Pacific Grove’s ambitious tree plan makes its long-awaited debut.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
The city of Pacific Grove is hoping to put a long battle over its tree policy to rest with a new Urban Forest Management Plan. But the 178-page draft, released in mid-December, might raise as many questions as it answers.
The plan was born from the controversy over a city law requiring some homeowners to plant two new trees for every one they cut down. Rather than revise the existing ordinance, officials took a broader look at tree management, forming the Urban Forest Advisory Committee and holding several community workshops.
The draft proposes to ditch the two-for-one tree replacement policy for one based on lot size.
“It’s a way to spread the amount of trees more broadly across the city rather than require people who already have a lot of trees to plant even more,” says Sarah Hardgrave, the city’s environmental programs manager.
The plan also sets a long-term goal of adding trees to public spaces. “We’re looking at trees as a green infrastructure approach to addressing stormwater,” Hardgrave says.
The City Council will hear a report on the plan in early February.
“It’s become a huge document that really is tied in with urban planning,” advisory committee member Barbara Thomas says. “There’s a lot to review. They’re hoping to get it done quickly, but I have my doubts.”