Public Hearing on Norway Maple Tree at Town Hall Scheduled for June 2

Prompted by a request from a town resident, New Canaan’s tree warden has scheduled a public hearing regarding the widely discussed Norway maple out front of the recently renovated and expanded Town Hall. Tree Warden Bruce Pauley said the hearing will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2 in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. “In accordance with Sec. 23-59 of the CT State Statutes, anyone may voice their concerns, objections, and/or other grievances regarding this, and only this, tree,” Pauley said in a public notice. “All those persons wishing to be heard on this issue are invited to attend and let their thoughts be heard.”

The Norway maple, a non-native species that Pauley has described as “breaking up” and which used to have a companion tree on the north side of the main walkway on the front lawn of Town Hall, made headlines last month when town resident Andrea Sandor objected to the tree warden’s tagging it for removal.

With Wide Community Support, Tree Warden Re-Posts Norway Maple at Town Hall for Removal

Saying he’s “overwhelmed” by the community support for his original decision to remove a brittle Norway maple from the front of Town Hall and replace it with sugar maples on either side of the main walkway up to the renovated building, New Canaan Tree Warden Bruce Pauley on Tuesday afternoon re-posted the tree for removal. When news spread that a resident’s complaint had prompted Pauley to “un-post” the non-native tree—in other words, leave it be, instead of planting what he called the “quintessential New England tree” instead—locals in comment threads on New Canaanite and on Facebook voiced support for the tree warden. At first, Pauley said, he was surprised by the response, “but the more I thought about it, the less surprised I am, because I know how strongly people feel about trees in New Canaan.”

“And I am happy for that,” said the tree warden, a fourth-generation New Canaanite and 1964 NCHS graduate. “But I was overwhelmed with the amount of support that I saw. Secondly, it was very gratifying to see people who I have worked for over the years and to hear their comments.

Tree Warden on Norway Maple at Town Hall: ‘When Is the Right Thing the Right Thing?’

First, I would like to express my gratitude to the readers who spoke out in support of removing the Norway maple in favor of two matched sugar maples. This would be the right thing to do for the town of New Canaan—you would think. The Norway maple was introduced years ago in hope it would be a suitable replacement for the American elm that was becoming practically extinct because of Dutch elm disease. Why a maple? They were groping and certainly were unaware of the inherent problems associated with the N. maple.

Tree Warden’s Plan for ‘Quintessential New England’ Sugar Maples at Town Hall Thwarted

Despite his reservations about the appropriateness of a Norway maple that’s breaking apart in front of Town Hall, the tree warden reluctantly is allowing the large tree to remain after a resident complained about its being tagged for removal. Tree Warden Bruce Pauley had intended to plant a pair of matching, six-inch caliber sugar maples on either side of the walkway up in front of Town Hall—the “quintessential New England tree,” he said. “I would have spaced them out so they have plenty of room to grow, without interfering with anything,” Pauley, a fourth-generation New Canaanite, told “They have a fantastic color in the fall, they are strong and vibrant and I would want them out there.”

Yet town resident Andrea Sandor, on seeing that the Norway maple had been tagged for removal, objected strenuously to Pauley and other officials. In emails, Sandor called the Norway maple “an important” and “legacy tree” that “provides an anchor for the rural nature of the town.”

The tree is highly visible, Sandor said in her emails, offers shade and “is in a great location to be nurtured.” Sandor said the Norway maple has been poorly pruned and objected to the tree’s being tagged for removal while construction fencing had obstructed her view of the tag and, consequently, her ability to call for a hearing on it.