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Avondale Estates City Commission discusses greenspace advisory committee draft ordinance

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Avondale Estates City Commission discusses greenspace advisory committee draft ordinance

Lake Avondale. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Avondale Estates, GA — During a work session on May 10, the Avondale Estates City Commission continued discussing the future of the greenspace advisory committee and discussed a draft ordinance to establish the committee. 

The city currently has a tree board and a lake board. It also previously had an ad hoc greenspace committee. The city commission has discussed dissolving the tree and lake boards and combining them into a greenspace advisory committee.

The draft ordinance lays outs a framework for a five-member board that the city commission would appoint. The members would serve two-year terms, and their terms would be staggered so no more than two terms would end simultaneously. 

The commissioners briefly discussed increasing the number of members to seven. 

According to the draft ordinance, here are the potential duties and responsibilities of the committee:

– Study, investigate, counsel, and advise the city manager in writing on any matter which affects the aesthetics, visibility or user-friendliness of the city’s public greenspaces.

– Recommend preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal or disposition of trees in city parks, rights of way, and other public areas, including memorial plantings.

– In conformity with section 17-49, monitor street trees and private trees overhanging rights of way for the required eight (8) foot clear space between the ground and any tree limb in right of way areas, and recommend to the city manager elimination of any tree which unduly restricts fishing access or visibility so that residents may enjoy the full vista of Lake Avondale.

– Investigate, make findings, report, and recommend regarding any special matter or question coming within the scope of its work when requested by the governing body.

– Recommend the removal of any tree or part thereof which is in an unsafe condition or which because of its nature is injurious to sewers, electric power lines, water lines, or other public improvements, or is affected by any injurious fungus, insect or other pest.

– Advise the city manager regarding any matter affecting water quality or Lake Avondale’s fish or waterfowl populations.

The commissioners agreed this committee should meet regularly. Bryant suggested the committee meet at least once a quarter, and it could have special called meetings as needed. Mayor Pro Tem Brian Fisher added that the committee should report to the city commission at least twice a year on their work. 

Commissioner Dee Merriam suggested adding a definition of greenspace to the ordinance that would include trails, paths, parks, and plazas. 

The committee could also look at memorials, such as trees, plaques, or benches, and make potential recommendations on a memorial program, Commissioner Lisa Shortell suggested.

City Manager Patrick Bryant has not given a timeframe for the city commission to go through the reading process and vote on the ordinance. The greenspace advisory committee has been an ongoing discussion as the city commission works to establish its mission, vision, duties, and responsibilities.

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