95% of Atlanta's trees are on private property and nearly 80% are located in single-family-residential zoning. As our City grows, we're seeing exponential tree loss. We can't protect every tree, but we can do better.
The City of Atlanta is in the process of revising the Tree Ordinance, so the window of opportunity is now. Tell your elected officials you want a Tree Ordinance that incorporates the following common-sense plan:
1. PLAN FOR TREES FIRST
Plan for trees at the beginning of the permitting process. This is the only realistic way to save trees and greenspace on development sites.
2. SAVE THE BEST TREES
A Tree Value Matrix has been developed to prioritize which trees are the highest value based on size, health, species and location, a method that is easily incorporated into the existing survey process. A requirement to preserve "high" and "excellent" value trees, according to the matrix, would ensure our best trees are preserved given we will not be able to protect all trees.
3. REDUCE GRADING & IMPERVIOUS SURFACE
A maximum sustainable footprint can be determined for different zoning categories. The result will not only reduce tree loss and impervious surface, it will decrease crisis-level stormwater problems/costs and reduce the impact of gentrification, among other benefits.
4. EFFECTIVE ENFORCEMENT
Penalties must serve as effective deterrents to code violations on construction sites.
**To hear about future opportunities to take action to protect Atlanta's trees, go to https://cityintheforest.org/joinus/.