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Tree Save Petition for Avondale East development

This petition had 1,449 supporters

To: The Office of Dekalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, Super District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon, Davis Fox, Policy and Projects Manager for Commissioner Gannon, District 4 Commissioner Steve Bradshaw, Alesia Brooks, Chief of Staff to Commisioner Bradshaw

Petition to save at least 44 specimen trees in the Avondale/Rockbridge community of Dekalb County, GA.

The developer Rockbridge Residential Holdings, LLC (or SEC Development) plans to build 58 single detached houses on 17.1 acres of heavily wooded land in  unincorporated Dekalb County, just outside the City of Avondale Estates. The proposed development borders Rockbridge Rd., beginning at Third Ave. and continuing to about where Old Rockbridge Rd. intersects Rockbridge.

Save the Trees

"Urban forests are an integral part of community ecosystems, whose numerous elements (such as people, animals, buildings, infrastructure, water, and air) interact to significantly affect the quality of urban life." USDA Forest Service

Out of 900 trees counted on this property, the developer has promised to save THREE (3) trees. A weak Dekalb County Tree protection ordinance basically allows developers to clear-cut and mass grade our old growth urban forests. However, our community anchored by the Avondale/Rockbridge Civic Alliance (ARCA) is willing to compromise, so we're asking the developer to save FORTY-FOUR (44) of these historic trees.

It will be unconscionable if the majority of these mature, historic and grand trees are bulldozed down and chipped up. Trees slow traffic and reduce crashes by 5 to 20%, reduce asthma health impacts, and increase neighboring home value by $15-20,000, among many other beneficial effects.

  • The community won't ever benefit from losing these trees, either through recompense to the county, or by a "tree bank" on government property where the trees won't even be planted in our community. Smaller trees will be planted, but this solution will never replace mature trees and the soil beneath them. Their ability to absorb stormwater runoff and to control erosion is remarkable.
  • A single, older oak can consume over 40,000 gallons of water per year. A neighborhood's leafy tree canopy can intercept rainfall and prevent soil infiltration, which without them contributes to flooding of our streets and basements during rainy seasons.
  • This is a heavily forested environment under threat to be turned into an impervious surface equivalent to a brick desert. The cost for future stormwater management and sewer system infrastructure may be enormous without those trees. However, the developer won't be paying the costs, the county and taxpayers will be footing that bill.
  • The southern portion of this site has such extreme slopes that heavy rains flood Old Rockbridge Rd., making it impassable. Once the majority of those large tree roots and friable soil are gone, the erosion and runoff will only increase by a substantial magnitude.
  • The immediate area is an elementary school district and schoolbuses will be running along Old Rockbridge, using 2 public streets proposed in the development as egress to Rockbridge Rd. Ivy Hill subdivision lies just downhill of the area and already experiences massive runoff. One can only imagine the mess that will ensue once these 17 acres are essentially clear-cut.

Clear-Cutting should be stopped in residential areas

  • The irony of allowing clear-cutting for development is that leaving a few large and mature trees on site can better manage runoff from grading than installing either above or below ground detention ponds, which can exacerbate runoff to adjacent properties and to those downhill.
  • We know now that extreme weather will play a role in our immediate ecosystem. Continuing to remove our remaining large trees will only prove more expensive for taxpayers and municipalities alike, as they struggle to manage heavier stormwater events on a regular basis.
  • Leaving swaths of trees along low spots and gullies and giving incentives to developers such as stormwater credits could serve to save the county money in the long-term while benefiting the community and enhancing the value of property. It's a win-win for developer and the county.
  • Atlanta has been losing more and more tree canopy to residential development, but it doesn't have to be this way. More progressive counties and cities already have these incentives in place, why can't we?

Respect the History

  • This historic neighborhood was developed in 1917 in anticipation of several factories and mills built in the area at the time. An ad of the era promises a "fine grove" surrounding the lots that would be sold.
  • As the area has been late to attract development, so the trees have grown into magnificent, +200-400 year old specimens that enhance the aesthetics of our community, while providing energy savings in lowering heat indexes, absorbing pollutants and carbon monoxide and conserving water and runoff.

Please sign this petition and urge our local officials and Dekalb's CEO Michael Thurmond to enforce and revise the Dekalb County tree protection ordinance and protect our area's incredibly diversified urban forests.


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Victoria Webb needs your help with “To Dekalb County CEO and Commissioners: Tree Save Petition for Avondale East development”. Join Victoria and 1,448 supporters today.