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72 Comments

  1. 1

    Thomas Porter

    Unfortunately you’ll find no empathy from the City Arborist!
    Only recently has someone in the City, after much prodding, calculated the balance in the tree bank.
    We need to move forward in a smarter way.

  2. 2
  3. 3

    Tom Reilly

    “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, thy are not.”–Albert Einstein. In theory, preservation is
    m ore important than plant back. In practice, developers still want plant back because plant back is cheaper and because Brookhaven lets them do it. We need to remember that it takes some thirty years to produce a real tree [or a real person!!]. The real people that live here need to further strengthen the Tree Protection Ordinance to prevent this sort of activity from happening in the future.–Tom Reilly, National Wildlife Federation

  4. 4

    Kerry

    I don’t see any improvement from the re-writing of the Tree Ordinance that we did. We wanted to stop clear cutting. But it continues. Let’s close the loophole quickly.

  5. 5

    Barbara

    Where I agree with your premise you have no proof at all that the 4 inch material does not make it long term and your statement of fact is highly misleading.

    In fact, a majority of that material does survive to maturity, which is why it is so widely used across the country. In addition, any trees that are or alive when the development is complete must be replace in order to get the posted bonds back.

  6. 6

    Sickened

    Our government won’t listen. That is the problem. Volunteer citizens have begged, pleaded, researched, cried, and yelled on many occasions about saving trees to no avail. Our government is more concerned with developers and what they want. Just wait. The wake up call will be on election days when old seats are filled with new bodies. They are destroying Brookhaven and they don’t care.

  7. 7

    Thanks for Speaking up

    I could not agree more! Shame on you City of Brookhaven….

  8. 8

    First word starts with B second word starts with..

    By law this is not considered a “clear cut”, you know they leave a few trees on the edge.

  9. 9

    Another one time mayor

    Sadly it appears that so far we may have another one time mayor. He has 3+ more years to wake up and start to actually do what he promised he would. Get out of “politics as usual” Mr. Mayor and start representing the people that elected you. The first 6 months has been very disappointing. What we asked of you is to get back to the basics, slow down, protect our neighborhoods and do what is right. Strategizing around those wishes and ignoring those promises will be your fast track to defeat.

  10. 10

    Grover

    I thought everybody loves 10′ crapemyrtles, 6′ nellie r stevens hollies and 3″ trident maples. My bad.

  11. 11

    Terrell

    Last I recall in 2015 the tree bank had approx. $28,000 in it.
    Last reported it showed a balance as of Jan. 1st of $27,086 with $5717 in expenditures thru May 2016. New balance is $21,369.
    How can this be? We haven’t collected any fees this entire year so far? That’s impossible. Isn’t it?

  12. 12

    Rob

    I live down the st from the ol’ Bryton hill project. I called the arborist back in the winter to complain about all the trees taken out. Her response was “well, we saved the Crepe Myrtle’s, and they complied with their retain requirements”. Indeed they did save the Crepe’s, but Im not sure if they complied or not. The Crepe’s are planned to be replanted in the new community, which is great, but man they wiped so many old oaks and maples which take decades to grow the size they were. It was sad to see them go.

  13. 13

    Ida Beth

    I totally disagree with you. He is young and new and has to figure it all out , but he is very smart, ethical and cares deeply about the community. He is honest and working really hard to live up to his job. When you are working your heart out to help people and to serve and someone anonymously throws insults at you it can be very discouraging.
    Keep fighting the good fight John. I think Brookhaven has the right Man to do the job.
    All things considered it has been a great 6 months.

  14. 14

    What to really believe. (?)

    I have heard this arborist talk out of both sides of her mouth depending who she is talking to.

    I just don’t trust her.

  15. 15

    Mother Earth

    We need Occupy Brookhaven, loss of tree canopy is a global warming issue and it only happens to make the 1% richer and displace the 98%.

  16. 16

    Toff

    The cost of running and “enforcing” the tree bank policy is much larger than the funds they are collecting. Its simply a waste of time and effort. Either admit the developers are free to do what they want or enforce strong rules with substantial punitive damages.

  17. 17

    More clear cutting

    There is also a big clear cut on Hermance behind Costco. I wonder if there where any tree recompence collected for that site?

