Brochure, newsletter would be part of effort to address tree replacement

Published 6:44 pm Friday, October 12, 2018

As the Washington Historic Preservation Commission continues its work on developing a tree policy for the city’s Historic District, part of that effort includes developing a brochure that provides helpful tips and information about trees and tree replacement.

“We were talking about coming up with a brochure to help people, give them ideas as to what kind of trees would go well in certain places, go with the design guidelines,” said Emily Rebert, the city’s community-development planner.

Rebert noted the commission requires a property owner who is removing a tree to develop a plan regarding replacement of that tree. “With some of these plans, we are not seeing people follow through with replacing trees. We’re not getting follow-ups as to when they replace the trees,” she said. “That brochure is going to help guide people through as to what the steps are.”

During its June meeting, the commission decided to form a tree subcommittee to study and make recommendations concerning tree removals — and replacements of removed trees — in the Historic District. The commission wants more accountability regarding the replacement of trees from Historic District property owners who receive permission to remove trees from their properties. The commission’s guidelines require people replant another similar tree somewhere on the property within 60 days. Not meeting that requirement can be for several reasons, including weather factors such as temperature, Rebert said earlier this year.

That 60-day requirement likely will change under the tree policy, which should be completed sometime in 2019, according to Rebert. The commission, which appointed a subcommittee to help develop the policy, has discussed changing the 60-day requirement to a year.

“If people go to plant trees in the summer, there’s a good chance they’re not going to survive because of how hot it is,” Rebert said.

As a complement to the brochure, a newsletter is being developed “to send out initially but then also to keep on hand that discusses the advantages of having trees,” Rebert said.

The commission approves tree removals when a tree (usually damaged or dead) poses a threat of falling on nearby property, its root system poses damage to a structure’s foundation or an aging, damaged tree hinder growth of younger, more desirable trees.

The City Council would have final say on the policy, brochure and newsletter.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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