With Brookhaven City Council possibly set to vote on a new tree ordinance soon, residents at the council’s Aug. 12 meeting voiced concerns about the proposed ordinance, which some have complained is too vague and lenient on developers.

Linda Taylor, who lives in the Silver Lake area, said she hopes city officials continue to move away from the DeKalb County ordinance they inherited and are working on revising.

“I wanted to suggest that it might be possible to get further away from that ordinance,” she said. “It was really rather weak and I think we could do better.”

She suggested that the council look to Atlanta’s tree ordinance as a

Lissie Stahlman agreed, adding that she was glad the council deferred voting on the ordinance, and that she’s happy with some of the modifications. But, “a temporary moratorium [on tree cutting] would be better,” she said. “I’m not sure if the DeKalb ordinance is being enforced.”

She said she likes Atlanta’s tree ordinance, including the fact that, unlike Brookhaven’s proposed ordinance, it would not allow five healthy trees to come down or allow the issuing of tree-cutting permits within a year of previous violations.

The council first heard proposed changes to the tree code at a July 15 work session in which the new regulations were presented with the intent of improving the ordinance.

“I think any ordinance can use reworking,” said Kay Evanovich, a city arborist, in July, adding that there’s “room for improvement” in the proposed ordinance. Evanovich, along with arborist Teresa Eldredge, a landscape architect and president of TJ Schell, presented the modified tree plan to the council.

The council decided on July 22 to defer proposed changes to its tree ordinance to give staff members a chance to tweak it a bit before it was approved, with the intent of keeping the city’s tree regulations a work in progress.

The council on July 29 voted again to defer changes to its tree ordinance to Aug. 26 after city attorney Tom Kurrie said staff needed more time to complete a legal review of the new code.

Ann Marie Quill

Ann Marie Quill is Associate Editor at Reporter Newspapers.