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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- ENFORCEMENT/PENALTIES TO DETER VIOLATIONS on construction sites.
Download the 4-Step Plan PDF:
The New Atlanta Tree Ordinance: A 4-Step Plan