What Did The People Say?

tpo - empty wordsSticky note feedback from the June 6, 2019 presentation boards show that people are very concerned about being able to plan for trees with clear, measurable goals, both in conserving and replanting trees. They want the City to hold developers more accountable for tree removal, strengthen enforcement, and create more effective deterrents to illegal tree removal. People want protection for all trees, not just those in stream buffers/intact forests. Also, they do not necessarily see some projects qualifying more than other projects for a pre-application due diligence review.

one free tree a yearReaction to being able to remove one tree per year was extremely negative; the City clearly has overestimated citizen need to independently determine which trees they want removed. People want the City Arborist to determine if a tree should be removed, not the property owner, although there is some concern about the way the City Arborist Department is being managed.
 

no postings and appealsReaction to eliminating the appeal/posting process was equally negative. Instead of eliminating the appeal/posting process, people want the process to be made easier, with more lead time, and better notification and instructions on how to appeal, especially for those who are elderly or poor and/or cannot deal with the current complexities and expense of filing an appeal. Also, people want more education about the tree ordinance, protecting trees and habitat, and safety/tree maintenance issues, both for citizens and tree professionals. 

While people want special protection for trees of ecological significance, the “high value” model raises questions as to its scientific objectivity as well as its ability to preserve overall canopy. People are concerned about impervious surfaces, excessive grading, and stormwater runoff -- these factors need to be included in any model assessing which trees are to be saved.

There is a huge lack of public trust in the process the City is recommending to streamline the review process and reward developers who the City arbitrarily determines is “doing everything right”. The proposed new tree ordinance lacks transparency and citizen oversight, and therefore, is viewed as ripe for corruption and abuse. It appears that the City may be placing more emphasis on affordability, mobility, and growth goals than the goal of growing the tree canopy to 50% -- or at least maintaining no net loss of trees.

Please click here to see more detail about what the people said.

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