Avondale Estates seeking input on tree ordinance

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt May 26, 2015
Feb. 20, 2015: Avondale Estates officials participate in a tree planting ceremony in celebration of Arbor Day. Photo provided by the City of Avondale Estates

Feb. 20, 2015: Avondale Estates officials participate in a tree planting ceremony in celebration of Arbor Day. Photo provided by the City of Avondale Estates

Avondale Estates has published a draft copy of a proposed ordinance that would protect trees on residential property from being arbitrarily removed by a developer.

According to the draft published on the city’s website, the City Manager or his designee would be the person responsible for enforcing the new ordinance. It also sets varying measurements for protected trees. The city of Decatur’s updated tree ordinance, adopted last year, uses a flat measurement of any tree measuringĀ 6 inches or greater in diameter at breast height (DBH). Here’s how Avondale’s proposed ordinance defines specimen trees …

(a) Specimen trees and the critical root zones shall be shown on the Tree Survey and Tree Preservation Plan. The critical root zone shall be shown with a dashed line.

(b) The sizes and types of trees to be designated as Specimen Trees are as follows:

1. 26 inch DBH-Hardwood/Softwood Trees of the following genus: Oak, Beech, Ash, Blackgum, Sycamore, Hickory, Maple (does not include Silver Maple), Pecan, Walnut, Persimmon, Sourwood, Cedar, Cyprus, or Redwood.

2. 30 inch DBH-Hardwood Trees of the following genus: Tulip Poplar, Sweet Gum, Magnolia, River Birch, or Silver Maple.

3. 4(Note: maybe 10) inch DBH-Understory Trees such as: American Holly, Dogwood, Redbud, Cherry or other genus of Understory Trees indigenous to the City.

4. Other Trees not mentioned above will be reviewed by the enforcement officer.

(c) Other criteria to be considered in designating a tree as a specimen tree even if it of lesser-size include:

1. A tree life expectancy of greater than 15 years.

2. It is a rare or unusual species of historical significance.

It also proposes the following conditions for granting a tree removal permit …

(1) The tree is located in an area where a structure or improvement will be placed in accordance to an approved plan, and the tree cannot be relocated on the site because of age, type or size of tree.

(2) The tree is diseased.

(3) The tree is injured.

(4) The tree is in danger of falling on or close to existing or proposed structures.

(5) The tree interferes with existing utility service.

(6) The tree creates unsafe vision clearance for vehicular movement.

(7) The tree conflicts with other ordinances or regulations.

(8) The homeowner or owners agent requests the removal of one or more trees on an individual lot.

The city is looking for feedback on the proposed ordinance.

“As recommended by the Tree Ordinance Ad Hoc Committee, the Draft Tree Ordinance applies citywide and not just for commercial property,” the announcement from the city says. “City Planner and Community Development Officer Keri Stevens will accept draft comments until June 5 at kstevens@avondaleestates.org. Those without access to email may call her with comments at 404-294-5400. The comments will be compiled into one document and distributed for discussion at an upcoming Board of Mayor and Commissioners Work Session.”

The city tried to rewrite the tree ordinance several years ago but was not successful. The city established the Ad Hoc committee last year. AsĀ development in Avondale has accelerated, clear-cutting of residential lots to make way for bigger houses is a growing concern.

Take a look at the draft of the ordinance released by the city …


About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

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