Preserve Valdosta's Native Tree Canopy
Elected and Appointed Officials of Valdosta, Georgia, and Lowndes County, Georgia
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-significant strengthening and expanding of tree-protection requirements of city ordinances,
-greatly expanded enforcement of the Tree Ordinance and other related ordinances,
-existing tree survey and targeted protection as a top priority in the planning process, and
-adoption by county government of similar ordinances to those of the City of Valdosta.
Preservation of existing native trees, especially of specimen size and significant number, must be made a high-priority consideration by every deliberating board that makes decisions about both private and public land use (including Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals) and every municipal agency or department that issues private permits or is involved in public works. This must be an integrated effort supported and promulgated from the highest levels of local government and enforced strictly and uniformly. We desire that our community by its very appearance, in both established and newly developed areas, regardless of zoning designation, be immediately identifiable to visitors, as truly a "Tree City," much like Tallahassee, Florida is today.
We will go further and pledge to preserve and enhance native trees on our own properties and urge that all our neighbors do likewise. The actions of each of us affect the neighborhood and the whole community. Only by making this pledge of solidarity will we succeed in preserving Valdosta's natural heritage for generations to come. We believe that many more of Valdosta's citizens will support our position than that of the small but often vocal opposition. Our elected officials need to listen to us.
There is enlightened self-interest for all of us in the preservation of our existing native tree canopy, not only because it beautifies our community, but also because it:
-moderates extremes of temperature and wind,
-provides shade that conserves energy and water use,
-provides habitat for a diversity of native birds, and
-can greatly diminish the runoff of storm drainage and thereby
ease our flooding problems.