Woodman, spare that tree . . . for 6 months while PTC writes new rules

REVISED for print edition — If you plan to cut any trees on your property during the next six months, the Peachtree City Council suggests you take a six-month break before you fire up that chainsaw. Thursday night, the council — at city staff’s urging — will consider adopting a six-month ban on nearly all private property tree removal.

The ban, called a moratorium, would allow staff time to “thoroughly evaluate our established regulations pertaining to issuance of tree removal permits and to develop recommendations to update these regulations,” according to a staff memo circulated to the City Council in advance of the meeting.

Even if the moratorium is enacted, there would still be several circumstances in which a tree could be removed, specifically:

• When existing vegetation sustains irreparable damage and constitutes an immediate hazard to human life or property as determined by a certified arborist licensed to practice in Georgia;

• When removal of existing vegetation is specifically approved by site plan review;

• When trees on commercial horticultural properties are to be removed as a direct part of the business; or

• When public service companies perform normal construction and maintenance.

Since 2004, the city has processed permits allowing the removal of more than 39,000 trees on private property. The city doesn’t have any corresponding data to account for the many residents who removed trees only to replant more trees, officials have said.

While the number of trees removed is a concern, there is also anecdotal evidence of new residents moving into neighborhoods and cutting down multiple trees to the dismay of their neighbors, according to Community Development Director David Rast.

“We have experienced areas where older residents are moving out, newer residents are moving in and they don’t want trees,” Rast told council at a recent meeting. “So the next thing you know we have a lot on the street that has been heavily wooded that’s totally devoid of any vegetation.”

The matter of tree removal has recently been the topic of discussion because the city lacks the manpower to issue and police tree removal permits under the city’s current ordinance. Staff recently asked that the tree removal regulations be loosened so a permit would only be required to remove a protected or specimen tree.

A protected tree is defined in city ordinance as a deciduous tree 15 inches or more in diameter, an evergreen canopy tree 18 inches or more in diameter or an understory tree four inches or more in diameter.

The ordinance defines a specimen tree as any tree reaching the “upper range for the mature diameter and height for that species of tree,” according to the ordinance.

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Original online version:

A temporary ban on tree removal for up to six months, except for those which endanger persons or property, may be enacted soon by the Peachtree City Council. The ban, if approved, would give the city more time to craft an ordinance designed to conserve trees.

At a recent council meeting, it was noted that more and more residents are moving in and cutting down multiple trees to the dismay of their neighbors.

“We have experienced areas where older residents are moving out, newer residents are moving in and they don’t want trees,” explained Community Development Director David Rast. “So the next thing you know we have a lot on the street that has been heavily wooded that’s totally devoid of any vegetation.”

Also at the Jan. 6 council meeting, city staff suggested limiting a requirement for residents to get tree removal permits because it creates so much staff time and has been ineffective at reducing the amount of trees removed in the city.

The change would have required residents only to get a permit if they were to remove a protected or specimen tree. A protected tree is defined in city ordinance as a deciduous tree 15 inches or more in diameter, an evergreen canopy tree 18 inches or more in diameter or an understory tree four inches or more in diameter.

The ordinance defines a specimen tree as any tree reaching the “upper range for the mature diameter and height for that species of tree,” according to the ordinance.

At the same meeting, resident Inge Guha-Biswas urged council to do more to protect trees.

“You’ll never have a big tree if you keep cutting down the little ones,” she said. “It takes an awful long time for trees to grow.”

Council ultimately tabled the matter so staff could look into further restrictions that could be adopted. Among those possibilities was the enactment of a moratorium on tree removal.

normal
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Attention homeowners A good day for property rights

It was a unanamous vote by the mayor and counsil tonight. They DENIED David Rasts request for a ban on tree cutting for 6 months. Finally the property owners rights were protected.
Please save the good trees though. Only cut dead and diseased.

Spyglass
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A total ban seems a little shortsighted to me..

But this Council has been all over the map with stuff like this.

dawgday
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Remember

What is the saying, power corrupts,absolute power corrupts absolutely. It appears Dandy Don , Lap Dog Doug, Mr. Personality and the Girls may be at it again. But then again, it may just be staff trying to tie up loose ends because you can not expect us uneducated, disrespectful idiots, also known as taxpayers and voters, to make good decisions. All I can hope now is there is enough sense in November to start getting rid of this disfunctional group.

normal
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David david David

While the number of trees removed is a concern, there is also anecdotal evidence of new residents moving into neighborhoods and cutting down multiple trees to the dismay of their neighbors, according to Community Development Director David Rast

Did the city approve these cuttings. YES, They didnt have to so dont blame it on new blood moving in.
Id rather have a new neighbor cut down his trees than move in with a bunch of kids and/or dogs and worse yet some damn cats.
Hope you all have a great year and I hope the government gets the hell out of our business. Egypt just took care of their government

normal
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resident Inge Guha-Biswas

THis person can be the self appointed tree cop. Equip with a taser and handcuffs.

