Flowery Branch city leaders are considering amending an existing ordinance to more clearly specify tree usage in subdivisions.
City Planner John McHenry showed example pictures of how tree roots can push up streets and pedestrian sidewalks, causing safety hazards.
“We obviously have language currently in the subdivision code and in the zoning ordinance in terms of trees,” McHenry said at Thursday’s City Council meeting. “What we don’t have is this specific language calling out specific trees, as well as the diagram (of these root barriers).”
According to McHenry, the city recently spent $9,588 to repair around 1,000 square feet of sidewalks in the Sterling on the Lake subdivision.
The proposed ordinance change would require developers to install root barriers “when trees are planted within five feet of a sidewalk, curb, paved surface or underground utility corridor,” it reads.
Barriers force tree roots to grow further into the ground, rather than growing surface roots that would disturb the landscape.
The ordinance also identifies trees appropriate for street use.
Council members approved a first reading of the proposed ordinance amendment; a second reading and final approval is required prior to the changes taking place.