Tree ordinance on tap for commission
As trees are cut down to make way for new subdivisions in Eudora, The Eudora Planning and Zoning Commission is taking action to ensure the cost of growth isn`t too high in the long run.
The commission will hold a public hearing on a possible landscape tree ordinance Dec. 6.
City Engineer Matt Taylor said the tree ordinance would replenish trees torn out during construction of subdivisions. Currently, Eudora has no requirements for mandatory tree replacement. Taylor said the lack of a street tree ordinance is evident and the addition will be beneficial in many ways to neighborhoods.
"It tends to make neighborhoods look a lot better a few years from now," Taylor said. "Whereas now, you can go through some of the neighborhoods and they look somewhat bare."
Taylor said another benefit of a tree ordinance includes providing shade for lawns and streets. After trees near streets mature, their overhang produces a "traffic-calming effect," Taylor said. In turn, traffic is generally slower in areas with more trees.
Chairman Kurt von Achen said the commission has been examining the tree ordinance for several months. After becoming aware of other communities` standards, the commission asked city engineer Taylor to gather data for a possible ordinance.
"I think we became aware that some other communities were doing it and thought we should upgrade so we could get a few more trees in our subdivisions," von Achen said.
Taylor said he looked at tree ordinances from Lenexa, Shawnee, Olathe and Overland Park. He said many of the ordinances were similar and used their examples in preparing a draft for the commission.
The draft includes provisions for a minimum of two trees per lot, one within the front and one in back. The trees can be either deciduous, such as maple trees, or confers, such as evergreens. Confers must be 6 feet or taller and deciduous trees must be two and a half inches in diameter. They must be no shorter than six inches off the ground.
Taylor said the commission would examine an option in the draft, which would exempt developers from planting new trees.
"The intention isn`t to make them plant trees just to do it," Taylor said. "If they save some then that`s fine too."