The city of Atlanta abruptly canceled a Nov. 7 Buckhead meeting about its long-awaited Tree Protection Ordinance rewrite, saying a rethinking of the format is needed and that a new schedule will be announced later.

The tree ordinance is being revised through the “Urban Ecology Framework” planning process, which was expected to deliver a final report this year. The process has been underway since early 2018.

The only notice about the change was the word “cancelled” stamped in red across a standard meeting notice posted on the website of the Department of City Planning. After media questions, the department added a written explanation about three hours before the meeting was originally scheduled to begin. That statement reads, in part:

“Through the Advisory Committees and first round of public meetings, we discovered that the presentation and meeting format were not conducive to receiving feedback on the key concepts that were presented. We therefore chose to cancel the remaining meeting to respect everyone’s time. We will be reevaluating the schedule and our approach to future engagement. Details will be provided as they become available.”

Elizabeth Johnson of the Planning Department referred the Reporter to the website statement and did not immediately respond to questions about what was wrong with the earlier meetings and why the cancellation was so sudden.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.