ACE Committee Branches Out
By Jennifer Bacchus
News Staff Writer
|The ACE committee is working on a law to preserve
the old trees in Jacksonville and encourage the planting of new ones. Photo:
Jacksonville’s Alabama Community of Excellence program has begun to branch out –
literally. A subcommittee has been formed from the ACE Quality of Life committee
to look at a tree ordinance for the city of Jacksonville.
Consisting of developers, business people, forestry specialists, and people
who just have an interest in keeping Jacksonville as green as possible, the
committee plans to be short-lived, only meeting a few times, and they hope their
end result will be a workable tree ordinance to present to the city council.
Though the group has a wealth of expertise in its members, they know the best
way to ensure a new law is not only enforceable, but one that will be obeyed is
to ask residents for advice.
So they are asking.
From now until March 26, surveys will be available at the public library, the
community center, the water department and other businesses in Jacksonville. It
will also be available on the ACE website at www.jacksonvilleace.com/tree_survey.htm.
An ordinance governing the landscaping of new businesses coming to town or
old businesses changing their parking lots is already in existence. Since the
committee sees that ordinance as a good start, they are hoping to just add to
“I noticed they were using the linear length, one tree per 50 feet, and some
other ordinances I’ve looked at talked about canopy cover as perhaps a better
way to get the results you’re looking for, which is to cool the place down,”
said Scott Beckett, a forestry expert and JSU math professor who is serving on
P.D. Pritchett, a local developer and member of the committee, warned the
group that any restrictions on privately owned residential property would be
difficult to enforce unless it is written into the covenants of any new
“It’s hard to tell somebody what they can do to a degree,” said Pritchett.
“It also has to be in their covenants and restrictions because once that
developer sells that lot to a homeowner, if they don’t have anything in their
covenants, then have no control. That homeowner could cut everything down if
they want to.”
Several members of the committee would like to see the creation of a tree
bank. This would work on the idea that a developer, homeowner or business could
pay the cost of replacement trees for any tree they cut down on their property.
This “bank” of trees would then be available for planting on public property.
Since the committee plans to be a short-lived entity, David Glass, the
committee head, has asked the Jacksonville Garden Club’s Green Team to help with
He would like them to serve as a resource for residents of the town, teaching
them how to plant and properly maintain their trees as well as create welcome
packages for anyone moving into the city, encouraging them to keep their trees
and offering help with landscaping their home.
Since the committee knows any new law they create and get passed through the
council will have little to no effect on current homes and businesses, they are
hoping to work through education to keep the trees already in Jacksonville and
encourage the safe planting of new trees.
Other suggestions made at the meeting include:
• Susan DiBiase encouraged the committee to include creation of green spaces
in their efforts, mentioning the city’s planned green space from the Chief
Ladiga Trail to City Park and other pieces of property she felt would work well
as small parks.
• Adrienne Veal recommended planting wildflowers in the median along Alabama
Highway 21 as a way to add color and beauty.
About Jennifer Bachus
Jennifer Bacchus is a staff writer at The Jacksonville
News. She can be reached at 256-435-5021 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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