A Request for Support from The Tree Next Door
A new and much improved version of Atlanta’s Tree Protection Ordinance (TPO) is now before the City Council. Public comment is scheduled for December 9 in a Community Development and Human Resources (CDHR) committee hearing. It will be years before the city will again address the ordinance, so it is very important to get this version right.
The greatest weakness of the proposed ordinance is a carry-over dating to 1965, when the ordinance was first implemented. With two exceptions the proposed ordinance retains authority over “public” trees in the Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks), with the Arborist Division of the Office of Buildings (Buildings) having purview over all trees on “private” land, plus Atlanta Public School System (APS) and Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) property.
This arrangement more or less works — except on construction sites, whether on public land or on private development that impacts city-owned trees. Parks has neither the experienced plan checkers to evaluate the impact of the proposed construction on trees, nor the field staff to adequately implement, monitor and enforce the ordinance. The need for dual plan evaluations, dual stamps, dual postings, dual inspections and dual sign-offs creates inefficiencies, wastes city resources and often entails both frustration and costly delays to building contractors.
No one gains and everyone loses if this glaring problem with the current ordinance is allowed to carry over. A simple solution is possible: All publicly-owned trees subject to impact by planned construction become the responsibility of Buildings, from plan approval through the construction phase, final sign-off, and post-construction warranty period.
We ask that you and your organization support the attached amendment to Atlanta’s proposed Tree Protection Ordinance. Please write your City Council members requesting their support of the revised TPO, as here amended, when it comes before them. And come testify at the CDHR hearing on December 9. We can make this needed change happen!
We support the Tree Protection Ordinance.
We want to see it enforced — consistently, fairly, rigorously.