Photo by Evan Brandt
Street trees blossom in spring time on Beech Street in Pottstown.
Specifically, the vote would authorize Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. to advertise an amendment to the borough's sub-division and land development ordinance, known as a SLDO, and apply to the rules governing "open space trees" and "parking lot trees."
"This is the result of an ongoing theme at the planning commission," Garner told council during the Wednesday work session.
"We were calculating a large number of trees and then granting waivers and it was becoming problematic," he said.
Photo by Evan Brandt
Since council took responsibility for street trees away from the
Reviewing the tree requirements and making changes "was definitely time well-spent," Majewski said.
"This change primarily reduces parking lot trees and open space trees. Developers are still required to plant trees, but this change makes it a little more reasonable and a little more fair to those trying to develop their land," said Garner.
The change would reduce the number of open space trees required from the current level of one new tree for every 2,500 square feet to one new tree for every 8,000 square feet, said Garner.
Additionally, where the current standard requires one tree for every two parking spaces, the proposed new standard would be two trees for every eight parking spaces, he said.
"This will create a lot more leeway then there is now," said Borough Council President Stephen Toroney, who sits on the planning commission.
Toroney, said the long-simmering issue came to a head when the school district presented its plans for the renovation of the three elementary schools.
"It was ridiculous. They were going to have to plant like a thousand trees," Toroney said.
Councilman Dan Weand, who is also the chairman of the Pottstown Planning Commission, added "where there was supposed to be open space and play space, there would have been a maze," "or Sherwood Forest," quipped Toroney.
"Also, its important to note that Pottstown has a lot more trees now than it used to. We've got pretty good tree cover now," Weand said.
Councilman Jeff Chomnuk said under the new guidelines, a space the size of the football field at Pottstown High School would require only six trees.
"It's definitely more workable," he said.