Decatur Commission – Trees, annexation on agenda

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt May 19, 2014
Decatur City Hall

Decatur City Hall

Decatur City Commissioners will consider adopting a new tree ordinance at their regular meeting on Monday, May 19.

The City Commission meeting begins with a work session at 6:30 pm and will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street.

City Commissioners first started looking at the ordinance in October of 2013 and enacted a 90 day moratorium on tree removal. The moratorium ended Jan. 24, three days after city commissioners scrapped the first version of the ordinance after a public outcry.

According to the city:

Under the revised draft, owners may remove up to 3 protected trees every 18 months. Homeowners will be required to fill out a free, informational permit which will allow the City to track tree canopy. A protected tree is defined as having a 6 inches or greater diameter at breast height. If protected tree removal is part of a project that requires a land development permit or is the 4th or greater protected tree removal within 18 months, then the owner must document the existing tree canopy cover and maintain the same amount of tree canopy once the project is complete. For example, if a property has 40% tree canopy cover and the owner decides to build an addition that will cause the removal of a 12” tree with 600 square feet of tree canopy, then the owner will have to plant 600 square feet of new tree canopy cover.

For more details on the proposed ordinance, click here.

If passed, the ordinance would take effect July 7. “In the next six weeks, the city will designate a city arborist, hold public workshops on the new ordinance, recommend permit fees where applicable and create the necessary administrative forms for implementation,” the memo from city Planning Director Amanda Thompson says.

Commissioners will also consider:

– Approving an agreement with City Schools of Decatur and American Traffic Solutions, Inc. for installing automated traffic enforcement cameras on school buses “to detect vehicles illegally passing school buses where children are loading and unloading.”

“In April 2014, the City Schools of Decatur school bus drivers provided survey information that reported 57 violations involving 15 buses in just one day,” the memo from Decatur Police Chief Mike Booker says.

– Amending a city ordinance to allow “a school in a commercial zoning district,” according to the meeting documents. Academe of the Oaks, a private high school on New Street, is seeking the change to allow it to increase its enrollment to 100 students. The enrollment currently is limited to 80.

– Amending the master site plan at Decatur High School to allow for temporary classrooms to accommodate students during a renovation of the school. “The applicant is seeking approval of an amendment to the comprehensive site development plan to place 10 temporary classrooms on the upper parking lot. This will result in the reduction of approximately 32 parking spaces,” the documents say.

– Annexing 1321 and 1325 Scott Boulevard and annexing 1121, 1131, 1137 and 1143 Conway Road

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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