  18. 18

    Following the Leaders

    We have to blame all involved in the allowing the old growth of Brookhaven’s canopy to be destroyed.
    First is the ZBA, the Planning Commission, Ben Song and his department, City Council and the Mayor.
    Last but not least you have Kay, our arborist, who gets to decide if a tree is “diseased” and if the tree is “diseased” then the lucky builders do not have to pay recompense.

  19. 19

    bldvl89

    We will all be long dead and our children really freakin’ old before any of these new plantings grow in size to anything even close to what’s being cut down now.

  20. 20

    Fred D.

    The new homes that are going in to replace the 50’s era homes in Nancy Creek Heights are no different. They are for the most part clear cutting and I seriously doubt that this has been policed properly to make sure contributions to the tree bank. It is easy to turn a blind eye when the tax base is being improved by the new commercial, multi-family development and the new homes with nearly triple their predecessor’s value. It does not appear that the City of Brookhaven is doing a better job than Dekalb County.

  21. 21

    Bob Sorrentino

    I would say that in the 6 months Ernst has been in office that there have been noticeable improvements. For example the development departments analysis of the mixed use project going next to Haven was a very thorough review that caught a lot of issues and ended with a recommendation to deny. He has taken the time to have the town halls and has been rather accessible. Is he batting a 1000 right no? No. But I do believe he slowly making Brookhaven better.

  22. 22

    Saul

    Just wait till the project on Harts Mill is clear cut. It’s really sad the D1 Angel would let both of these projects happen in our district.

  23. 23

    Jimmie

    How about the sign they put up… Inspiration in Progress and Home of Inspiration!! How can killing 99.9% of everything there be inspirational?? Not to mention their dumb name..Ashton Woods!! I watched truck after truck after truck haul those trees away, it was so very sad. Considering how many dump trucks go by every hour full of dirt, I’m pretty sure they took the earthworms too!! It seems that every new project that happens now, the lots are stripped clean. The sign less than a mile away from here states, Welcome to Brookhaven, The City of Trees!! Not for long if this keeps up.

  24. 24

    Eric Robert

    Crepe Myrtle’s are fine accent plants, but they are being overused and they will never provide much needed shade for the street and sidewalk.

  25. 25

    Eric Robert

    Based on a the development I checked the math on regarding the trees, I also am concerned that the “diseased” or unsafe designation is used too liberally.

  26. 26

    Paul D

    Crepe Myrtles are not ever green meaning they lose their leaves in fall.

  27. 27

    Eric Robert

    I have to say Chamblee doesn’t seem to be much better lately. Chamblee-Dunwoody road is Brookhaven on one side and Chamblee on the other. Developments on both side have stripped much of Chamblee Dunwoody of its fantastic shade through removal of very large Oaks along the Street. The one single family home development on the Chamblee side of Cham-Dun at Harts Mill is particularly maddening because the replacement trees are Magnolia’s planted on an artificial berm. Since Magnolias are slow growing with limited branch length they will never grow to be large enough to shade the street. At least the single family home development on the Brookhaven side of the street planted hardwood street trees, the problem is the Brookhaven side of the Street has the power lines so GA power will end up hacking them apart and perhaps to death when they do get taller.

  28. 28

    It won\'t work.

    This is all zoning, zoning, zoning.
    If the city does make the tree ordinance stronger but high density zoning is still approved by city and council then trees are just a second thought.

    We need super strong conservation tree ordinance language to be put in Brookhaven’s building codes not the weak recompense/replant tree ordinance that we have now.

    Our zoning laws should protect our trees!

  29. 29

    A little common sense

    Thanks Eric for these great points.
    It is amazing our arborist approves replant of large trees next to powerlines. The city should insist on native understory trees but maybe that is asking too much from our city.
    Maybe if the city had a tree commission as they said they were going to have one day then these are things that could be discussed and resolved.

  30. 30

    Tom Reilly

    Raise the standards a little more and the loophole will close itself.

  31. 31

    Barbara

    Then I guess you, myself, or our children should have bought the land. There are property rights that will get the city repeatedly sued, or has that just bypassed the 35 same complainers? Nothing changes because no one cares but the same very small amount of people. Stop blaming John and blame yourselves, you had a right to live here, so do others. You think no trees were cut down to build your house and street? We used to be able to see fireworks from Roxboro Rd, now you can’t. Trees grow back.

  32. 32

    Saul

    Are you liking your new city now?

