Decatur commission split on moratorium vote

After a long meeting before a packed City Hall of roughly 120 spectators Monday night, the Decatur Commission wound up divided over two proposed moratoriums.

The commission voted unanimously (4-0, with Commissioner Scott Drake recusing himself) on a 90-day moratorium for large-tree removal – which includes healthy specimen trees more than 12 inches in diameter—as a part of construction or renovation. But the commission voted 3-2 against a moratorium on single-family residential structural demolition.

“At the end of 90 days [the commission] will have a proposed tree ordinance to vote on,” said City Manager Peggy Merriss. “But that won’t be the case with demolitions.

“For years we’ve agreed the city has a problem when it comes to small-home demolitions and in-fills, but there’s never been significant agreement on any solutions,”she added. “I think what the commission was saying – and I don’t have a vote – is that at the end of 90 days, while we won’t have a proposed ordinance, we should have an array of solutions, for which a moratorium wasn’t needed.”