Members of the Columbia County Tree Ordinance Advisory Committee met Monday evening, but put off reviewing the draft ordinance to hear recommendations from experts.
Roger Davis, a landscape architect, was involved in the formation of Richmond County's tree ordinance and works with it regularly. He highly recommended the committee assign a purpose for the Columbia County tree ordinance, which will help develop its contents.
Davis suggested the ordinance address several possible purposes including aesthetic qualities, tree preservation, heat abatement, noise, prevention of soil erosion and glare.
Davis told the committee that the county's first ordinance may need some adjustments but that is normal.
"You are going to create an ordinance and when everybody has a chance to kick the tires, you will change it," Davis said. "You will want to tweak it when you see it is not doing what you wanted it to."
Davis also helped the committee get an idea of exactly how many tree diameter or caliper inches is appropriate, logical and workable per acre.
Commission chairman-elect, Ron Cross, gave out photos of three sites in Columbia County that are aesthetically pleasing with information about the site size and tree count.
"Look at situations that work and see why they work," Cross said.
The committee also heard from Jody Camack, who is in charge of outdoor lighting for Georgia Power Co., who stressed the incorporation of an outdoor lighting plan into the landscape plan.
"My goal is to provide the best lighting we can for our customers and security to our wives and children as they go out shopping," Camack said.
However, light poles and trees do not always mesh well on a site plan, so it is important to incorporate the lighting plan into the site before the landscaping is approved, he said. Once landscaping is planted, it is difficult to move a tree or add lighting without using cluttering and visually unappealing light poles in concrete bases.
The meeting drew about 20 county residents including Dr. Judy Gordon, a botanist from Augusta State University, and Sam Booher and Gwen Wood, of the county's Greenspace Committee. The main concern of the audience was the effects of clear-cutting on water run-off, which contaminates nearby waterways and can destroy wildlife.
Booher, speaking for the Greenspace Committee, asked that reiteration of the state law regarding required undisturbed areas around waterways, buffer zones, be included in the tree ordinance as an extra reminder.
Another repeated concern was the clear-cutting done by developers on mainly residential property. The ordinance draft, as written, only applies to about five percent of the county excluding agricultural and single and double family residences.
The committee will consider all the suggestions they heard from audience members and presenters and complete the review of the draft ordinance at the next meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 14.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.