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Berkeley Lake considering tree ordinance

BERKELEY LAKE -- Councilwoman Rebecca Spitler shared the results of an almost yearlong tree study done in Berkeley Lake Thursday night, the results of which were published with the Georgia Forestry Commission at the end of August.

Spitler obtained the urban and community forest grant for the city with the understanding that the funds would be used for tree inventories, educational initiatives and tree ordinance creation or review. Grant application must be done every year by urban communities seeking funds for such projects.

A street tree inventory in the city counted 1,006 trees in city rights-of-way, 47 varieties and an estimated $2.3 million replacement cost. A greenspace tree inventory, done by random selection of 20 plots in the greenspace, resulted in an estimated count of 48,480 trees, or about 673 trees per acre. The replacement cost of those trees is estimated to be $5.2 million.

"Our greenspace is well stocked with a diversity of species," said Spitler, adding that the larger the leaves on a tree, the more pollutants that tree can remove from the air.

Educational events in the city included a city Hall Grand Opening ceremony in which residents were given brochures with facts about trees, and a tree was planted for Arbor Day 2009. In April of this year, two more trees were planted for Arbor Day 2010.

A revised tree ordinance will be placed on second read in October, with adoption of the revised ordinance possible at that council meeting. According to Spitler, dozens of hours of work and review have gone into the amended ordinance, with the city's Planning and Zoning Board, the Berkeley Lake Conservancy, city attorney Dick Carothers and deputy city administrator Leigh Threadgill.

Crime Prevention

Town Hall meeting

Many residents turned out Thursday for a crime Prevention Seminar hosted by Berkeley Lake for the benefit of residents. Gwinnett County police officers and Plaza Security officers were on hand to talk to residents about proactive and preventative measures they can take to protect their homes as well as their neighbors'.

Major H.B. Hulsey told residents that looking out for unusual happenings in their community is a valuable measure in spotting criminals before they strike.

"If you see a car that's not supposed to be there, or if you notice something that just doesn't look right, call us," said Hulsey.