A Public Hearing on proposed changes to the Somerville Zoning Ordinance to regulate the removal of significant trees from all private property, including residential, will be held by the City Council Land Use Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, March 12. The hearing will take place after 6 p.m., at City Hall, along with several other consecutive hearings. Members of the public may speak at the hearing or submit written testimony to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Council-proposed amendment sponsored by Ward 5 Councilor Mark Niedergang, Ward 2 Councilor J.T. Scott, and Council President Katjana Ballantyne of Ward 7 aims to protect the mature urban forest.
Among other proposals, the draft ordinance would require a special permit application for removal of significant trees that would include “a plan drawn and stamped by a registered land surveyor or landscape architect showing all existing Significant Trees on the property,” a review of the permit by a Permit Granting Authority, and either a plan showing replanting of species-appropriate replacement trees or a payment in lieu of replanting to cover the costs of purchase, planting, and five years of maintenance of the equivalent caliper (diameter) of trees (e.g., a number of smaller trees to make up for removal of one large one). Hazardous trees would be exempt.