Westport restaurant owners fight plans to remove Japanese cherry blossom trees on property

The plan by state officials is to seize a long swath of property bordering the Post Road in order to put in a sidewalk and widen the street.

Abby Del Vecchio and Frank Recchia

Mar 17, 2023, 4:16 PM

Updated 403 days ago

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A Westport property owner is fighting state plans to cut down 40-year-old Japanese cherry blossom trees.
Any day now, the weeping cherry trees outside Sakura Restaurant on the Post Road in Westport will begin to bloom, producing the famous blossoms associated with Japanese culture.
But now, orange marking tape lines the areas - signaling plans to cut the trees down.
State and local officials met with the owner of the property Friday, who says he is "dead set against" plans by state officials to seize a long swath of his property bordering the Post Road in order to put in a sidewalk and widen the street.
The business owner says the trees have become an enduring symbol of the culture in the area that people often stop to photograph.
Property owner John Klinga says the state's plans affect dozens of other businesses on the Post Road, not just his property.
News 12 reached out to state officials for comment but has not heard back. A Connecticut Department of Transportation spokesperson did respond to News 12's request for comment. Josh Morgan said in a statement, "Trees along the corridor were flagged for potential removal as part of an upcoming safety improvement project on Route 1. This project would add exclusive turn lanes and realign the intersections to reduce crashes. Connecticut Department of Transportation staff continues meeting with property owners and arborists to review the flagged trees. We intend to save as many trees as possible. However, a tree has to be removed if it poses a safety hazard."
Jay Lederman contributed to an earlier version of this story.


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