Newton Looking To Update Tree Protection Ordinance

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NEWTON, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The City of Newton is seeking to expand its ordinance protecting its trees.

Newton's Tree Preservation Ordinance was put in place in 1999 to protect the city's trees on both public and private property. It requires trees removed by construction and development activity to be replaced.

Officials want to update the ordinance to put greater emphasis on saving trees instead of cutting them down.

Newton Director of Urban Forestry Marc Welch told WBZ NewsRadio that the updated ordinance would encourage "anyone doing these projects to have thoughtful dialogue of what they're doing, and really try to save the trees rather than just automatically cut them down because it's easier. And to do that, we're adding language that encourages them to work with qualified and certified arborists that can help guide the project right from the beginning."

The updated ordinance would also ensure that trees that are cut down are replaced by trees of similar size. This would put, as Welch told WBZ, "more value on the larger trees."

"Right now a tree that's eight inches in diameter has the same replacement value, so to speak, as a tree that's 30 inches in diameter," said Welch. "We replace them for what we call inch-for-inch, so for every diameter inch that's cut, a diameter inch is replaced."

WBZ's Karyn Regal (@KarynRegal) reports.

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