Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says she thinks Evanston should revise its tree preservation ordinance.

The existing ordinance is only a paragraph long and calls for preserving trees affected by construction projects whenever possible, and if not that healthy ones should be relocated on the construction site.

Fiske had much lengthier ordinances from Bannockburn and Deerfield — running 14 and 16 pages respectively — distributed to aldermen at Tuesday’s Human Services Committee meeting.

She suggested that  now, when not much development is happening in town, would be a good time to beef up the ordinance.

“Perhaps we haven’t done as good a job as we could to protect the natural resources of our trees,” Fiske said.

She suggested that developers should be required to replant trees and reimburse the city for the loss of tree cover on development sites.

But Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, said she had questions about a new tree ordinance much the same as she had with proposed regulations of chickens in the city.

“What will it mean for staff time?” Grover asked. “And as a practical matter, how many permits for tree removal might have to be issued?”

The committee members took no action on the proposal but agreed to discuss it further at their next meeting on Monday, Oct. 4.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. There are no more worlds to conquer!

    She suggested that now, when not much development is happening in town, would be a good time to beef up the ordinance. 

    Poor NIMBYs.  They don’t have any development projects to oppose.  No towers to complain about, no group homes being restaurants asking for sidewalk cafes..even Northwestern unloaded the Chuckie Dawes McMansion on the Historical Center, so they can’t spend their time fighting Northwestern.

    This brings to mind the legend of Alexander the Great, who is reputed to have wept and said "There are no more worlds to conquer!"  (whether it was because his father Philip of Macedon had conquered much leaving no more for little Alex , or because Alexander himself  reached the end of his known world.. it is not clear).

    So now the NIMBYs have what they want:  the economy is at a standstill,  construction isn’t happening, stores are shutting down.  National chains?  No…just shabby empty storefronts!  

    Yet the NIMBYs are still unhappy.  No more worlds to conquer.  What is there to do?  No more meetings , no more lawn signs, no more "Save Evanston..stop whatever" buttons.    They could go down to Chicago and fight the new Wal~Marts…..but that would involve a trip to Chicago, which they hate. 

    So to fill the void…we must pass new ordinances.  I guess it keeps the NIMBYs off the streets at night.

  2. Private property rights are sacred, not trees

    The Founding Father’s believed that the essential part of a free society is private ownership of land.  Alderman Fiske feels no compunction to compel proprerty owners on what they can and cannot do to their own trees and to add new costs to developers who are trying to improve a vacant lot or replace a tear-down home with a better one or prevent a homeowner from a needed home addition because a tree might be removed.

    Sadly, the Evanston City Council and many Evanstonians believe that property rights take a back seat to the "esthetic" of the neighborhood.  As reported in the Evanston Rountable on 7/12/2010 this quote says it all:

    Dan Garrison of the Evanston Preservation League then asked the committee to consider adopting a tree protection ordinance. "It should not be an absolute right of a property owner to dispose of a tree on private property," he said. Ald. Fiske said she agreed, citing an incident in Lake Forest in which actor Mr. T removed all the trees from his property. A draft ordinance may be coming soon.

    Can the Evanston City Council focus on cutting the spending and at least try to hold the ine on taxes instead of burdening its citizens and developers with new laws.

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