Decatur has important non-tree related items on the agenda

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt January 20, 2014

Icon_GovernmentWhile the focus of Tuesday’s Decatur City Commission meeting will be on the health of the city’s tree canopy, there are some other important things to discuss, too.

The commission’s non-tree related agenda includes:

– A proposal to rezone property at 506 East Howard Avenue for 11 town houses.

– A proposal to rezone property at 421 West Trinity Place to allow the Decatur Housing Authority to build up to 130 new units.

– A $365,000 increase to the construction contract for the Beacon Hill Municipal Complex. The money will cover the cost of adding audio visual systems to the city’s court, police department and active living buildings. That change order will bring the total contract to $32 million, a 5.5 percent increase from the original price (this increase includes previous change orders). The project budget is $38 million.

But those agenda items aren’t the show people will be at City Hall to see. Commissioners will be debating a controversial canopy protection ordinance, one that will use increased fines and regulations to dissuade property owners from removing trees.

A 90-day moratorium on tree removal enacted by city commissioners in October will expire on Jan. 24.

There will also be a resolution to add a Landscape Infrastructure Coordinator (known to the English speaking world as an “arborist”) to the city’s payroll. The resolution gives the position a salary range of about $40,000 to $65,400. The arborist will be responsible for enforcement of said controversial ordinance.

The much-discussed tree canopy will be discussed at the 6 pm work session and likely discussed again during public comments at the regular meeting, which begins at 7:30 pm.

By the time the meeting is over, there won’t be enough trees in Decatur to replace the oxygen in the room that will get used up on their behalf.

The city commission meets Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 509 North McDonough Street, Decatur, GA. Given the level of interest in the tree ordinance, if you plan to go you should arrive early and bring something to eat. It’s going to be a long night.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • ann_e

    thanks for bringing these additional issues to folks attention. no wonder taxes are so high in decatur (it’s not just schools!)

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