Decatur City Commission delays approving new restrictions on tree removal

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 21, 2014

Decatur City Commissioners on Jan. 21 decided to postpone a vote on a controversial ordinance that would place greater restrictions on tree removal in the city.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to direct city staff to revise portions of the proposed regulations that affect individual property owners. Mayor Jim Baskett was the only no vote.

The City Commission will likely reconsider the ordinance in March.

Commissioners voted unanimously to hire a full time city arborist.

Commissioners voted on the motion a little after 11 pm following an exhausting meeting that began with a 6 pm work session. Prior to the vote, commissioners considered approving the ordinance with tweaks that would reduce the costs to people who want to remove trees from their yards. Commissioners agreed that the tweaks should be added to the ordinance when they reconsider it in March.

The suggested tweaks will reduce the city’s overall canopy goal from the 55 percent suggested in the original ordinance to 50 percent, and reduce the costs for tree removal from $1.50 per square foot to 75 cents per square foot. The tweaks also increase the amount of impervious service that property owners need to add to trigger a tree replanting from 10 percent to 15 percent.

This is a developing story, but no trees were harmed while writing it. Stay tuned …

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