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    HomeNewsWest Hollywood Approves Revised Comprehensive Landscape and Tree Canopy Standards

    West Hollywood Approves Revised Comprehensive Landscape and Tree Canopy Standards

    At a Regular West Hollywood City Council Meeting on Monday, December 18, 2023, the city council held a Public Hearing on Zone Text Amendment (ZTA), which aims at overhauling existing landscape standards and implementing new tree canopy requirements for privately-owned property. The proposed effort seeks to not only bolster tree preservation and replacement when necessary but also to establish a biodiverse and well-managed environmentally essential tree canopy.

    The key focus is on introducing updated and new objective standards to guide these crucial environmental initiatives.

    In tandem with these amendments, the city’s staff was looking into ongoing efforts to educate and raise awareness among residents, businesses, and the development community–an idea that Council member John Heilman did not agree with, saying education should be left to the experts. He emphasized the need for creative solutions beyond numerical targets. The ordinance specifically targets private property, aligning with the city’s commitment to open and green spaces and addressing climate action goals.

    The City Council’s consideration of this ambitious Zone Text Amendment underscores its commitment to fostering sustainable urban development and combating climate change. The proposed changes reflect a proactive approach to environmental management, emphasizing the significance of a diverse and well-maintained tree canopy in the urban landscape. As the city progresses with its Climate Action & Adaptation Plan, these amendments aim to set clear and objective standards, ensuring a harmonious balance between urban development and environmental preservation.

    The approval follows an extensive discussion led by key figures, including Jennifer Alkire, manager of the Current and Historic Preservation Planning Division, Rick Abramson, manager of the Urban Design and Architecture Studio, and Michael Barker, the city’s project architect overseeing capital program work.

    The initiative, stemming from a directive to amend City Zoning Laws, focuses on canopy tree replacement in existing developments and mandates new tree additions in areas lacking greenery. Flexibility in cases of hardship or physical constraints is a significant aspect, allowing alternatives for tree addition or replacement. The discussion highlithted the importance of trees in addressing climate change, air quality, and biodiversity. The proposal integrates data from Chapman University and Loyola Marymount University, highlighting areas with adequate and insufficient tree coverage.

    The broader ecological role of trees, including wildlife support and the importance of underground ecosystems, was discussed. The evolution of housing types and the challenge of balancing high-density housing with green spaces were reviewed. The three-year outreach and engagement efforts involved diverse voices, aiming to shape the proposal effectively. A notable reference was made to a recent study highlighting the health benefits of living near green spaces, reinforcing the importance of expanding green infrastructure in cities.

    During the discussion, concerns were raised about potential financial impacts and procedural timeframes. The discussion delved into comparisons with tree canopy policies in neighboring cities, emphasizing the need for clarity and objectivity in West Hollywood’s standards.

    The public comment segment featured residents expressing the practical benefits of trees, including shade, energy cost reduction, and aesthetic value. Personal anecdotes and studies supporting the correlation between green spaces and improved health were also shared by City residents.

    The council’s discussion covered potential conflicts between tree preservation and housing development. Councilmember Meister emphasized the urgency of saving trees for climate change mitigation, aligning with the city’s Vision 2020 and climate action plan. Concerns about potential hindrances to housing development were addressed.

    Council member Lauren Meister made a motion to move forward with the amendments with the agreement to make revisions to the ordinance’s language. Council member Heilman seconded the motion which passed unanimously, marking a significant step towards comprehensive landscape and tree canopy standards in West Hollywood.

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    Paulo Murillo
    Paulo Murillohttps://wehotimes.com
    Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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    Toms
    Toms
    Offline
    3 months ago

    The boredom and waste in city hall is Biblical. What’s all this costing?
    Money don’t grow on trees

    Kiss it
    Kiss it
    Offline
    3 months ago

    Wtf Does articles like 20 pages long about trees nobody in this town gives a crap about trees ! we just care when the bars open! Geeeez!

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