City: At the current time, developers can get permits to cut any tree, regardless of its size, if they pay a certain amount of money and agree to replant more trees in a different location according to a certain formula. Would you make any change to this city ordinance?
County: Do you feel that the County’s tree protection ordinance is sufficient? If so, why? If not, what specifically would you recommend to try to make it stronger?
If there are any changes to the City’s tree ordinance that need to be made, I would support and encourage such changes. Last year, the City insisted that the developer at the former Envision Credit Union project site on North Monroe Street work to save trees. With that project, trees were saved on South Adams. Also, many trees were saved on the southside of the Cascades Park development. Preserving the tree canopy is important and the City has more trees now than it did 50 years ago. Protecting canopy roads is also important. The City hired a full-time tree arborist. Tallahassee values trees and the shade they provide. Tree preservation must be balanced with growth.
The City talks out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to tree protection. We have an urban forest plan, an urban forester, use tree logos frequently, and boast of being a tree city. The problem is that we remove 200-year-old oaks to make room for developments like the city did at the Cascades Project. That’s not right. I make no claim of being an environmentalist but agree that if trees are a part of our city and neighborhood character, they should be saved. I feel the same about small and poor neighborhoods, like Boynton Still, that was wiped out for a stormwater pond for the construction of FAMU Way. I admit I don’t know the specifics of the tree ordinance but when people speak out, commissioners need to listen and respond.
Group 1 – At Large
The County has policies that protect trees. If trees are old, or diseased, or if there is development there is a process for handling those situations. I cannot address that issue adequately with the information I have now.
I am not an expert on this subject. I can tell you that when I ride my horse under trees it is a most wonderful feeling. I am totally against harming canopy roads. Tree protection is also a question for Welaunee.
Yes, look at pictures at the County’s foliage from 60 years ago and compare it to today; there is more today. The calculation is that trees must be replaced by three to four times what has been removed. The county exceeds the current statutes and also has a tree arborist on staff now.
I am not super familiar with the County’s tree ordinance but generally I favor protecting the canopy and better communications with the impacted parties and the elected officials. If you are going to cut down trees, it should be necessary. It’s crazy that a development called ‘Canopy’ can be built and then cut down every tree. The environmental impacts of clear cutting are flooding and runoff. I would support a policy of cutting down trees only when necessary and make sure that the neighborhoods are part of the dialogue.