Tree committee gains greater role

Four citizen members of the city’s Street Tree Advisory Committee (STAC) successfully made their case Monday for greater recognition, more frequent meetings, and less city staff on the board.

Gina Burrell, Sally Ann Freeman, Robin Nadeau, and Chuck Lippi pleaded with commissioners to make STAC a commission – rather than a staff – advisory committee, create a landscape beautification subcommittee, and develop a five-year beautification plan for the city’s entrance corridors.

“We just don’t meet,” Lippi, a certified arborist, told commissioners, noting the committee’s last meeting was nine months ago.

City Chief Operations Officer John Regan responded, “Protecting our tree canopy is a core value of our community. But they’re not going to be able to work effectively as a Sunshine committee (if appointed by the commission).

The Aviles Street beautification plan recently announced is working because merchants and residents are able to meet individually at any time, without formal notice. We hope this will be a model for other neighborhoods to work on beautification projects.”

Regan said he’ll schedule a meeting of a revised STAC board for next week.

The Street Tree Advisory Committee was created as part of the Tree City USA program, appointed by Planning and Building Director Mark Knight.

In recent years, citizen members have been more active in strengthening the city’s tree code, while more staff members were added. Today there are five citizen and five staff members.

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