Beware of trees being cut on Sunday. Lots of mexicans running chainsaws on this holy day of rest. No need for any permits on sunday. No code enforcement patrols on that day.
THis is kind of fun. Ban tree cutting on Sundays only. That will keep the non authorized companies from working and save a lot of trees.
Wow I just solved the problem and havent been to a meeting

bladderq
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Mr T & the Tree

Mr T moved to a bastion of conservatives in a No Chicago suburb & proceeded to denude his property. The city enacted an ordinance to prevent future occurances. Name of the suburb..Lake Forest.

Charity Rider
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Trees. . .

Peachtree City = Worlds Largest Homeowners Association.

normal
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OMG more government. God they are stupid

What next is the government going to screw with. This is assanine. Total waste of time. Do you not realize who you will put out of business. I will tell you.
Landscapers, the only 2 tree services that live in PTC, pool builders, construction companies that build additions,
I had Jones tree co come over, I got my own permit from the city, everything was fine. Leave us alone. You know I hate law suites and all that lawyer crap BUT> I would advise any business that needs trees removed for their income to SUE the mayor, city council and all the good old PTC tax payers for 6 months of expenses they will loose due to this dumb ass idea. It will cost the city millions. Be wise dont be stupid. And this weird person Inge Guha-Biswas please stay on your lot and leave the rest of the city alone. Mind your own damn business

crazy squirrel
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love trees, love freedom

it makes me absolutely sick when people cut down trees that are healthy for ANY reason. i have lived in communities with people who are so in love with their chainsaw, they'd probably cut down their own house if their wives would let them. i grew up in PTC, where i built forts, caught crawdads, and otherwise spent hours playing in naturally wooded areas that are now developed. i am absolutely 100% a tree hugger.

BUT that's the thing about freedom. even puffed-up, testosterone-driven, chainsaw-wielding destructors of nature are free. free to be inconsiderate a-holes. so "thin" your lots all you want, fell god's perfect creations because you find their fruit annoying, you beer-gutted morons. i'll complain to anyone with two ears about what a jerk you are, but that's as far as i'll take it.

...oh, guess what i did to make sure my kids would have the same experiences playing in the woods? i moved to a neighborhood with rigid covenants about tree removal. and i didn't have to use the force of government to do so.

lettinguno
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The trees are coming down

The mature gumball trees and their shade have over taken the once beautiful specimen trees and turned them into deformed looking trees.
They are all growing on just the one side trying to find the light of the sun. I detest stepping on the gumballs in my yard and won't have to much longer since they are being cut down before our tyrant council passes their moratorium.

normal
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tree hugger squirrel

Well I hope you get sick. You moron. It is people like you that stick your nose into everyone elses business. Mind your own business. Thats a big problem in this country. So many want to tell everyone else how to live. Freedom is putting my pool in and cutting down those nasty trees. Or I can save the trees and you may pay me to clean out my pool and for any damage My home may get from falling limbs and trees. There are plenty of greenbelts for your little brats to play in the trees. Do you know that 80 percent of the pines in this area are diseased per the extention agent. You probably dont know that because you are to busy in everyone elses business.

crazy squirrel
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normal, touchy much?

it's just an opinion. like i said, i don't think the government should be allowed to force anyone to abide my personal view of propriety.

roundabout
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normal

There has to be SOME control!

The entire plains states at one time were completely covered with wonderful forests!

They were all sawed and chopped down (all) over a hundred years to build with. No replacements were done.

Then during the early 20th century this treeless land all blew to California, or somewhere, due to no trees, and no land preservation!

Also there are no animals much to kill and eat in most of the USA. We have to pen them up in 12 SF (cows and pigs) in order to have meat to eat!

That was all OK until we did it all in!

Go ahead and say "tree hugger, TEA!"

Dondol
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Roundabout, treeless land all blew to California?

