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Aurora seeking to handle task of planting street trees

by BOB GAETJENS | REPORTER Published: September 28, 2016 1:00 AM
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Aurora -- Picking the right tree for a given site can be tricky, and sometimes developers don't get it right, said Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin.

A proposed ordinance would enable the city to take over treescaping from developers without incurring the costs.

"Developers will pay money into the [Public Space Fund] so the city can plant appropriate trees," she said. "We have so many problems where the wrong type of tree was planted years ago."

The measure would require developers to pay $10 per linear foot of road frontage, which would be used to pay for trees. The length would include sideyards on corner lots.

At City Council's Aug. 17 meeting, Councilman Jim Vaca noted the proposed law would conclude two years of work, which he said he supports.

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The law would cover street trees, tree lawns and cul-de-sac islands.

A second ordinance adds a subsection, defining how the money can be used, to the city's law on fees, deposits and guarantees.

"This fund shall be used for the purpose of planting approved trees in tree lawns and for accessory materials to be utilized in the planting of such trees," reads the proposed subsection.

Womer Benjamin said a variety of problems have beset existing trees, including root systems that have heaved up sidewalks, making them uneven. Other trees died soon.

"Since we have an arborist who knows what's appropriate and what isn't, we have the ability to decide what's appropriate to plant and what isn't," she said.

A public hearing on the proposed ordinances is set for Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. in town Hall. If approved by Council, the laws would take effect 30 days later.

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4188

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