Important Updates

The City Planning Dept’s proposed draft, released in March of 2020, is unacceptable. It is weaker than our current ordinance, removes existing, critical protections and will save even fewer trees.
The City Planning Dept’s proposed ATL Tree Ordinance draft is available here:
https://www.atlantaga.gov/home/showdocument?id=45336

MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH THE NEW DRAFT:

  • It is pay-to-cut and will not deter clear-cutting.
  • NO REQUIREMENT to save existing trees, only costs to cut them down, which will further bolster inequity.
  • Higher recompense, but so many loopholes no one will pay.
  • REMOVAL of protection of trees in the setbacks!
  • “Credit” given for protecting trees in stream buffers and wetlands, where they are ALREADY protected in our current ordinance!
  • Tree values based on money, not on ecology.
  • “Specimen” trees defined so that almost no trees qualify for protection.
  • Financial hardship clause added for developers.
  • Unnecessarily complicated.
  • REGRESSIVE: The draft removes existing protections & protects fewer trees than the current ordinance

 

 


 

The 4-STEP PLAN for a tree protection ordinance that will protect our urban forest as we grow

Because 95% of Atlanta’s trees are on private property, and nearly 80% are located in single-family-residential zones, the only way to save Atlanta’s canopy is to build with trees. The new Atlanta Tree Protection Ordinance must:

  1. PLAN FOR TREES FIRST
    Plan for trees at the beginning of the permitting process. This is the only realistic way to save trees and greenspace on development sites.
  1. SAVE THE BEST TREES
    A Tree Value Matrix has been developed to prioritize which trees are the highest value based on size, health, species and location, a method that is easily incorporated into the existing survey process. A requirement to preserve “high” and “excellent” value trees, according to the matrix, would ensure our best trees are preserved given we will not be able to protect all trees.
  2. REDUCE GRADING & IMPERVIOUS SURFACE
    A maximum sustainable footprint can be determined for different zoning categories. The result will not only reduce tree loss and impervious surface, it will decrease crisis-level stormwater problems/costs and reduce the impact of gentrification, among other benefits.
  3. ENFORCEMENT/PENALTIES TO DETER VIOLATIONS on construction sites.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW

 


 

Download the 4-Step Plan PDF:
The New Atlanta Tree Ordinance: A 4-Step Plan

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