The Edmond Sun

November 15, 2012

Commission reviews public tree ordinance

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Urban Forestry Coordinator Ryan Ochsner made a presentation to the Urban Forestry Commission this week about a public tree ordinance the group has been discussing.

Ochsner said the existing city ordinance is vague and misleading in terms of describing public trees in terms of whose responsibility it is to maintain or remove a tree.

“It defines public trees as basically any tree with a portion of the trunk originating in city right-of-way,” Ochsner said.

A public tree would be defined as “all trees and shrubs for which any portion of the base of the trunk originates on city property or street rights-of-way where the city has installed and continues to maintain tree plantings.”

The city’s approach has been that the adjacent property owner of the tree is responsible for the tree. Also, services to remove public trees are available by the city.

“It’s based on the availability of services we can offer,” Ochsner said.

Commission member Melanie Patry asked if the city would provide free services to a homeowner wanting an intrusive limb removed from their driveway. The code does not offer free removal of tree limbs over driveways or to protect trees in rights-of-way from being removed from a homeowner.

“The ones that we’ve installed, we’re declaring the city’s responsibility to maintain,” Ochsner said. “Residents plant trees in the right-of-way, which is fine. We encourage that. We don’t try to insert ownership or control over that.”

The commission will vote on the item at a future meeting before it is considered by the City Council. | 341-2121