Saturday, February 13, 2010

Habitat for Humanity project violates tree protection zone, results in damage to protected tree; Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville Tomorrow News Center: Damaged tree on Paton Street sparks discussion of tree protection: The fate of a damaged oak tree in the city’s Fifeville neighborhood depends on a decision to be made by Jim Tolbert, the City’s Director of Neighborhood Development Services (NDS). Tolbert will have the final say on a site plan amendment that would permit a developer to not only remove the tree, but also expand the size of a building to be built on the property.
In October 2006, the Charlottesville Planning Commission approved a rezoning that allowed Habitat for Humanity to build up to 21 housing units in the city’s Fifeville Neighborhood. One of the conditions of the rezoning was that the oak tree be saved along with several others. Grading on the Paton Street site got underway at the beginning of the year.
Around the same time, Habitat came back to NDS to discuss a potential request to expand the footprint of the building by four feet. City Planner Ebony Walden told Habitat that the bigger building might cause the structure to come within the “drip line” of the protected oak, which could damage the tree.

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