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What you need to know for 08/16/2017

City to plan for future of public trees

City to plan for future of public trees

A public forum will be held tonight to discuss the city’s new street tree inventory and developing a

A public forum will be held tonight to discuss the city’s new street tree inventory and developing a urban forestry master plan for Saratoga Springs.

The Urban Forestry Program of Sustainable Saratoga sent volunteers throughout the city over the past year to do an inventory of trees along city streets and in city parks.

At the meeting at 7 tonight in the Saratoga Springs Public Library, the tree survey results will be outlined along with plans for a tree master plan.

Bill Sprengnether of Cardinal Direction Landscape Architecture of Saratoga Springs, a consultant hired by the city, will present the information and discuss the proposed master plan.

“It’s trees in the city right-of-way only,” Sprengnether said about the inventory and the focus of the master plan.

A tree master plan would clarify and strengthen tree-related provisions in the city’s comprehensive plan, the zoning ordinance and the city code.

“It will be a framework for planting, managing, and removing trees in the city,” Sprengnether said.

The master plan will deal with tree removal policies, incentives and requirements for tree preservation, and expanding the use of green infrastructure across the city in all private, city, and state projects.

A prioritized planting plan, and creative ways to fund it, will also be discussed to reverse the ongoing decline of the city’s urban forest.

Sprengnether will have an early outline of a master plan.

He and city officials will be seeking comments from the public.

Mayor Scott Johnson said in a statement released Monday that the information to be presented tonight will include “species distribution of existing street trees, areas noted for lack of trees, and a summary of current management practices.”

“Saratoga Springs has a long history of taking pride in its street tree infrastructure,” he said. “The city is in the process of developing its urban forestry master plan for the enhancement and management of trees on public property and along city streets.”

Sprengnether said the first draft of the master plan will be developed over the next few months and be ready for public comment in February. The final master plan draft is expected by April.

The project will also include an online computer-generated survey to gather information from the public for the master plan.

“We are not proposing anything yet,” Sprengnether said. He said there will be recommendations for tree management, tree care and tree planting in the master plan as it is developed.

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