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Allentown officials search for solution to deal with hazardous trees

ALLENTOWN – Trees on private property that are causing issues for neighboring lots remain an ongoing problem for Allentown officials.

During a recent meeting of the mayor and Borough Council, Mayor Greg Westfall said he spends a significant amount of time dealing with the issue.

“Monmouth County has removed some trees that were in the county right of way,” Westfall said, “but we have a situation with a large dead oak tree on private property where limbs are falling off. It puts us in a tough situation when people ask, ‘What can you do about this?’ ”

Westfall said ultimately, borough officials can go after the property owner, but he said that can be a time-consuming process that does not immediately eliminate a potential hazard.

“I want it known to the public that this is an ongoing issue,” the mayor said. “This is our first time going after a tree on private property. We are working with our state assemblyman, Ron Dancer, on potential litigation that would allow us to place money we receive from registering abandoned homes into a fund we could use to address issues such as hazardous trees. This is not an easy solution.”

Council President Thomas Fritts suggested that officials might want to pursue a Community Development Block Grant to address the issue of hazardous trees.

“Whatever works,” Westfall responded.

In other business during the Oct. 9 council meeting, the members of the governing body passed a resolution and will submit a grant application to the state Department of Transportation seeking funds needed to proceed with a project to improve Pondview Drive.

“This is our second go-around on this grant,” Westfall said. “We applied for a grant last year and did not receive it. Hopefully we will get it this time. There has been cracking and settling around sanitary sewer manhole covers, making it tough for drivers, plus settling of sidewalks which has created tripping hazards.”

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