The city of Delaware’s Shade Tree Commission discussed Tuesday night whether Delaware City Schools took the right course of action to protect a so-called wetlands area.
Commission chairman Paul Olen said the school board took the best route to protect the area behind Dempsey Middle School with a simple resolution rather than pursuing a conservation easement, or a a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and government agency to permanently limit uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values.
“We agree that a resolution passed by the school board is the simplest way to offer some degree of protection from development to this area,” Olen said.
He said calling the area a wetlands is a misnomer but its a wooded area that teachers and students use for educational purposes. Teachers want the area to be called the Dempsey Land Lab, he said.
Olen said conservation easements are expensive and “just wouldn’t be the right legal term for this.”
Due to the district’s building expansion projects, the district had to remove several mature trees at various school locations, said district spokeswoman Jennifer Ruhe.
“While we planted smaller replacement trees at many of our sites, we also entered into an agreement to formally protect trees in our wetlands area to satisfy part of our obligation,” she said.
“On Oct. 3, the board of education approved the resolution to formally preserve all of the trees on approximately 1 acre of land at Dempsey Middle School.”
• The commission was informed that the city plans to plant 213 of the 293 trees that are backlogged this fall.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.