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Council Offers Plan to Save More Trees

April 14, 1999|TONY LYSTRA

In an attempt to encourage developers to relocate trees rather than plow them down, the City Council is proposing that the tree ordinance be amended.

The current ordinance requires developers to obtain a permit to remove a mature tree, and mandates that they replace it with a younger tree elsewhere on the site. But the ordinance doesn't address the issue of relocating trees.

Under a proposed ordinance amendment that the council sent to the Planning Commission, the city would credit a developer for moving an old tree to another location on the property or handing it over to the city to replant.

City officials have become concerned that developers are simply going through the process of pulling permits and replacing trees with younger ones, even though that process is--in some cases--more expensive than relocating a tree.

"They whack them down and pay the price," Mayor Bill Davis said. "There has to be an answer to just destroying the trees."

Councilwoman Barbara Williamson, who considers herself a crusader for the city's trees, said another idea is to make sure the trees are replanted on the developer's land. That way, the developer will be responsible for whether each relocated tree lives or dies.

"If we make them go to the expense of digging it up, they're going to make sure that tree grows," Williamson said.

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