Council calls for sturdier tree ordinance

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — City Councilman Ned Apigian said seeing five old trees being cut down in the city’s Military Hills subdivision without permits led him to call for strengthening the city’s tree protection ordinance.

“One of the homeowners decided to cut down five legacy trees, which take three lifetimes to grow,” Apigian said at the council’s Aug. 11 meeting. “Something needs to be done about this.”

The city’s tree protection ordinance says that no person shall remove a tree or trees or cause a tree to be removed in the city without a tree permit issued by the Public Works Department.

It also states that a permit is required for the removal, relocation or destruction of any tree as well as the construction of any structure, the depositing of any materials, land clearing, grubbing, or grading within the drip line of any protected tree.

“Maybe citizen concern can bring pressure on this council to make some action to fix parts of the existing ordinance which is not worth the paper its written on because it doesn’t seem to do any good,” Apigian said.

Councilman Joseph Kosinski also agreed with Apigian on the issue.

“I support what Councilman Apigian is suggesting,” Kosinski said. “I think the great difficulty is not so much the ordinance, but that there is a flurry of activity not only in tree cutting but other activities that sidestep the requirements of permits.

Kosinski suggested adding staff to be on call from Thursday evenings to Monday mornings to report the activities that are performed without permit.

Apigian plans to organize a meeting at Caroline Kennedy Library within the next couple of weeks.

“Hopefully I can get a couple of homeowners’ associations to be interested,” he said.

Military Hills Homeowners Association officials also voiced their concern to Apigian.

“I’m going to begin with the Military Hills Homeowners Association because they’re the ones that seemed to be so concerned about it,” he said. “They talked to me about it personally and maybe we can get the ball rolling and solve this problem.”

Those concerned about the tree cutting ordinance can call Apigian at 313-585-6500 to leave a message for a notification when the public meeting is scheduled.

“I’ve talked about it before so I am going to ask people who are concerned about this subject contact me,” Apigan said.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at