  33. 33

    Ellen

    Again, not in our lifetimes. It kills me that people like you don’t care about this issue. You are the problem.

  34. 34

    Ellen

    What project on harts mill?

  35. 35

    Saul

    You voted for this damn city, how about you searching the city website for the information you desire. It is there, waiting for you to discover it. Alternatively, you can ask the D1 Angel. Once those trees come down you can just follow the wailing sound just off the road. Or, just look for the red clay once the area is cleared. Let me know if you need a suggestion for a specialist.

  36. 36

    Barbara

    I can guarantee you I have lived here much longer than anyone who posts here. I haven’t complained once when trees were removed for your homes, most of which are in disrepair, why would I start now. If I’m allowed to live here, so are you, and so are others. If they choose to take down trees within the law then that is it. They aren’t doing anything wrong, despite all the falsehoods stated in this article and by dishonest commenters.

    At the end of the day it’s not your property Ellen, whether by choice or means, it’s not yours to dictate. You had your chance to legally purchase it if the cause was so great, you did not. . I am not the problem, you are, and you were when you moved into my community, started discrimination by determining who can live here. You want to know why nothing changes? Because I am right. You same 30 people complain on here and I am going to let you in on a secret the rest of us tax payers already know, no one cares what you think.

  37. 37

    Saul

    You do realize that more government requires more taxes and therefore more government requires the revenue from development in their jurisdiction. From start to finish permits to final annual property taxes. It costs real dollars to give the special people the special things the few demand that the masses will infrequently use and subsequently fund.

  38. 38

    Saul

    That is until they get their inflated property tax bill. Then they call Mayor Ernst to complain and for relief. Nice operation. Over valued property and the Mayor offers to reduce your value for a fee.

    Let’s see, Rep. Jacobs, Mayor J. Max and now Mayor Ernst. If you create a city you have to feed it as well as yourself.

  39. 39

    Cathy N.

    1. My home is not in disrepair. You are welcome to come by anytime. (Built in 1981)
    2. What falsehoods are stated in this article or by commenters?
    3. What right do you have to declare this your community over anyone else?
    4. How is anyone discriminating over who lives here just by wanting to preserve trees?
    5. When and where has nothing changed in Brookhaven?
    6. What about the property rights of adjacent and neighboring property owners?
    7. Do you even comprehend the need and assets of mature trees to a community and the environment?
    Barbara, take your meds. We wouldn’t want a tree to fall on you tomorrow at one of your construction sites.

  40. 40

    Longer Than Barbara

    Our family goes back generations and the difference is that people used to cut down the trees needed for the home foot print and loved the over story canopy trees that lined the streets. I have pictures of my family enjoying the shaded streets long before you got here. Now because it is easier and cheaper the developers clearcut the lot and pay the city for the trees over the limit that didn’t get declared diseased or dying we are losing our tree canopy. Funny how when a lot is sold the trees start dying… look at the ones on Apple Valley at Dresden, they did fine for over a hundred years – a developer gets an assemblage and they start dying before the plans are activated and the tree inventory is taken. I still am trying to wrap my head around how paying in to a fund to plant more trees when every inch of the city is being developed….. where exactly can the city find to plant a real tree? Please tell me the twigs planted along the street are not included as a replacement trees.

    Plenty of home builders in Brookhaven have built houses and left the majestic trees – a few still do but it is very rare. As a matter of fact I hear that there is a house here in town that was built around a tree.

    So sorry to burst your precious little bubble Barbara but you are way off base and just wrong on this one.

  41. 41

    Longer Than Barbara

    You can tell when a lot is about to be developed… the trees mysteriously start to die.

  42. 42

    Joey

    Wow! Individual property rights do not always trump the social good. And if you think they do, you really are the problem. And if you don’t understand why, well, the word stupid comes to mind.

  43. 43

    Brittany Mother

    Sure Joey, up to the point when your individual property rights are infringed upon.

  44. 44

    Barbara

    Falsehood in article is that many recompense trees die beige maturity. It’s not true and there is NO spread of evidence to support that claim. Especially given that the city requires dead comprise trees to be replace before the developer or builder can get bond back. Also, planting large trees doesn’t work be issue they die. Again, there is a reason tree calculations exist and a reason 4″ material is planted all over the world.

