To the editor:

Yes, progress (we think).

The July 29 public hearing on the proposed city tree ordinance presented some interesting developments. Right off the bat, after testimony from the city attorney who stated that the ordinance still needed some legal work, the decision was made to defer the vote until at least the next City Council meeting, which resulted in one collective sigh of relief.

Additionally, as a result of previously emailed questions, the Brookhaven arborist, Kay Evanovich, presented four suggestions for change, which, if adopted, will move the proposed ordinance in a more positive direction, preserving more trees and making developers more accountable.

And thanks to the outstanding testimony of 15 individuals, the City Council knows we are serious about holding them accountable, and two suggestions made during the hearing regarding the alternative compliance provision are now being carefully considered.

We’re not there yet, and as of yet, there has not been a vote on any of the suggested modifications, but we are very encouraged.

At the end of the session, the City Council voted to defer the vote until the Aug. 26 meeting, with the possibility of another public hearing in between.

Regardless of whether one is scheduled, the public will be able to make comment at the next two meetings, hopefully further encouraging the City Council members to do the right thing. We urge everyone to attend the City Council meetings and speak up on Aug. 12 and 26, when the vote will take place.

It should be noted that Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams remarked that all the emails simply urging them to stop clear cutting (which Kay claims that by her definition is not being done) are not helpful, and she encouraged citizens to continue to suggest some real solutions and modifications. We urge you to email your City Council member (if you have one) and the mayor.

Once again, thank you all for your passion and interest in protecting our beautiful and valuable forest canopy.

To quote Sharon Brekke, a Brookhaven homeowner for more than 40 years, “We want Brookhaven to be a model for jurisdictions throughout the nation with the best tree ordinance there is.”

Lissie Stahlman

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