Arlington Heights officials agreed Monday night to declare a moratorium on cutting down ash trees in the Cedar Glen neighborhood to give residents a chance to discuss plans for saving trees infested by emerald ash borers.
About 30 people raised their hands to indicate the plight of the trees brought them to the village board meeting, and five people from the southeast side neighborhood spoke.
"We were really shocked and saddened to see tree after tree after tree with green dots on them," Patti Mora, one of the organizers in Cedar Glen, told the board.
"I don't think you can put a number on the vision of the devastation in our neighborhood, let alone the whole village of Arlington Heights," she said.
The residents asked for a moratorium on cutting down the 177 marked parkway trees; for an independent evaluation of the trees; and for the village to work with residents to try to find a way to save the trees.
William Greaney, another Cedar Glen organizer, said he thinks residents will pay to treat the trees.
After the meeting Mora said it was great that officials listened.
Scott Shirley, director of public works, said after the meeting that the plan was to cut the trees down in January or February. Since the insects do not travel much in the winter, nothing is lost by the moratorium, he said. Treatment is considered effective only in the spring.
Shirley plans to have a report on options for fighting the infestation at a December meeting of the board as well as options for meeting the costs.
However, he said there is no money budgeted for treating the ash trees.
It was August -- too late to treat the trees this year -- before the village had confirmed that the trees in Cedar Glen were infested, said Shirley. That neighborhood east of Arlington Heights Road and north of Algonquin Road has "dramatically more infestation than anywhere else in town," he said. Village staff decided to remove all the Cedar Glen parkway trees that showed signs of decline.
The public works director said that the 13,000 ash trees on Arlington Heights parkways are a much larger number than found in municipalities that have decided to treat their trees. One-third of the parkway trees in the village are ash.
"We can assure you that the staff and board are just as concerned about the dire situation that seems to have arrived in Arlington Heights," said Village Manager Bill Dixon.
He also said it would be good for neighborhoods to have captains who contact Dru Sabetello, village forester, about the issue.