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Emmaus Borough Council Approves Shade Tree Ordinance

Ordinance Allows Shade Tree Commission to collect money from homeowners who do not wish to replace trees on their property after cutting them down.

approved 5-0 at the Monday, July 16 meeting an ordinance establishing a Shade Tree Fund and authorizing the Emmaus Shade Tree Commission to collect money from borough homeowners who do not wish to replace trees on their properties after cutting them down.

Under the measure, the Shade Tree Commission would collect $200 from the homeowner, which covers the cost of a new tree to be planted elsewhere in the borough, but is not enough to cover the cost of planting that tree, according to Councilman Mike Waddell, who chairs council’s General Administration Committee. The Shade Tree Ordinance came out of Waddell’s committee.

The original version of the Shade Tree Ordinance presented to council, Waddell explained, would have charged borough residents $450 – enough to cover the tree and planting – but some members of council, including Councilman Brent Labenberg, found that amount to be too high.

The ordinance also met with pushback from Labenberg in past council meetings because he felt borough council should not be so involved with what borough residents are doing on their own property.

Labenberg voted in favor of the measure Monday night, stating that it does give the resident “more options.”

Councilmen Brian Holtzhafer and Nathan Brown were absent from the July 16 meeting.

Logical Libertarian July 23, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Brent is right. That fact that these liberal idiots on our borough council even conjured up something so ridiculous as the "shade tree commission" is absurd. The best part is the, the players in the borough who are connected, like the Fretz boys, don't have to follow the rules. Who are you to tell me what I can do with my property?
Scott Alderfer July 23, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Would any realtors or real estate appraisers care to comment on whether homes are worth more on a tree-lined street or on a street with only a couple of random trees, if any? Seems like lots of folks might prefer tree-lined streets, so for an modest investment of a couple hundred bucks per house, the property values on the whole block could benefit. But that's just my guess. I'd like to hear from local realtors on this issue. I would also guess that the shade tree ordinance specified which are appropriate trees to plant along the street (like ones that don't have shallow roots to push up sidewalks, don't have low branches that will interfere with pedestrians, and ones that don't grow so tall that they interfere with overhead wires).
Jennifer Elston July 23, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Am I assuming correctly when I say this ordinance only covers trees 12 feet from the street?? They can't possibly be talking about all trees in Emmaus. What about homeowners who can not afford to pay, but need to cut down a tree for various reasons???
tamarya July 23, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Okay why do we need more trees, to have branches all over roadways that are not cleaned up, to damage more powerlines in the events of storms, to draw more ticks, to ruin sidewalks when roots grow, wonder how much the coordinator of this ordinance will pay residents when that stuff occurs. I could see planting trees if we used them for paper supply and everything else they are used for, however people want paperless to save trees so we saved the ones we got, we do not need more. And animals have enough trees, heck they have a whole city with all the trees around.

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