West Annapolis Trees
The developer, MRE properties, is proposing to build a mixed use building with housing and a first floor restaurant; that's the good part. The bad part is that they are proposing to unnecessarily remove all of the trees on the property (4 total), including two very large specimen street trees (42" and 36") along Annapolis Street that are in fair health with no sign of decline, despite two laws (Chapter 14 and Chapter 17, thanks to former Mayor Moyer) stating that such trees should be protected (as a side note I’m currently working on legislation to strengthen these laws). Their removal could easily be avoided if they would simply move the building back to the current setback, rather than moving it closer to the road. Furthermore, this risks creating a precedent where any future redevelopment along this road will also move closer to the road, meaning that many of the street trees along Annapolis Street will need to be removed, and it would prevent us from planting new large canopy trees along this street due to the power lines (having more room means the trees can be planted to avoid the powerlines). The important thing to factor in is that the developer is not making any compromises. They are removing ALL of the trees on the site. If we can’t protect trees that are in good shape and at the peak of their lives, providing the maximum benefits they can, than what trees will we protect? Aren’t these the most important trees to protect? There is a solution in sight that would not require any parking to be lost. I’ve attached a PDF with a sketch I put together showing that this is possible simply by relocating one of the stormwater management facilities. What’s more, besides just saving these tree, my proposal could enhance and restore these trees by reducing even the current impacts to the critical root zones of these trees. The developer could even maintain their outdoor dining by using a raised decking as opposed to paving over the roots.
What can you do?
This project is currently before the Planning Commission for public comments. Their next meeting is on Thursday, December 17th at 7pm. If you would like to testify in person or submit written testimony to the Planning Commission, you can do so at this website.
Here are the trees in question (the two on the left-center):