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What is The Tree Next Door?

 

copy of oak tree at 414 east wesley

The Tree Next Door (TTND) is an organization of individuals and neighborhood groups that seek to protect Atlanta’s lush tree canopy. We are concerned about the number of trees that are being removed without the proper permitting and the lack of enforcement of our city’s Tree Protection Ordinance. We have one of the strongest ordinances in the country, yet it isn’t worth anything if it goes unenforced.  To this end, TTND's mission is one of advocacy and education:

Advocacy

We strive to ensure that Atlanta’s Tree Protection Ordinance and arboricultural standards be enforced as written. We provide assistance, identify resources, and act as a liaison between citizens, developers, and the City. At the same time, we identify weaknessses in the ordinance and its enforcement procedures and advocate and organize to eliminate them.

Education

We work with other organizations and individuals to educate Atlanta’s community about their rights and responsibilities under the law and about the importance and value of maintaining a healthy urban forest.

Why Are You Called "The Tree Next Door"?

We call ourselves “The Tree Next Door”  because most people get concerned about trees when it’s the tree next door to them that’s being impacted, not a tree on the other side of town. Our group formed in the spring of 2009, when Atlanta residents began to realize that the Atlanta City Arborist Division wasn't fully enforcing the Tree Protection Ordinance, which is supposed to result in no net loss of trees for the City.

Although there are tree planting groups in Atlanta, the most recognized being Trees Atlanta, tree planting alone cannot compensate for the loss of the mature hardwoods and pines that define Atlanta as a "City in the Forest".  Replacing cut trees will not restore an urban forest in the lifetime of most adults.  Therefore, in addition to tree planting groups, we felt that it was time to have a group that was focused on conserving the trees we already have to the greatest extent possible.

Don't Tree Regulations Hurt Development?

Tree cutting regulations should strive to balance the interest of developers with the interest of the community at large.  The Tree Next Door recognizes that development is necessary for the economic health of Atlanta, and we are even more sensitive to this need given the current economic downturn.  We are not anti-development, rather we are pro-responsible development that is forward thinking in terms of its overall environmental impact.  We do not think it serves Atlanta's long-term interest to have rampant sprawl, traffic congestion, smog and a treeless landscape.  Instead, we support development projects that make Atlanta a better place to work, play, live -- and breathe!

In some cases, it is necessary to remove healthy trees to make the modifications needed to enable an area to be even more environmentally friendly in the future.  An example of such projects include the streetscaping that occurred several years ago at the intersection of North Highland and Virgina Avenue in Virginia-Highland.  Presently, a similar -- albeit much larger -- streetscaping project is occurring along Peachtree Road, including the sections in front of Lenox and Phillips Mall.  Although both of these projects necessiated the removal of large mature trees, these trees are being replaced with many more trees (of a species that will thrive better in an urban environment) than could have ever existed before.

In other words, development is not all bad. But when it is, we will be there to speak for the trees!

 
   
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