Shake trees – Activists gear up for meeting
Trees Decatur is putting the word out to its members to get ready for an upcoming city commission meeting.
The Monday, March 3 meeting will include a work session about a proposed ordinance to regulate tree planting and removal. The goal is to increase the city’s canopy, but the law didn’t make it out of the Jan. 21 commission meeting. Commissioners voted to table it until March 3, and then voted again to make March 3 a work session on the ordinance.
Commissioners tabled the ordinance after getting bombarded with public comments during the Jan. 21 meeting.
The work session begins at 6:30 pm and will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street, Decatur, GA.
“Please plan to attend and voice your opinion at this important meeting where the Mayor and Commissioners will review and provide direction on tree protection in the city,” Trees Decatur said in an email blast to its members.
The group published a list of recommendations that it thinks will improve the proposed regulations. Here’s the list of proposed changes from Trees Decatur:
– Trees located in a residential lot are exempt from this ordinance unless an application for a demolition permit, land disturbance permit or building permit is being made or will be made in the next 18 months. This exemption does not include boundary trees, which are already regulated under the proposed ordinance.
– As part of the UDO Process (6 to 12 months), the City will develop incentives program to protect specimen trees and a high percentage of canopy on private properties including, (a) stormwater utility fee credit; (b) a certificate of recognition from the City; (c) fast track permitting for developers who preserve specimen trees.
– Projects involving application of a demolition permit, land disturbance permit or building permit are regulated under the ordinance including mandatory protection of all boundary trees, preservation of a minimum of 35% of the existing tree canopy (including specimen trees) and replanting (as needed) to meet the established canopy goal. Affected land owners can seek a variance to these requirements through established procedures including public notification and hearing.
While Trees Decatur has worked on salvaging the tree ordinance, another group of residents is organizing an Arbor Day celebration to encourage voluntary tree planting. The goal is to get residents to voluntarily plant 366 trees this year.