The Atlanta Tree Conservation Commission met on 2/18. Attendees
included the Commission, a number of reporters and photographers, and
others including Mike Dobbins, Norman Koplon, Louie Reynaud (the
developer), Doug Dillard (the developer's attorney), and Susan Cita
(the developer's arborist), and NBCA's Sally Silver and Gordon Certain.
Mr. Dillard spoke to the Commission, saying that his party was there
to answer any questions. He also asked that the Tree Appeal hearing
be held earlier than the scheduled date of 3/17, given the time the
approval process had taken for his client. No extension was
Gordon Certain presented about a dozen 8.5" x 11" color photographs
of the cutting and it's aftermath to the Commission, so that those who
hadn't been to the site would understand what had happened.
Sally presented an eloquent summary of the outragous actions by the
developer and the lack of adequate coordination and enforcement action
by the City.
City Attorney Kendrick Smith rendered the opinion that the developer
had clearly cleared trees within the permit's 15 day waiting period.
Norman Koplon, Acting Commissioner of Public Works and the Director of
the Bureau of Buildings, arrived late and made a very decisive
statement: that by the end of the day (2/18), he would REVOKE ALL
PERMITS associated with the Peachtree Gardens subdivision.
"Stop-work" orders were posted on the site late that
Koplon said that his reasons were that the following provisions of the
permit had been intentionally violated by the developer:
1.) All trees to be preserved were to be clearly marked,
2.) A pre-cutting conference, involving the City Arborist, the developer,
and the developer's arborist would be held to ensure that only
approved trees would be removed.
Koplon's rationale for revocation of the site's permits is based on
the willful violation of these provisions, which Koplon said he and
Mr. Reynaud had personally agreed. (He did not cite the 15 day wording
or the pending appeal.)
The developer may appeal Koplon's decision to the City Council's
Board of Zoning Adjustment (date/time: tbd). If the BZA rejects the
appeal, the developer can be appeal to Superior Court.
Unlike as we reported in our NBCA email of 2/18, the revokation affected
only the site's building permits. The subdivision plan is unaffected and was
the subject of a proposed ordinance, discussed in the Zoning Committee's
meeting on 2/23. The committee decided to not vote on the ordinance until
it could discuss its implications further.
The March 17 Tree Conservation Commission Appeal Hearing will not occur
as scheduled , if at all.
The City Arborist is assigned responsibility for citations for
violations of the Tree Ordinance. She is to determine if there is to be
additional punishment for those involved (the land owner, the tree service,
and/or the developer.)
We will let you know about additional developments -- Channels 2 and 11
ran reports of the situation. The Atlanta Constitution's Friday 2/19
edition has a story about the revocation on page C3.
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