Tree ordinance nearly complete

Langley may soon have a proposed tree ordinance to chew on.

Planning Director Larry Cort told the Langley City Council at its last meeting that the Planning Advisory Board’s tree committee is nearly finished with its work.

“They’re creating an ordinance from scratch,” Cort said. “It’s just about ready.”

The six-member committee has been meeting regularly for nearly a year to study the tree policies of other communities and to come up with proposed regulations for public and private property that would suit the character of the city.

The committee is made up of horticulture specialists and interested citizens and is chaired by Langley resident Fred Geisler.

A tree ordinance would address such issues as the protection of “heritage trees,” many more than 100 years old; the handling of trees on construction sites; the disposition of trees on bluffs and slopes in regard to erosion; the removal or pruning of hazardous trees; and the variety of trees to plant, and those not to plant.

The ordinance also would address the controversial issue of trees versus views.

Other efforts to come up with a tree ordinance for the city have been made through the years, but never completed.

The latest push is in response to incidents involving the perceived mishandling of old trees. The most notable involved the construction of the Langley fire station along Camano Avenue.

An ancient Douglas fir and two or three large cedars were threatened during the installation of a sprinkler system. When a protest was filed, an arborist was retained to inspect the damage. The roots were cleaned, the area back-filled and the trees irrigated.

The tree committee meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at city hall.

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