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Examples would include when a tree blocks a view of the property owner but said tree also is a beloved community tree or when a city wants to encourage trees for their social benefits but in doing so prevents the land owner from extracting the short term financial use of the land.  This is a question with broad implications, but don’t over think it.  What comes to mind for you?

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  • Okay, one last time (here) ... the United States is not a democracy (wisely, I think); it was (purposely) established as a constitutional republic after much consideration by the framers of the Constitution. A republic honors the rights of the individual, not the "common good" (whatever that might be construed to be by the folks who hold power at any given time).

    At the federal level, additional rules, ordinances, and laws are not necessary "... to maintain a comprehensive, defined, and orderly process of governmental administration..."; that's what the Constitution already does (if not ignored or circumvented). And, since state and local laws cannot legally abrogate the provisions of the Constitution, those entities would be wise to adopt the same form and function in their rules, ordinances, and laws to avoid being declared un-Constitutional.

    The "common good" often does not benefit any individual (except the ones deciding what the "common good" should be), but if each individual is allowed maximum freedom to decide for himself, hasn't the good of all been best served?

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    In a democray such as ours, the driving force must be the common good, not the individual benefit.

    The government collects income taxes - among other forms of taxation - to fund those functional aspects of government that have been determined to be for the "common good". We collecitve contribute - make a financial sacrifice - for the well-being of the greater community.

    The aesthetic and functional value of trees should be considered in the same light: a determination of what is in the "common good". In valuing any tree, the basic characteristics are self-evident: habitat value, reduction of heat load; stabilization soil and prevention of erosion; absorbtion of carbon dioxide; generation of oxygen; provision of shade; supply of nectar; wind (and storm) protection; production of food; source of fuel; and the like. But, beyond these are other, intrinsic values - beauty; color; majesty and regal stature; unique form and shape; canopy density; foliar color (and seasonal change); flowers; and the like.

    Rules, ordinances, and laws are established to maintain a comprehensive, defined, and orderly process of governmental administration and - within this process - the needs and wishes of the majority - should prevail.

     

    Ted Baker, FASLA

    Landscape Architect

     

  • I very much agree! I could build a gazebo myself,and I would cosider my tree to be an asset to the gazebo,so I hope my neighbor would also. Cheers to your "beloved maple"!I currently have a grape arbor under my pecan tree. The grapes are growing great!
     
    Dave Coulter said:

    After too many examples over too many years I've decided that education is the only answer. 

    We humans are very industrious when it comes to bypassing laws or ordinances - even when they're for our own good. Trees are no different. The beloved maple in my yard becomes a nuisance when the next owner wants that new gazebo.  We have to educate people and appeal to their sense of stewardship.  We also have to recognize that a percentage of people won't ever care.  

  • We Need to rely more on Great Arborists to help with this process! Many have experience with this type of senario.

    Neil Norton said:

    As flawed as Tree Ordinances can be, they often mitigate the area of difference. The issue with tree ordinances is that often impose generalities and hard rules when on the ground observation and flexibility are needed.  So in additional to education, I will add Tree Ordinances and trained tree staff to help smooth out the edges and enforce. 

  • I guess the question then would be, are trees like water or land?  While water might exist on property, owners are regulated to what they can do as it impacts property rights downstream.  Similarly, trees can impact both your adjacent neighbors and perhaps to a lesser degree your community.
     
    Jim Fleming said:

    " ... owner property rights should not be sacrificed..."   Period. The greatest good is ultimately served by honoring and protecting individual rights. It's the basis for our form of government - though increasingly ignored as time passes, seems to me.

  • " ... owner property rights should not be sacrificed..."   Period. The greatest good is ultimately served by honoring and protecting individual rights. It's the basis for our form of government - though increasingly ignored as time passes, seems to me.

  • The first thing that comes to my mind is the conflict between trees and solar panels. People are being told to remove large trees from their own properties because they interfere with the performance of their neighbor's new solar panels. also, the panels limit the use of canopy trees on the side of the bulidng where large trees are needed most. Trees and owner property rights should not be sacrificed to support a technology that has not even reached the Model T stage yet. A speaker on solar energy at the Arbor Day Conference in Orlando in 2011 pretty much poo-pooed the idea of solar farms and using the exiting transmission lines to move the power. He also inferred that trees would have to ride in the back of the bus in deference to solar energy.

  • Compromise

  • The tree is simply an improvement on real estate, just like a fence or a driveway. Reducing the various environmental, social, and architectural factors down to a dollars & cents number can clarify a complex situation.

     

  • As flawed as Tree Ordinances can be, they often mitigate the area of difference. The issue with tree ordinances is that often impose generalities and hard rules when on the ground observation and flexibility are needed.  So in additional to education, I will add Tree Ordinances and trained tree staff to help smooth out the edges and enforce. 

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