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PTC says 'no' to tree removal ban

Favoring private property rights over government intervention, the Peachtree City Council unanimously sacked a proposed six-month ban on the removal of trees.

The proposed ban was aimed at giving staff time to develop an ordinance that will give the city more teeth to help protect trees. Instead of the ban, city staff plans on making a detailed presentation of potential options at the council’s annual retreat in March.

Included in that presentation will be recommendations on how other municipalities handle tree protection, said Community Development Director David Rast.

Prior to the vote, Mayor Don Haddix said he favored the moratorium, in part because the six-month time frame would help keep the matter from falling by the wayside.

The moratorium would not have affected residents who needed to remove trees to make room for an addition to their home or a new pool, for example, because those cases are handled as land disturbance permits for new construction, Rast said.

The moratorium would have affected homeowners and businesses that wanted to remove a trees for most other reasons though. An exception would have allowed the removal of trees that endanger property or human life and also the removal of trees that are diseased or damaged.

Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch said she was concerned about the effect the moratorium would have on tree removal companies that operate in the city.

“I think the moratorium is going to have some unintended consequences,” Fleisch said.

The moratorium was initially suggested by several councilmembers at a workshop meeting, and city staff was directed to prepare a moratorium for consideration.

But council swung in the other direction Thursday night, deciding to wait for staff’s presentation instead of enacting the tree removal ban. Councilwoman Kim Learnard apologized to city staff for pushing them in that direction, which some residents have considered an extreme measure.

Councilman Doug Sturbaum asked representatives of tree removal companies in the audience to work with the city on the issue.

The more than 39,000 trees that have been felled in the city since 2004 “is a lot of lumber,” Sturbaum noted.

Councilman Eric Imker said he wanted council to swiftly address the staffing issue created by the city’s tree removal permit process, which doesn’t give the city any leeway to prevent a property owner from removing trees.

Rast previously has said that the tree removal permit process creates an awful lot of work for the city’s two code enforcement officials merely to document how many trees are removed on a given parcel.



MajorMike's picture

I am beginning to have serious concerns about "staff" and their various agendas. Would someone please explain to me why much needed revenue was turned away from the Kedron center WITHOUT PTC Council input. I'm still waiting for repercussions on that one. waiting ... waiting .............

Seems kind of dumb to count how many trees are cut down. What is the purpose of that. More trees were cut down for Lake McIntosh than will be cut in PTC for 20 years. Did they count those. The count is wrong anyway. An associate of mine had a permit for 80 trees. Of those 80 there were only 10 large pines the other 70 were scrub crap small ones. PTC also had 4 code enforcement personel a few years ago but cut 2 of them. That created more of a work load on Molly and Tim who by the way do a superb job. Also once the permit has been given and the trees are cut down no one goes back to check. Thats bull when they say that. This is Rasts big dream to control homeowners and what they do with their private property. Its time for Rast to go to Fairburn and work.

Haven't understood this thing to bring before council from the start!

I don't think trees have stopped one development or building in PTC since we started building the place!
So many exceptions to any rules that all trees can be cut in one way or another.

I did notice a new reason to keep cutting them in this meeting: it might hurt the business of tree-cutting companies!

Then we can also cut trees with a special building permit.

The worst problem though is enough help to go and see what trees are being cut and count them. It also appears that homeowners can cut their trees since they own them.

It appears that 39,000 trees have been cut so far...wonder if they have that computerized by size ans type of tree? Including homeowners trees?

Wasn't Braelin shopping center once a solid woods? I remember when they bull-dozed every square inch of it and put back a few shrubs and trees that won't grow.

I think we need to create a new Interior Department with A Secretary and large staff and put this place back like it was when moon-shiners used to make moonshine on the old mill course at the creek.

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