After being named Tree City USA for the 36th year in a row, the city of Delaware will observe Arbor Day in conjunction with the Delaware Community Center YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day event.
Members of the Delaware Shade Tree Commission and city staff will plant a tree at the YMCA, 1121 S. Houk Road, during the nonprofit’s event, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. April 29.
The commission and the YMCA conducted their events together last year, which attracted 500 to 600 people.
Observing Arbor Day, which is officially the last Friday of April in Ohio, is a required to be designated a Tree City by the Nebraska-based Arbor Day Foundation. Other standards are maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry.
More than 3,400 communities have made a similar commitment.
Also, the commission officially recommended updates for the city’s tree bank fund.
The proposed changes would clarify the appropriate use of the city’s tree bank fund in codified ordinance section 1168.07. It would allow the funds to be used for the planting and installation of trees on public property at any location within the city, including the right-of-way. The city would be able to use the funds to purchase, transport, mulch, water and for the labor of the replacement trees for up to one year from the planting date.
At the last meeting, the commission recommended that 25 percent of the fund’s beginning balance for each year remain. But city staff said it was a budget-related issue that needed to be addressed by the appropriate boards and City Council.
The fund is one of three options, which can be used in combination, for developers or property owners who are required to replace trees in order to maintain an equivalent tree canopy citywide before and after removal/construction.
Developers and property owners can continue to replant at least half the required replacement trees in another location on site. But the remaining balance must be met by planting replacements at a designated tree bank site or to pay a fee, no less than $100 per caliper inch of the required replacements to the fund, in lieu of replanting.
The changes would clarify that the city has the sole discretion to determine if there is an acceptable site to accommodate the tree bank site option. Public sites are preferred but the city may designate a private site and preserved via covenants or easements.
The codified section would continue to require replacement trees to have a minimum caliper of 1.75 inches and a clear trunk height of at least six feet.
The proposed updates to the tree bank fund were considered by Delaware Planning Commission at Wednesday’s night meeting. Results were not available at press time.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.