Back in July, the Manchester Board of Aldermen proposed a tree ordinance that would regulate the care of trees within the city’s rights-of-way and parks, and establish regulations for the preservation of trees in residential and commercial developments. The city said an ordinance was necessary to establish regulations that would grow and maintain a healthy urban forest, maximizing the benefits trees provide to people and the environment, while also maintaining the public’s safety.
In helping to develop the ordinance, Alderman Mike Clement [Ward 2] vetted both concerns and recommendations by staff and residents. The final ordinance was approved at the Sept. 18 Board of Aldermen meeting.
The ordinance calls for the establishment of a Tree Advisory Board, consisting of three resident members, one from each of the city’s wards, who will be appointed by the mayor with the assistance of the aldermen. The director of public works, a position currently held by Bob Ruck, will serve as staff liaison to the advisory board. The ordinance details what role the advisory board will play in governing the tree ordinance.
The other main provision of ordinance relates to tree preservation during construction of new development projects. Under the ordinance, developers are required to retain a minimum of 30 percent of existing woodland in those developments where contiguous woodland is to be removed. The ordinance states that “woodland preservation should prioritize riparian corridors, quality species composition and buffer zones. When possible, replacement trees shall be replanted.” If no appropriate tree locations are available, a payment of $120 per replacement caliper inch may be paid to the city’s tree fund; the amount would not exceed $10,000 per acre.
“It changes the ratio from them replacing 1:1 to 3:1, which makes that more reasonable for developers or homeowners. It is in line with other neighboring municipalities,” Clement said.
The approved tree ordinance is available for viewing on the city’s website [www.manchestermo.gov].