Please pardon the skepticism.
County officials the other day, in a Chronicle story, talked about the growing concern for maintaining larger trees in the middle of construction projects.
It's a good thought. But in practice? Not so much.
The county's community forester, Preston Duffie, correctly notes that "there's been some concern in the community about a lot of the mass grading going on, a lot of our big-box retail that's coming." To stem the loss of trees in the urban areas of the county, Duffie says the county will work closer with private engineers and developers to try to protect existing vegetation.
Sadly, the realities of large-scale development often doom every blade of grass on a site.
Take the new Marshall Square. On track to become a centerpiece of the Evans town center concept, the terrain of the property dictates a tremendous amount of grading to handle drainage issues as dictated by local and state laws.
Because the entire property has to be graded, every tree on the site is being pushed down and shredded. The same thing happened at the new Home Depot site, and before that, across Washington Road at Lowe's.
While developers often would love to be able to keep large trees, the reshaping of terrain often makes that all but impossible.
New commercial projects, pushed by the county's tree ordinance, are awash with small cookie-cutter oak trees planted to make up for the loss of mature specimens.
The good news is that, in a decade or so, all those newly planted trees will start to actually provide shade. The bad news is that we've already lost so much of the shade to start with.
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