About last night...

The following was taken from an 11-7-19 email correspondence to Councilmember Jennifer Ide from Dr. Louisa Bond Moffitt, and is being reprinted with permission from the author: 

I attended the meeting last night at Atlanta Metropolitan College to hear the latest version of the proposal to protect Atlanta’s trees, and I have to say I was appalled. All we heard was a tedious presentation of a formula to place a value on trees so they could come down – nothing about genuine revision of city statutes to protect them from unscrupulous developers. I was told that 1.2 million dollars has been spent on this travesty so far.

There was no current study of the existing tree canopy (one committee member finally offered that there was one done in 2014 “by some people at Georgia Tech.”), no genuine penalties for developers who cut down trees at will as the fines seem negligible, no plans for any sort of enforcement, and apparently no real interest in hearing what people had to say. The committee had designed an “activity” to eat up most of the time allotted for comments – thankfully there was a general uproar to that and the people attending insisted on comment time instead. The gentleman with the “activity” sheets quickly scurried off the to the back of the room and never opened his mouth again – he left his other committee members on their own.

Those attending came from all over the city – Vine City, Summerhill, Candler Park, Inman Park, Virginia Highlands, Buckhead, downtown – it was heartening to hear such a unanimous voice of condemnation for this waste of the city’s money and the danger this foolishness has created for the quality of life in our city.

We need a clear look at what has happened in the last decade in terms of illegal and irresponsible destruction of trees, a strong enforcement code that might actually act as a deterrent, a willingness to listen to the concerns (and even the demands) of city residents involving all of this, and a plan going forward that actually addresses the issues rather than  offering window dressing and an extended free ride for developers.

The work of this “task force” is a disgrace. I would appreciate anything you might be able to do to pull the plug on this ineffectual committee and see if we might get a group together that could come up with a plan that would be worth the 1.2 million dollars we have already wasted on this effort. All we got last night was the repeated assurance, “We will take that into consideration.” Not nearly enough. 

Meanwhile, from the Urban Ecology Framework website:

Statement of 11/7/2019 meeting cancellation:

"The Department of City Planning has cancelled the Tree Ordinance Rewrite Community Meeting for November 7, 2019. Through the Advisory Committees and first round of public meetings, we discovered that the presentation and meeting format were not conducive to receiving feedback on the key concepts that were presented. We therefore chose to cancel the remaining meeting to respect everyone's time. We will be reevaluating the schedule and our approach to future engagement. Details will be provided as they become available. Please stay tuned to our website and social media channels for further information. We thank everyone for their engagement so far and apologize to anyone who may have been inconvenienced by tonight's cancellation."

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