After halting all tree removal and trimming last month, following complaints stemming from the removal of four maple trees on Summer Street, Village Council unanimously approved a policy this week that puts tree work back on track — but with changes.
“We didn’t really have a standing policy in place, so pretty much the whole thing is new,” Village Manager Chris Burns said. “(Village Public Works Director Roger Belknap) has outlined how we’re going to handle tree trimming from this point forward.”
The policy includes maintaining an inventory of trees in the village right of way with the help of a certified arborist, referring the trimming/removal priority list to the village's Parks and Recreation Board for review and recommendations, informing residents in writing of impending maintenance and removal, and replanting two trees for every one removed.
Some of these strategies were already in place, but council apparently wanted to solidify the protocol and have parks board members provide an extra set of eyes before trees are cut down.
Council will also hire a new arborist to review village trees and make recommendations for trimming or removal. The former arborist, a village resident, worked for the company the village had hired to remove trees.
The village spends more than $10,000 every year to maintain and remove trees for public safety and aesthetic reasons.
Village President Jim MacLachlan said he’s pleased stricter guidelines are in place.
“This policy will enumerate the steps we will take to maintain a safe environment for pedestrians and motorists, as well as preserving the natural beauty of the village,” he said.
Some village residents were upset last year when Consumers Energy removed trees at the southwest corner of Lake Avenue and Savidge Street because they were interfering with power lines.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.