Decatur releases proposed tree ordinance, will vote next week

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 16, 2014
A photo of the tree-covered Decatur Square. Source:

A photo of the tree-covered Decatur Square. Source:

The city of Decatur published its proposed tree conservation ordinance and commissioners will consider approving it when they meet on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

(The regular Jan. 20 meeting falls on Martin Luther King day.) In October the city enacted a 90-day tree removal moratorium, which will end on Jan. 24. The city is reworking the tree ordinance as part of a rewrite of its zoning codes, the Unified Development Ordinance.

In addition to the ordinance, the city also released a list of proposed administrative standards that will be used to enforce it. You can see those by clicking here. According to Decatur Next, a city website tracking the creation of a the Unified Development Ordinance, the major changes to the current tree ordinance include:

– Hiring a full time arborist.

– Switching to measuring tree canopy instead of tree density.

– Setting a city-wide canopy coverage goal.

– Creating one class of protected trees.

– Defining boundary trees and establish rules for their protection.

– Requiring a permit for all protected tree removals or disturbances

– Requiring that all permit applications include a consultation with a certified arborist.

– The existing canopy coverage of a property and proposed scope of work will determine replanting requirements.

To read more about the ordinance and submit your comments, visit the Decatur Next website by clicking here.

City spokeswoman Casie Yoder said people can give feedback about the proposed tree canopy ordinance on Open City Hall until noon on Tuesday, Jan. 21, by clicking this link:


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