The plains were not a one time covered by trees, hence the Name - Plains! (check the history books, Lewis & Clark found plains not trees) Also, to make the lesson complete the prevailing winds do not blow to the west, they blow eastward, therefore the land was not blown to the west. Class Dismissed!
With that said, trees are like tomatoes, grow them, cut them, replant them.
Let the Damn Mayor bring his butt to my house and stop me from cutting MY TREES ON MY PROPERTY!

normal
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Hey round you are correct--need some control

We now have some control. When I discussed trees to be removed with code enforcement I got this info. No speciman trees to be cut, 15 inch hardwoods and 18 inch pines. And then you have the understory smaller ones like dogwoods. So they approved some but not all the trees. I could cut the specimans with an arborist finding something wrong with them. I know a person that got a permit last fall to clear cut everything. Including speciman trees. It was approved by PTC. So we do have controls. What more can they control where the city tax payers wont be liable if the city turns down a tree removal and that tree falls and destroys a home or kills the homeowner. You bet the city would be sued and we the taxpayers would cover the cost.
Now dont we have enough serious problems in the city and country that we could work on rather than petty crap. I am totally fed up with some jerk bitching and complaining and because of that person 100s or thousands of normal folks lives get changed. Where did majority rules go.

mthom5436
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trees

“You’ll never have a big tree if you keep cutting down the little ones,” she said. “It takes an awful long time for trees to grow.”
-Thank you, Capt.Obvious

Did I read something last year about city inspectors or code enforcement not being able to keep up with the tree permits process as is. So why, are we looking to expand it?

Gene61
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PTC looking at 6-month moratorium on all tree removals

Once again the city overstepping its authority in my opinion. Wasn't it just last year it was stated the city didn't have the authority to take such action?

Development Director David Rast told the council so last year, was he wrong? No.

Gene61
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PTC looking at 6-month moratorium on all tree removals

Once again the city overstepping its authority in my opinion. Wasn't it just last year it was stated the city didn't have the authority to take such action?

Development Director David Rast told the council so last year, was he wrong? No.

SpinDr
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Why does it matter? PTC says it has no authority to limit.

Quote from PTC official in 1/4/11 Citizen.........

The city does not charge a fee for a tree removal permit and furthermore does not have the authority to prevent any tree from being removed, Community Development Director David Rast told council late last year.

Spyglass
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I applaud the City for trying to do something..

Tree ordinances are not uncommon in many Cities. IF you want to be able to do whatever you want, move to a County in South Georgia with ZERO zoning/ordinances at all. Be sure to thank your neighbor when he pulls up two shot out mobile homes for his Cousins to live in right beside your property line (unfortunately, I'm all too familiar with this).

When I moved to PTC, I fully understood that it was unlike many areas, and that the City would occasionally make/enforce rules that they thought were for the betterment of the City as a whole. I'm curious if all the folks below would be in favor of having ZERO zoning rules, etc? How far are you willing to go to protect your "freedoms"? Should your neighbor be able to build a 10 story house? How about a pool right on your property line with no fence etc?

If you don't expect things like that, a City like ours is probably not for you. See my comment above...

I can't imagine driving through my Subdivision and seeing NO TREES.

There has to be a happy medium.

The Wedge
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Spyglass, a moratorium

is no such happy medium. Each lot in the city is different and barring a private owner from thinning out his backyard to match his neighbors is not a happy medium. Perhaps a distinction can be made between front and back or even how much density you can keep. My backyard is a mishmash of tulip poplar and pine and I see no reason that I must keep the density as it is if I were to plant a garden. There is no ordinance that prohibits a homeowner from cutting down his own trees that I can see.

Spyglass
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Notice, I did say a happy medium

could be found. I have had trees taken down under the previous(current?) rules...it was quite easy to get the permit and I didn't have any troubles.

I'm not for a moratorium, nor am I for a free for all in cutting. Our council doesn't seem to be able to handle compromises at all.

normal
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Mr Spyglass

Director David Rast. “So the next thing you know we have a lot on the street that has been heavily wooded that’s totally devoid of any vegetation

Rast said the above statement. Now PTC has given clear cut permits to anyone that requested it. So who is at fault. Yup PTC. Now if they ban tree cutting that would prevent Walgreens from building and any builder that may want to build a new home or any developer who wants to build a business in the city. It doesnt make sense that a group of city government folks would risk destroying that business in this market. And who will pay when all those folks sue the city. Tax payers. Its so easy, make your rules or change your rules to protect while working the system as is until they get it done.

The Wedge
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Spy, I agree

in a happy medium, but I do not think we can get it from this council.

