the process. We want to see that people are in the loop. That is the goal," Mohan said.

Council Member Shelly Schratz, who came up with the suggestion, said residents wanted to make sure that the town was represented by an arborist who reviewed each tree before it is taken down.

"This way, Amherst residents will know that we hired someone on behalf of the town. That's what residents want," she said.

About 1,000 damaged trees have been targeted for immediate removal because they are posing hazards, officials said. These are expected to come down as soon as Erie County legislators approve a contract with the town to cover the work.

Nearly 8,000 other trees on town rights of way were damaged in last October's heavy snowstorm but are less of a hazard and might survive if they are allowed to stand for at least one more year, supporters say.

The hiring of an arborist could take several weeks, Mohan said.

He declined to say how much the measure will cost but added: "It won't be too much."

e-mail: tdolan@buffnews.com

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