Mansion House Meeting Buys Time for Tree

In the wake of the Mansion House’s co-op board’s controversial 5-2 vote to tear down an 80-year-old American Elm tree in the building’s front yard at 145 Hicks Street, a private meeting with shareholders was held last night. While the meeting in the basement of the building (where it had been moved to ensure that only residents could attend—after all, the New York Times was stationed outside) started with tensions running high (board members were none to happy about all the media attention the issue has received), civility won the day ultimately, according to a first-hand report. While not capitulating to some members’ calls to rescind the original vote, the board did agree to consider the majority’s wishes that all possible options to address the subterranean leaks being caused by the tree’s root system be fully explored before anything as drastic as a tear-down be resorted to. The board also trotted out the building’s lawyers to address the legal issues and potential impact of not removing the tree upon the building’s insurance rates. No word on when the board will report back to shareholders. Did we miss anything?
Historic Heights Co-op Planning Arboricide? [Brownstoner] GMAP

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  • I live in a coop in Brooklyn Heights and our long-time insurer is now asking us to do all kinds of repairs around the building or they say they will drop us. Nothing major, just annoying. If this tree were in our yard leaning over the pubolic sidewalk like this, I am pretty sure they would demand we take it down. And we would have no choice.

  • it is a sad world we live in when people live in fear of a beautiful healthy tree falling on them. if we saw the world through the eyes of the insurers then either there would be no trees left, or people would be forbidden from entered any area inhabited by trees to spare the owners of such a place any liability. yikes.

  • hanging over the sidewalk? Are trees to be cut so that no branches extend over a sidewalk. Ridiculous. They already did a study and there are no issues health wise with the tree that would pose a risk of the falling over. The assessment said it is healthy, about 80 years old, at full canopy height, and could live for another 200 odd years if maintained.

  • Insurance companies are completely immoral and unethical and they are the last people I would listen to, about anything. If an insurance company dropped me for having a nice healthy tree to shade my building, I’d say good riddance then I’d find a better company to buy my insurance from. If they’d drop you over a tree, just think what they’ll do when the next big hurricane hits NYC and New England. These kinds of companies are the same losers who found every way possible to deny paying Katrina victims anything for their homes.

  • There are not that many companies, I think two, that are willing to cover coop buildings in the Heights( I’m not talking about individual coverage). Before 9-11, there were closer to eight. If your coop insurance says they will drop your builing, you are in deep shit. It is not like the commercials where a herd of men in suits are waiting to get your business.
    I don’t know why this situation has become so dire but it has. Our premiumn have gone up about 120% since 9-11. There’s nothing we can do, most of the companies have dropped out of this market.
    I love the elm, but it does lean, it’s not straight and it has had cabling installed in the limbs (look up) to stabilize them. I agree that there is no imminent danger, but try convincing the insurance comapny that. I agree with the poster who wrote that these companies are immoral. And yet we are stuck with them.

  • What is truly amazing about this whole story is the idiots who think the coop just decided “Hey lets cut the tree down for no reason” ya, just cut it down.

    You don’t live there. Your probably a renter. Don’t know much about how hard it is to get property insurance. Oh, right, your a renter, you probably don’t even care. Your not going to get sued, oh right, your probably the one who will sue the coop when something hits you … then maybe you can buy with your windfall …

  • i lived in the mansion house. to this very day i wish we didn’t move…this brings back so many great memories.

  • so i get it. trees that are straight never fall. only trees that lean fall. it makes sense to me now!

  • Bob Smith, it’s “you’re”, not “your” in the context of your rant above. If you are a member of the board, then your grammar skills may be indicative of the level of discourse the board may have engaged in…

  • The insurance issue only came up in the middle (heat) of the debate about the tree on Monday evening. The word from someone who knows the building’s financials/legals well is that the Mansion House has excellence insurance coverage and that the insurance provider has never mentioned trees (we also have large trees in the back yard). “Insurance” was just something added last minute in the argument to cut the tree down. BTW — the Board received a letter protesting the planned cutting of the tree from people living across the street, into whose home the tree would fall should that ever happen. If they’re not afraid, why should others be?