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    Although I am hopeful that new changes will help protect what is left of our tree canopy, so much damage has already been done that it will be years (decades?) before we see a return to our once verdant community.

    It’s critical to remember that we not focus on the short term at the expense of the long term. Those who would profit in the short term will not be around once they’ve made their buck.

    Our current approach to tree preservation is just one more example of the legacy of the “development at any cost” approach to governance brought in by J Max and his clown car of cronies. Although it is taking time and considerable effort – the citizens will continue to take back what is ours.

    Although it is shameful that our trust has been betrayed all that we can do now is mitigate the damage and ensure that this does not happen again. A community-focused tree ordinance is an essential step on this path.

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    Tom, we already have a city symbol. A can of Lysol.

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    The “ATL” people can get it done for $500,000.00

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    The tree canopy has been replaced by the cloud of greed, appeasement and total disregard for the citizenry.

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    Kathy Forbes

    Thank you Tom – for all your work and for carrying the banner on this most important issue. We’re lucky to have you in Brookhaven.

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    Melanie Pollard

    Tom, Beautiful letter. I’m actually hopefully they will push for deferral since there are too many loopholes in the proposed draft to sustain a 45% canopy which is already lower than the one Brookhaven had 1 year ago, let alone 5 years ago. The current demands on the city to enforce are also too high for one arborist alone to manage. A Tree Commission with a permit appeals process, clearer definitions on how the city will protect existing Specimen trees, and more stringent controls on the use of DDH would be a start. But currently, the ordinance gives too much power to options and Exemptions and not enough to guarantee our city that we will continue to have 45% canopy in the near future.

    Additionally, the formulas are not based on science. To my knowledge, 120 DBH is not proven to protect 45% canopy in the Piedmont region with our native species. Is 20% CRZ for a mature White Oak accurate protection for top soil that is only 2-4 inches in depth and rests on clay? It might be for Austin’s 8 inch top soil sits on limestone. I believe this and drought is related to why our trees keep coming down. We need studies on this at a city-wide, metro area level. Our municipalities need to work better together through education and outreach to formulate stronger communities that residents understand and support.

    A perfect Tree Ordinance is probably not anything that we can expect to happen in a year since the variables of protection are so diverse. Our development for low-impact sustainability are in conflict with development for profit and property rights. These two world views must meet somewhere in the middle and produce a sustainable canopy that is livable now and 100 years from now.

    What is true, though, is that recompense for taking out 50 beautiful specimen trees is not anything that we will be compensated for at least 100 years. We need to protect our existing canopy so that the stormwater, heat index and quality air to breathe, reduction in native wildlife will not continue heading into a deficit which is where it is now. As hard as it is to hear this, anything below 80% is already deficit.

    So let’s set our bar higher if we want Brookhaven to lead. We have a green oasis here to protect and distinguish ourselves from the rest of metro Atlanta. This needs to be supported by residents first, then the city will follow. Please, everyone, come to the meeting tonight to let our commissioners know how you feel on this extremely significant matter and our greatest resource here in Atlanta– our trees. They are paying attention but we need more people at city hall to support this pivotal point in our city’s history.

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    Tom Reilly

    Thank you, ALL of you, for your support!! We couldn’t do it without you!!–Tom Reilly

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    If the city is going to allow mature trees to be sacrificed for development, can they at least increase the setback of very large homes? The one being built at Chamblee-Dunwoody & Harts Mill towers over the street and looks ridiculously disproportionate to the rest of the street.

    Also, I see a lot of driveways now that are so short (due to shorter setbacks) that the car barely fits onto the driveway and often juts into the street.

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    Eddie E.

    Do people still park in their driveways in your neighborhood?
    I thought the law had been changed requiring parking in the street.

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