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‘Tree topping’ banned by Farragut planning commission


Most tree topping in Farragut will be banned or seriously restricted.

By unanimous vote (9-0), Farragut Municipal Planning Commission voted to ban tree topping in the town of Farragut after hearing a recommendation from Mark Shipley, town development coordinator.


“Although we haven’t had a proliferation [of topping] we have had some,” said Shipley during FMPC’s monthly meeting, Thursday, May 15, in Town Hall. “Probably the reason it’s not in our current landscaping requirements, I didn’t think it would ever, really be a problem.”

Shipley defined topping as “crew-cutting a tree. … Without regard to the structure of the tree.”

In addition to unbecoming appearance and possibly killing a tree, topping problems also include “little off-shoots coming out of the stubs” that “are a lot more hazardous” because they are weaker and more likely to break, Shipley said.

Topping exceptions, Shipley said, would include trees under utility lines.

Otherwise, if a tree deemed a hazard must be removed, Shipley said the ordinance requires it must be replaced at a nearby location.

Moreover, Shipley said ordinance language further discourages tree removal/topping: “If you had an eight-inch caliber tree that you’ve removed, you’re going to have to add back four two-inch caliber trees.”

Shipley clarified that tree trimming, “to selectively remove limbs … basically still leave the natural form of the tree intact,” is still allowed. “If you do it properly you couldn’t ever tell it’s been trimmed.”

In other matters, the town unanimously passed:

• annual review of Bridgemore subdivision concept plan

• a site plan for picnic pavilion at Virtue Cumberland Presbyter-ian Church, 725 Virtue Road

• a site plan for room addition at Starting Points Daycare, 11749 Snyder Road

• a site plan for a swimming pool and pavilion in Sheffield Subdivision, 11938 Lake Hurst Lane, subject to complying with six Town staff recommended items

Commission also agreed in workshop to have staff draw up ordinance allowing Farragut Lawn and Tractor to change parking requirements for general farm implements and lawn care equipment outdoor display.

Proposed ordinance for such businesses — with specific sales specialty such as tractors-lawn equipment — would require one parking space for every 690 square feet of gross floor area.

Separate ordinance for businesses such as retail warehousing, machinery sales, retail building supplies, home improvement supercenters, retail construction supplies and other similar stores would remain one space per 400 square feet of gross floor area.

New ordinance is scheduled for final FMPC vote at June 19 meeting.

 

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