Karen La Bonte

Karen La Bonte

Public Works Director Karen LaBonte and Community Development Director Jeff Adams presented the City Council with updated street, tree and park ordinances for consideration at the March 12 City Council work session.

Proposed changes to the street ordinance were minimal and had previously been brought forward but not adopted by the council. Councilor Nancy McCarthy requested the only change asking that clarifying language regarding the cost threshold for street paving be added.

Labonte also brought forward a potential new parks code which was updated by the Parks Committee at their Oct. 18, 2018, meeting. The city parks code has not been updated since 2005 and many of the ordinances are outdated.

McCarthy and councilor Mike Benefield requested that clarifying language be added regarding the allowance of temporary 10-foot-by-10-foot open-sided canopies in the parks, suggesting including definitions of temporary and open-sided. Councilor Robin Risley said that she was “worried about tents in general.”

LaBonte will take the parks code back to the committee for clarification.

Adams presented an updated tree removal ordinance to the council for consideration. The code was updated to include definitions for terms like “diameter at breast height” and “tree protection zone,” as well as a diagram to understand these new terms.

Certain activities such as interior redesign or siding replacement won’t be impacted by this ordinance update, but new construction and tree removal of any tree greater than six inches in diameter will now require a site plan which includes all trees to be removed and all trees that may be impacted, including those on adjoining properties.

The previous ordinance also allowed property owners to remove dead or dying trees at the discretion of the director of community development. The new ordinance requires the additional input of a certified arborist.

Mayor Sam Steidel requested that the language be modified to clarify that “foreseeable danger” as determined by a certified arborist. Adams will make the changes and return with the updated ordinance at the next council meeting for a public hearing.

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