TAKE ACTION – Respond to Washington Post Article & defend Arlington’s Trees

The article Neighbors mount effort to defend Arlington’s trees from development” shows Northern Virginia residents asking that our dwindling tree canopy be rescued from uncontrolled development. According to South Arlington resident Frederick Craddock, “The trees are in danger.” “When I press the people at Arlington County, they say, ‘Well, we do protect trees on public land, but homeowners are left to their own devices.’ ” Glen Carlyn residents, equally distraught at neighborhood tree loss, have attempted to contact developers directly with no response.

TAKE ACTION Some comments on this article at the Washington Post site fail to recognize the many benefits from trees that are being lost. Make your voice heard and advocate for the facts about our dependence on the remaining trees. To comment, go to the article and click on the chat box in the upper left side of the page.

Collaborative on Tree Preservation in Arlington – Civic Federation Report

The Arlington County Civic Federation’s Environmental Affairs Committee recently completed a Collaborative on Tree Preservation in Arlington. The purpose was to understand the nature of the issues (e.g., economic, legal, policy and environmental) involved in preserving and expanding the tree canopy in Arlington. It was Intended as a scoping study to inform further public action. The process was designed and implemented in a manner that encouraged listening to and considering all points of view. A summary of the findings is now available for public review here.  The highest priority “needs” included: new tools for tree preservation, erosion, and storm water management; incentives for developers; funding for tree programs, natural areas, land acquisition; better maintenance of trees and new plantings; planting more trees with an increase in the diversity of species; more County leadership, e.g. preservation, education, etc.; and addressing diminished tree canopy in South Arlington.The detailed findings to the report can be accessed here.

At the February ACCF meeting, the Environmental Affairs Committee will introduce a resolution proposing to continue their work through collaboratives, research and analysis working with other ACCF committees having a stake in the issues identified. For questions, comments please contact Mary Glass or Eric Ackerman at environmental.affairs.chair@civfed.org.

 

Potential Tree Loss from Crystal City Waterpark renovation

On January 26th Aurora Highlands Civic Association representative Natasha Atkins presented testimony to the County Board on the proposed Crystal City Waterpark renovation. Fortunately, the project has been deferred a couple of months, largely because of a dangerous conflict between pedestrians and bikes in the new design.There will be meetings with civic association members, along with others representing the pedestrian, cycling, and transportation commissions/committees.  It is hoped that the developer (JBG) and County Manager will include some changes for trees/green space. This case brings into focus concerns about “minor” site plan amendments creating major problems and the need for better outreach to citizens before plans are set in place. Many people who would ordinarily be part of a Site Plan Review Committee are not consulted for these “minor” amendments.

In this case the problems identified by the AHCA  include:

  • Significant tree loss and lack of green space
  • Expected loss of replacement trees without clear plans to assure longevity and health
  • Questionable choices of tree species given hot local conditions
  • Cumulative loss of trees in the area due to intensive development

You can read her full testimony here.  To tell the County Board your thoughts on this project and trees in general email them at countyboard@arlingtonva.us.

SUCCESSFUL DEMONSTRATION @ 2437 N. UTAH ST. – DONALDSON RUN

On February 8th, ATAG is organized a peaceful protest against the imminent cutting of a majestic willow oak tree (53 inches diameter) that is on a property being developed by a construction company.  Entreaties by neighbors and ATAG have fallen on deaf ears  Today’s action took place in the Donaldson Run neighborhood which still boasts a very healthy tree canopy, but is also suffering from rapid development that is felling our green giants!

Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG) is protesting the removal of several trees, but particularly a very large tree at 2347 N. Utah Street.   ATAG can document dozens of similar cases we have engaged on over the past two years, with only 2-3 trees saved out of dozens of cases; we are fed up that nothing ever changes and the county gives lip service to caring about the environment.

Arlington County is facilitating/encouraging development, without adequate tree protection rules.  The County has failed to aggressively advocate for state legislation that would give them more power to regulate tree loss. With land prices so high, speculative development is creating a huge tree loss due to accelerated construction in neighborhoods. The county has approved removing this willow oak even though we believe it could be saved as a new home is built.  ATAG and a nearby neighbor have lobbied the builder and the County.  Both say the tree cannot/will not be saved.

Let the County know how you feel about these developments by emailing them at CountyBoard@arlingtonva.us and the County Manager Mark Schwartz at mschwartz@arlingtonva.us