Top 20 Reasons Why
City's Latest Tree Ordinance Draft (Jan '21)
Does Not Protect Atlanta's Tree Canopy!

The Department of City Planning's latest draft of the Tree Protection Ordinance (January 2021) is not a Tree Protection Ordinance, but a Tree Removal Ordinance. It is a backward, regressive ordinance that is worse than our existing ordinance, allowing developers greater flexibility to remove trees and not be subject to appeals.  It incorporates most all the concepts that the community flatly rejected in the 2019 feedback meetings, showing that the City is not listening to the community.

This latest draft:

  1. Is a 64-page convoluted ordinance loaded with numerous exceptions and caveats.  It is too complex for the average person to understand.

  2. Has no quantifiable goal for saving the tree canopy nor any plans for creating an Urban Forest Master Plan.

  3. Enables the City to exempt from compliance almost any project serving a public purpose.

  4. Removes protection for all trees in the setbacks and 10% of trees in stream buffers.

  5. Allows all pine trees under 12 inches in diameter to be cut without a permit.

  6. Requires preserving only a percentage of trees designated as "priority trees" on single-family residential lots and, thus, allows clear-cutting of all other sites.

  7. Encourages developers to cut the largest "priority trees" first to have more land on which they can build.

  8. Removes nearly all rights to appeal Single Family Residential tree cutting.

  9. Significantly reduces physical tree removal sign postings in both number and time duration.  Most single-family residential properties will never have a physical sign posting.

  10. Does not provide enough protection for boundary trees on adjacent properties.

  11. Does not protect the next generation of midsize trees for them to mature into priority trees.

  12. Fails to ensure enough tree replanting and/or recompense to maintain existing tree canopy.

  13. Fails to replace dead or missing trees in parking lots

  14. Reduces the frequency of tree reports from quarterly to annually.

  15. Places the Department of City Planning in control of managing the Tree Trust Fund with no financial reporting requirements, even though they have previously misspent millions of dollars from the fund.

  16. Allows significantly more Tree Trust Fund money to be spent on non-tree replanting activities. (See our suggested rewrite for the Tree Trust Fund Section.)

  17. Has no more enforcement or penalties for violations than what is in the current ordinance.

  18. Has no additional provisions for curtailing illegal tree cutting, especially among repeat offenders, thereby ignoring this growing problem.

  19. Limits pre-construction conferences which help to save trees on construction sites.

  20. Has no defined role for the Tree Conservation Commission to manage the Educational Outreach Fund.

And there are even more problems with this ordinance than the 20 issues stated here.  Contact us at info@treenextdoor for more detail.

So what can YOU do to help stop this ordinance from destroying Atlanta’s tree canopy?

Contact your City Councilmembers by email and phone to tell them that the City has not listened to community feedback, but instead keeps pushing for a tree ordinance that hastens the demise of our overall tree canopy.

We must work together to have a tree ordinance that
PROTECTS Atlanta's Tree Canopy!

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