Tree ordinance finally approved

May 14, 2008

Pensacola Planning Board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve revisions to city tree and landscape regulations after Emerald Coastkeepers and developers finally agreed on the size that defines a heritage tree— 34-inch tree diameter.

Coastkeepers proposed heritage trees be designated at 24-inch diameter, while Moulton representatives favored 44 inches.

According to the PNJ, other changes include:

* Clarifying the definition of heritage trees by size and species. Native trees, except for water and laurel oaks, would fall under the heritage tree definition.

* Doubling the fee from $250 to $500 for every protected tree removed from residential or commercial property that is not replanted or replaced according to the ordinance standards.

* Including residential property under the umbrella of the ordinance. The ordinance now refers only to commercial property.

* Establishing a better definition of “best management practices” for developers when it comes to urban landscaping.

* Assigning responsibility for certifying tree plans for proposed developments to architects, civil engineers or landscape architects. When a developer submits plans for a project, this person would be responsible for making sure the intent of the tree code is followed.

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