Augusta leaders question tree ordinance changes


AUGUSTA Ga, WJBF) This will soon be a new development on this site, and Augusta’s tree commission wants to make sure there are trees here and so it doesn’t look like this barren sea of pavement.

‘So you can have shade and it helps the environment so it helps to clean the air,” says Melanie Wilson, Augusta’s Planning Director.

When there’s new develops there are rules about the number of trees that have to be planted depending on its size.

But tree commission is tweaking this requirement saying developers now can use how much shade is provided based on the amount of tree canopy instead of the number of trees.

“The benefit is you end up with a tree that’s already in place versus cutting down or just wiping a site and adding a number of smaller trees that may live or may not live,” says Wilson.

If developers can’t squeeze enough trees onto their site well the city has a tree bank.

“They can pay a fee based on the number of points and it’s a small fee that goes into a fund that allows us to plant trees elsewhere,” says Wilson.

But this isn’t growing on some city leaders.

“I thought you put a tree down because it was necessary before the tree to be at that location but now I’m hearing you can put money in place of it and put a tree somewhere else why did you have some put the tree there that bothers me,” says Commissioner Marion Williams.

Augusta Commissioners will have to approve the tree ordinance changes, but there are concerns they might be anti-business.

“One of the businesses in my district had a 30 thousand dollar landscaping that they had to put in in the business there’s another business that has some tree issues I’m going to be discussing with them coming up I just want to make sure we vet the process before we approve it,” says Commissioner Sean Frantom.

Because they would block the view of security cameras, commissioners are expected to go over the new regulation at their next committee meetings.

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