Editor’s note: The following letter is George Unger’s response to the letter “Gerwig Responds To Unger Letter” published June 20.
The Village of Wellington has the responsibility of maintaining our canal system to prevent flooding and property loss by its citizenry, and to that end it requires the ability to bring equipment onto the village’s canal banks.
To this end, there is a prohibition of homeowners planting shrubs/trees in this area that could end up constricting water flow if they ended up in a canal.
Recently, 41 homeowners were advised that the village would clear a swath alongside the canal that was filled with shrubs/trees, disallowing maintenance of the canal, affecting 1,000 homes in the area if the vegetation indeed clogged up the canals in a storm event. Might I add that the village indeed could be liable for the damage if maintenance was not performed, and that the plantings were actually a violation of code, and the homeowners could have been made to remove said plantings at their cost.
Enter Councilwoman Anne Gerwig, who stated, “If there is no reason to remove them, then I don’t see why we should inconvenience them. If the trees are a real problem to our drainage structures or blocking access, then they may have to be removed.”
Wow, staff already made that determination. There was a reason, hence the letters to the 41 homeowners, that is what the entire brouhaha was/is about. The village council was already advised of the circumstances prior to the meeting, as is the case with agenda items.
How exactly does this become a gray area, with Gerwig using terms like “inconvenience” and “may have to be removed,” when it is absolutely necessary according to staff, for vehicle access, and is a violation for the plantings by homeowners in the first place?
Furthermore, Gerwig asserts (and again I quote her), “I have no idea why Mr. Unger assumes that I told them that they could keep their trees.”
I never said that. Those are Gerwig’s words, not mine, but once again, I would point out that there was no other option here, no gray area, and certainly no reason to offer hope by using terms such as “inconvenience” and “may have to be removed,” leaving room for exactly what?
Sorry, this was/is a no brainer. The canals have to be cleared, homeowners cannot and should not plant on property that is not theirs, and an elected official should just tell the hard truth instead of playing with words.
On Gerwig’s defending appointing someone to a committee who is absent 11 out of 22 meetings, the council addressed that by disallowing said persons who miss too many meetings from staying on as a council person’s representative.
George Unger, Wellington