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Passed – Commission approves tree ordinance

Decatur

Passed – Commission approves tree ordinance

A fallen tree near Adair Dog Park in Decatur, Ga. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
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A fallen tree near Adair Dog Park in Decatur, Ga. The tree fell on the night of March 12. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

A fallen tree near Adair Dog Park in Decatur, Ga. The tree fell on the night of March 12. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Decatur City Commissioners approved a new ordinance that would place additional regulations on tree removal while promoting growth of the city’s canopy.

The vote was unanimous.

City Planning Director Amanda Thompson said the ordinance makes it cheaper for property owners to plant trees than to take them down.

“The city is not obsessed with regulations,” Thompson said.

Commissioners had previously considered passing a law that would set a citywide canopy goal of 50 percent. The ordinance commissioners adopted will promote a “no net loss” policy based on the city’s last measured tree canopy level, 45 percent.

Under the ordinance, property owners will be able to remove up to three healthy trees within 18 months without penalty. The owners will be required to fill out a free informational permit that will help the city track changes to its canopy. It defines a protected tree as one being 6 inches or greater in diameter at breast height.

In addition the city says, “If (the) protected tree removal is part of a project that requires a land development permit or is the fourth or greater protected tree removal within 18 months, then the owner must document the existing tree canopy cover and maintain the same amount of tree canopy once the project is complete.”

For more information about new ordinance, click here. The commission made a few changes to the ordinance prior to its approval and will publish the revised ordinance soon.

 

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