Township officials have in fact decided not to cut down a maple tree on South Fullerton Avenue whose roots had broken through the sidewalk. ERIN ROLL/STAFF

By LINDA MOSS
moss@montclairlocal.news

It looks like residents have won their battle to save an old maple tree, which has been on South Fullerton Avenue for roughly 40 years, from being cut down by the township.

Township Arborist Steve Schuckman met with Andrzej Kuhl, one of the people fighting to save the tree, on Wednesday. The tree, whose roots have broken through and made the sidewalk in front of Kuhl’s home unlevel and potentially hazardous, had been slated to be cut down by the township.

But in an email Kuhl said that his meeting with Schuckman was productive, and amounted to a reprieve for the tree.

“The tree stays,” Kuhl said. “They [the township] are to prune some smaller roots, the sidewalk will be moved about a foot closer to the [Kuhl’s] hedge and may need to be somewhat elevated. But the tree lives and my hedge, too.”

Zorina Weber, who lives on South Fullerton Avenue across from Kuhl, and another neighbor had collected roughly 60 signatures on petitions calling for the tree to be kept intact. Weber had witnessed the maple being planted some 40 years ago.

Earlier this month the township sent contractors to cut down the tree, but Kuhl and Weber protested and stopped them. Then the township said the tree could only be spared if Kuhl was willing to remove his hedges so the sidewalk could be rerouted around the tree.