City speaks out against axing tree ordinances - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

City speaks out against axing tree ordinances

The City of Tyler is knows for its trees. (Source: KLTV) The City of Tyler is knows for its trees. (Source: KLTV)
Governor Abbott wants to take away municipal tree regulations. (Source: KLTV) Governor Abbott wants to take away municipal tree regulations. (Source: KLTV)
Tyler catalogs the trees on its public land, documenting type, age and size. (Source: KLTV) Tyler catalogs the trees on its public land, documenting type, age and size. (Source: KLTV)
Tyler does not regulate what homeowners do with trees on their property, but it does regulate what developers do with trees. (Source: KLTV) Tyler does not regulate what homeowners do with trees on their property, but it does regulate what developers do with trees. (Source: KLTV)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

There's less than one month until the Texas Legislature convenes for a special session. One of the 20 items that Governor Abbott wants legislators to consider is doing away with local tree regulations.

The Governor says that doing away with tree regulations is a win for business and private property owners, but some local governments say it's a state overstep.

"Texas spent a lot of time over the last few years suing the federal government for interfering in state business," Tyler Tree Committee member Judith Guthrie said. "Now the state is saying, 'we're going to interfere with city business,' and I just find that ironic."

Tyler does not regulate what homeowners do with trees on their property, but the city does regulate what developers can do.

"If they clear a piece of property, they have to plant more trees," Tyler's Arborist Cody Goldman said.

If a developer tears out trees during construction, they're required to re-plant some when they're finished. It's one the city's ordinances that helped get its Tree City USA designation.

"I was raised in Arizona where there were no trees," Guthrie said. "What we really don't want to happen is to have someone scrape up a beautiful piece of wooded land and put a for sale sign in the middle of it."

She also says eliminating local control over trees is strange, considering there are so many different ecosystems in Texas.

"McKinney is completely different than Tyler," she said. "We like to take care of our own problems. And if people in Tyler have a problem with out ordinances, they let it be known."

She's worried that without the option for local control, local trees and voices could lose their roots.

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