Council takes steps to protect trees
Please see article below in today’s Suburbanite entitled: “Council takes steps to protect trees: Amends regulations that govern removing and planting.”
I am pleased that this ordinance has come to fruition as it will protect every Englewood resident.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
BY STEPHANIE NODA
Northern Valley Suburbanite
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ENGLEWOOD – With a desire to preserve trees and discourage resident clear-cutting their property, city leaders amended the law that regulations trees in the municipality.
“We want to create a culture that says we value our tree,” said Council President Lynne Algrant. “This ordinance is really helping us to do that.”
The amended ordinance, approved unanimously at the Feb. 25 council meeting, requires a tree replacement plan seven days after emergency removals, increases the diameter of replacement trees from two-and-half inches to three-and-half inches, raises tree replacement fees, limits the number of trees residents can remove without a permit, and adds an appeal process.
Mayor Frank Huttle III said he experienced the ill effects of unregulated tree cutting a few years ago when a neighbor removed about 38 trees from their land, causing flooding issues on Huttle’s property.
“This [ordinance] is something I’m very pleased has come to fruition,” said Huttle. “It will protect every residence in Englewood.”
Residents are now allowed take down two trees within a three-year time frame without a permit, when previously they could remove three trees per year.
While tree removal fees remained at $50, the amount of money residents must contribute to a tree fund in lieu of replacing trees increased from $200 to $250.
An appeal process if an applicant does not agree with the rejection or an application or conditions opposed by the city engineer was also added to the ordinance. The applicants would present the appeal to the City Manager Tim Dacey, “who at his discretion may request assistance from a representative of the Englewood Environmental Commission.”
Before the vote, Jack Silberman, a member of the Environmental Commission, said the city may gain more flexibility in placing a designated person for an appeal, such as someone from Department of Public Works, with tree experience instead of the city manager.
City Engineer Ken Albert responded that all city ordinances cite the city manager, as he is the administrative officer.
“This type of language gives the city manager flexibility to choose people and change that selection over a period of many years to a different person should the need arise without having to come constantly back with a new ordinance,” said Albert.
Kevin Lake, another member of the Environmental Commission, said while he had no objection to amending the ordinance, believed there was some language that could have “unintended consequences.”
Lake believed seven days was a “very short” period of time to file a permit and a replacement plan, instead suggested a 30-day timeframe.
“If there is an emergency, trees fall down and people deal with that and with their insurance companies,” said Lake.
Albert said that to his knowledge, no one had ever had trouble getting a replacement plan in within seven days.
While the ordinance says that emergency removals are exempt from the ordinance, it also states the residents must apply for a permit, said Lake. He suggested removing the emergency removals from exemptions to eliminate confusion, which was accepted by Albert and struck from the ordinance before the vote.
Mayor Frank Huttle III