Georgia Patriot
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Do these guys/girls have a list

of ridiculous items to control? How about no spitting in the creeks? No bubblegum in parking lots? Maybe a farting in public ordinance? There already is a tree ordinance, maybe we need to hire some tree police? Please find some real business to do and..Stop attacking our freedoms! -GP

5stringJeff
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Not the City's Trees!

Simply put, these trees do not belong to the city, they belong to the property owners. If the owners want the trees, good for them, let them keep them. If they don't want the trees, let them get rid of them. Who are you, Peachtree City, to tell people what to do with the trees on their property?

Robert W. Morgan
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Those trees are controlled by the city - sort of

The covenants for most subdivisions which are part of your deed make the trees under city control. The catch is that most covenats expire after 20 years (which is the only reason Walgreens is going on that corner) and that means you can do whatever you want with the trees after 20 years unless the city has enacted an ordinance and that ordinance is enforceable. It appears the current ordinance has some problems.

I assure you that the mindset of the city is that they must control tree cutting because we regular folks can't be trusted to do it properly. The may be right. Remember that clown in Bradford Estates who clear-cut his lot on the front corner just to annoy Lenox who lives in the back?

Still, I wish city council would find something productive to do - like industrial growth - instead of dreaming up all these control-freak rules and regulations. Great place to live, but this stuff is really annoying.

The Wedge
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Greenspace

Isn't greenspace the domain of the city? That should be the trees upon which they hold domain. It is ridiculous that I would not be able to chop three trees down to plant a garden. Realistically, how are they truly going to stop it?

The Wedge
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More on trees

I quickly reviewed the ordinance for private property and it appears that it is written with the tree company in mind. For what I can see from this, if you want to fell your own trees in your own yard, you can do so with impunity, nor do they have an enforcement mechanism outside of basing it on the fee that the removal company charged

aricau
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Moving Out!

I agree 100%! Why dont they address the Food Modernization Act? No, we have our attention on tree removal.

Mike King
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This Council Never Ceases to Amaze

Another blatant attempt by Don and Company to impune upon the rights of individual property owners to placate the whims of a few activists, and , of course, to get a few headlines. In the future, new residents may well be forced to sign an agreement stating that they will worship and obey the great and mighty city hall.

“You’ll never have a big tree if you keep cutting down the little ones,” Does this fool realize that older trees have to be felled or die out for new growth to take their place?

Residing in a coded neighborhood with an association is one thing, but enacting such for an entire city could mean that old Don has begun classes in forestry. If so, I hope he has the will to finish this time.

The bottom line is if I don't want to step on those prickly sweetgum balls, I will cut the darn thing down. After all, my property has my name on the deed.

Spyglass
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If there was a market for sweetgum balls..

I would be one rich man. I hate those things.

crazy squirrel
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not a real market, i don't guess

more of a use, but when i was a kid, we'd use the green ones as ammo. speed around the neighborhood on our bikes and peg each other with those and pinecones. also used green peaches, come to think of it.

NUK_1
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Gumballs.....

The scourge of bare feet everywhere :)

Really, does the council need to re-visit the tree ordinance and think about a moratorium? This is one ACTIVE bunch of councilpeople that seem to be a little bored, and when they get bored, imagined problems pop-up that must be dealt with NOW and let's ban something. WTH?

RKS
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Keep the trees....

....I think the entire County should require permits for removing trees.

NUK_1
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RKS: Uh, no...again

Trees like to fall on your house, your car and anything else around, especially if they are pine trees. They also can kill your grass because they are so selfish.

Fire up the chainsaws!

carbonunit52
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I can't see the darn woods

because all of these trees are in my way. Yes, please do fire up the chainsaws (gawd, I love that sound). Timmberrr! Ah, the crashing sound of a big tree biting the dust, sweet music! Seriously though, there are too many delinquent trees amoungst the well behaved ones around here.

A moratorium on dumb ideas would go a lot farther, I do believe.

I suggest planting the American Beech as a speciman tree, it is one of my favorite forest trees.

MajorMike
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NUK_1 - case in point

During that hurricane renmant that came through Fayette County about nine years ago; My Ford pick-em-up truck looked lake a big white V with wheels on each end after being centered by a twenty three inch diameter Georgia pine that WAS in the center of my front yard.

I am also just starting the process of removing ALL of those sweet gum trees from my yard.

PTC moratorium be damned.

Spyglass
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I'm after my sweetgums as well...

But I've also been replacing them with other, hardier trees (without GUMBALLS). Maples, etc.

Spyglass
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dp

double post:)

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