Section 158-34(c): Metal Tree Fencing

“Saved” trees are being destroyed due to lack of proper tree fencing.

Section 158-34(c) provides for more substantial wood or steel tree fencing on heavy construction sites or upon multiple violations. Metal fencing has proven to be very effective, but the arborist office rarely requires it for tree fence violations. And even when it is required, contractors often remove or shift the fences, resulting in destroyed trees.

Sec. 158-34(c)Tree protection. Fences surrounding root save areas must be erected before the commencement of any land disturbance, demolition or construction. Fences must comply with City of Atlanta arboricultural standards. More substantial wood or steel fencing may be required by the arborist on commercial or other heavy construction sites or upon multiple violations. No activity, including construction material storage, shall occur in areas protected by tree fences. Tree protection fences must remain in place and upright until such time as final landscaping of a site requires their removal. The arborist may assess recompense against the violator if, in the arborist's opinion, the incursion has converted trees from the status of saved trees to the status of injured, lost, or destroyed trees, as set forth in this section above.

Enhanced Tree Fencing Status Update

February 2, 2019:  Elizabeth Johnson, Project Manager with the Department of Planning, told the Reporter Newspapers that “Arborist Plan Reviewers and Field Arborists exercise the option to require enhanced tree protection fencing on sites where additional tree protection is needed, on a case-by-case basis.”

Our Response:

Requiring enhanced tree protection fencing on a "case-by-case basis" leads to arbitrary decision-making that may be influenced by the amount of nearby resident complaints and/or builder resistance to the additional fencing requirements. The Arborist Division needs to define the standards in which additional tree fencing is required (i.e., a narrow space between the construction activity and line of disturbance would require enhanced tree protection) so that trees aren't needlessly being destroyed when the mesh tree fencing fails. 

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