    Discrimination is 100% happening under the guise of trees. People don’t like the community changing and this is one way they are trying to prevent it

    The policy in Brookhaven, and everywhere else, is that people have private property rights. They are allowed to take down trees because otherwise the land is devalued and they sue the city and win easily. It’s their property, if you wanted the trees you should have bought it.

    Property rights of adjacent neighbors are just that. Property rights of THEIR LAND. If you don’t get that then you are nuts. You aren’t allowed to go around yelling about what color they paint their house or how you don’t like the shake of their driveway, it’s not yours. Grow up.

    I comprehend the constitution and the laws of this city and state. I don’t expect just because I don’t like something or my feelings get hurt that it should change. if I wanted more trees in and around my property I am an always plant more and I can always buy more land around me. Until then, I understand that I was allowed to take down trees for my home at a time when tree replacement don’t even exist. Which is a category most of Brookhaven falls in, especially your house Cathy. Not one tree that was removed was replaced on your home. Maybe we should go back and retroactively make you and other homeowners replace them, because that would do 1,000,000 times more than what you are complaining about here.

    Since you care about the canopy so much why don’t you start a petition to do that. All homes built before tree replacement policy began must go back and replace the trees removed on their property.

  45. 45

    Toff

    Spot on Eric.

    Also, the road entry and exit for the homes on the Brookhaven side will be a nightmare. People with 900K/5000SQFT homes tend to have more than 2 cars and plenty of guests. I just dont see how that development is going to function and it will cause traffic issues at Chamblee Dunwoody and Harts Mill intersection.

  46. 46

    Toff

    Ellen, it might be the large corner lot at Harts Mill and Ashford Dunwoody. It was permitted a while back but development never started. I think 7 or 8 SFH going in?

  47. 47

    Cathy N.

    Now, now “Barbara”. You need to take those meds. Also, the more you talk, the more you disclose who you really are. I’ve heard all of this before from you.

  48. 48

    Steve

    Saving trees can be done and Atlanta is looking to do it, how about us Mayor J?

    Greg Levine, co-executive director of Trees Atlanta, said the problem is that local tree ordinances don’t protect trees, they just put a price on them.

    http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/building-boom-can-atlantas-tree-massacre-be-stoppe/nrTDt/

    Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, the city’s director of sustainability, said the city’s “green team” is working on a change to Atlanta’s tree ordinance that would allow the city to buy mature trees on private land and give that property to the parks department for “passive” recreation. Essentially, the change would protect portions of the city’s tree canopy from development by creating mini tree preserves.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/atlanta-has-a-new-plan-to-save-trees/nrdRG/

  49. 49

    Barbara

    I’m the same person I have always been. Still not a developer, still not a member of city council, or a city staff, or a builder, or any of those things. All of my posts have been the same for quite some time now. I have seen brookhaven change for better and for worse. We all have the right to live here and the right to our property, whether apartment or mansion. . That is and will continue to be my message.

    I love liberals, everything they lose an argument they change the conversation or make false accusations.

  50. 50

    Joey

    All laws and regulations are infringements on our individual rights, property and otherwise. They are a small price to pay for a well-regulated society worth passing on to our children and grandchildren.

  51. 51

    Same person different name

    I believe NTM has now become Barbara..

  52. 52

    Brittany Mother

    Joey I am sure you remember all the trees that used to be on Buckhead don’t you?

  53. 53

    Ted Gordon

    An old trick by builders is to accidentally damage a tree by say the bulldozer. Since the tree is damaged it can be taken out. When we were kids we called this “Accidentally on Purpose”. I’m concerned this practice isn’t being addressed properly.

  54. 54

    Ted Gordon

    There were 2 large old oaks on the Chamblee side that were removed. They were close to the street and out of the way. The only defense I read for their removal was that they were in the right of way which is no defense but actually the reason they should have been kept.

  55. 55

    Barbara

    HA! I have called him a moron on more than one occasion and more importantly disagree with his manner of lifestyle and his arrogant posts about his home. You are welcome to go back and check at previous posts. However, both of us have been accused of being different members of the development or city staff simply because we disagree with people.

