Can Decatur support historic trees and contemporary construction?

Last week the AJC wrote about Decatur’s revision of its 1988 tree ordinance, partly driven by the city’s loss of roughly 700 trees in the last 27 years.

But it was heavily influenced by the “infill” movement, where old homes are and replaced by much larger homes commonly called “McMansions,” whose builders are often accused of clear cutting healthy specimen trees.

India Woodson, Decatur’s first-ever full-time Landscape Infrastructure Coordinator — who spent the last 11 years as DeKalb County aborist — stated her firm belief that in a city wanting to maintain its urban forest while encouraging development, “trees and construction can and must co-exist.”

Here are some comments we received from readers:

“DeKalb County is going to suffer from not having a decent tree ordinance and the loss of our wonderful India Woodson, who no longer works for DeKalb County. For some odd reason, the county is more than happy to hand out permits and rezoning allowances to any and all developers. In 25 years, DeKalb County will look like [Los Angeles] — barren, hot and dry. We need better tree protection in the county. Maybe they need to watch and see what the city of Decatur has done and take notes.”

— Oakgrove1479 via

“I always thought it was a bad idea to take out all of the beautiful old trees when building new subdivisions. The replacement trees never look as nice.”

— MyThreeCents via

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