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Decatur City Commission Upholds $6,325 Fine For Tree Damage – Decatur-Avondale Estates, GA Patch

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http://decatur.patch.com/articles/decatur-commission-rejects-appeal-of-fine-for-tree-damage

Decatur City Commission Upholds $6,325 Fine For Tree Damage

New two-year contract approved for City Manager Peggy Merriss.

The Decatur City Commission voted Tuesday night to deny a homebuilder’s appeal of a $6,325 fine levied for damage to two trees at a construction site.

City Development Director Amanda Thompson said this was the first appeal of a fine in the 22 years the city’s had a tree ordinance.

Artisan Home Crafters built a single-family house at 324 Mead Road. The city arborist, Ed Macie, looked over the property before construction and found two large oak trees in fair to good condition.

In November a city employee found tree protection fencing had fallen down and construction material stacked on the tree roots. At the city’s suggestion, the builders hired a certified arborist from Arborguard, David Dechant.

He inspected the trees and decided one was decaying and dying before construction began, probably from sidewalk and underground utilities. The other tree would not withstand future utility placement, Dechant said.

The builders said they needed to remove both trees and submitted a revised site plan to the city. Macie conducted an inspection later and found the larger tree in such bad shape from what he considered construction-related stress that he recommended removal.

Ken Warlick of Artisan told the commission the company had cooperated with the city and hired the arborist at their expense.

He said “we’re all for saving trees” but didn’t think Artisan should pay for damage that occurred before construction began.

Macie recommended the fine, which Thompson upheld.

The developers appealed to the council, which voted with little discussion to reject the appeal. Commission members noted that Artisan had agreed to the first site plan that called for protection of the trees.

The commission also approve a new, two-year contract for City Manager Peggy Merriss. She will be paid $154,500 base salary — a raise from the current $147,000 — with $22,500 in retirement contributions.

Merriss has been city manager for about 19 years.

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Written by vaphc

February 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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