  56. 56

    Jimmie

    First, only enough trees were cut to built my house 40 years ago and my neighbors did the same on lots that were empty less than 20 years ago. I have 20 plus healthy specimen trees in my yard. Just because the trees may have been cut down years ago by thoughtless people, why are we wrong to try and stop that from happening again to protect our neighborhoods and the beauty of why we chose to live here and raise our families or even retire here? Most of us that live here were not a part of previous razing of the land to build out the current neighborhoods and roads. I can’t imagine choosing to watch 30 minutes of fireworks once a year over having the shade of beautiful trees that protect from the sun, add value to our home and clean the air.
    There trees that are being cut down will take two or more generations to grow back. Trees can be built around, the developers just do not care, the only green they see is money. They strip the land, build as cheaply as they can and leave! We are left with barren yards and homes with no shade.

  57. 57

    The Brookhaven Post

    Hello folks. Just a friendly reminder to please keep the comments on topic. Thank you and thanks for reading The Post.

  58. 58

    Jimmie

    This is my community too, I moved into it a LONG time ago and raised my family here. They are gone now but that does not mean I do not care what happens. You must care some or you would not say anything.

  59. 59

    Jimmie

    Barbara, where are the large trees that were dug up from the Johnson Ferry East site and moved to be replanted when construction was completed? If you’ve lived here as long as you claim, you know what happened to them.

  60. 60

    Rhonda

    The wooded property behind me has been sold and I had no chance to put in a bid for it. There was never any notice to the public that it was up for sale.

  61. 61

    Rhonda

    MANY of the developer’s toy trees at the development across the road from me were planted this spring and are already dead. I have been watching this travesty for months.

  62. 62

    hahaha

    I think you are right! If not they use the same arguments.

  63. 63

    Please do Something

    I can personally attest to the “Diseased Tree” excuse. I have pictures of a 175-220 year old oak – cross sections down to the trunk that clearly show a healthy tree. This tree was considered dangerous and a “threat to the new homeowners.” The current Arborist of Brookhaven has questionable judgment as well as questionable qualifications (Ashford University) – A diploma mill. My experience in communicating with her was that she was not intellectually “There”. I’m sorry but this “fall” gal is complicit in the destruction of our quality of life more so than any builder or developer has been and a holdover from the “old admin”. The new City government should review this or at least hire a qualified associate to Vet what is going on.

  64. 64

    Just the facts

    Those trees were not approved under the power lines and must be replaced with appropriate types next fall, I already asked that question. Also was told all the sites being complained about did meet the required save inches of mature trees per acre. Seems to me if folks want to save more trees they have to buy the land before developers do. I heard there were grants available to purchase green space, need to research that

  65. 65

    Just the facts

    There are now three certified arborists on staff, one is a ABAC graduate; any one of them may check trees once a request is made to remove by owner or developer, also the person requesting the removal must have an independent Arborist check the tree before application to remove is made if they are claiming its diseased.
    All of the Brookhaven Arborists are certified. According to the job description I saw college degrees were not required. All of the arborists take classes each year to maintain their certifications

  66. 66

    Jay,stand up for what the people want.

    The is such a lame excuse to hear the same thing over and over again, if you want to save the trees buy the land yourself.
    Some governments protect the environment and some just let the greedy developers do whatever they want.
    Brookhaven is not listening to the citizens and that is why the citizens are disgusted with the old administration and could easily be sick of the “new” administration if they t hey keep allowing clear cuts.
    This new administration does not seem to care about the environment.
    If Jay does care about the environment he would take some strong measures.
    People are not happy!!
    Please do something!!

  67. 67

    Jimmie

    Not sure why thumbs down – they were supposed to SAVE those trees – instead they dug them up, dumped them in the back and when questioned as to where they were, the answer…oh those trees, we forgot to take care of them and they died.

  68. 68

    Joey

    And your point?

  69. 69

    Brittany Mother

    Joey, my point is we are on our way to being built out, meaning up, like Buckhead. Trees will be of the more decorative type, not the older growth we have now and were more plentiful in years past. I am just curious, when was it decided that my private property is not actually mine, but subject to the decisions of the social good? Where do you come from with such a Socialistic view?

  70. 70

    Eric Robert

    The required save inches is small and of little protection. its the loss of specimen trees that gets expensive for developers. And in this case several of the Specimen trees on the lot were deemed unhealthy. Regardless take a look at the property. If you think that is a sufficient amount of trees to leave then fine. Personally I, and based on the comments here, many others don’t.

  71. 71

    Eric Robert

    Exactly Ted!

  72. 72

    Ellen

    Barbara has 10 different online identities and creates multiple dislikes that way. I suspect she is actually a developer.

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