Tree commission clarifies removal rules

Marietta Tree Commission clarified Tuesday the process residents across the city can use when faced with what many have called a nuisance.

Tree Commission member Grady Smith explained to Fourth Ward Councilman Geoff Schenkel at the meeting that in the last year the city’s policy on gum trees has changed.

“The city has wanted to divest themselves of the gum trees and there’s a reason for that and a reason why we don’t plant them anymore,” said Smith near the close of the commission meeting.

He explained to Schenkel that the city used to require a payback of sorts, to acknowledge the time and investment made in trees in city right of way, but gum trees have caused a continuous issue for pedestrians.

Now, payment is only required in the removal of the tree.

Cheyenne Oaks, secretary to the mayor and keeping minutes at the commission meeting, further explained the process residents can take.

“First you would have the residents or other interested parties wanting to have a tree removed figure out who is willing to do the removal and how/if it would be paid for by them,” explained Oaks, noting AEP, Blacks Tree Service and two other companies could be used to remove the trees. “When you fill out the application for tree removal then give that to me and I send that to the commission for approval.”

Schenkel said four trees on Maple Street in the right of way and under power and phone lines fall under the gum ball policy and wanted to know the best avenues for removal, including coordination with phone, power and private companies and nonprofit fundraising.

“We have intersecting jurisdictions between the Open Door Baptist Church, the Harmar Bridge Company, city right of way and sidewalks being disrupted by tree roots,” he explained. “So I want to know which direction to give as these groups to organize.”

The commission also discussed planning for downtown tree planting around sidewalks and preferred types of trees, considering Kentucky Coffee, Honey Locust, Regal Prince and other streetscape columnar trees which would fit well in tree pits surrounded by concrete and asphalt.

Commission member Ellie LaFollette also reported the recent deaths of two blue spruce trees.

“They were green a couple of weeks ago,” she noted of two trees in front of 617 Eighth St.

Grady Smith said he would investigate into the losses of the trees.