Citizen complaints, government action stop tree cutting along busy traffic corridor
About seven months after a contractor cut more trees than a permit allowed, a local business, the city of Columbus and the state have agreed on a $75,000 remediation plan to replace hundreds of trees along J.R. Allen Parkway and Columbus Park Crossing.
City attorney Clifton Fay said an agreement was reached in October with the J&P Family Partnership, the Consolidated Government and the Georgia Department of Transportation. More than 200 trees were cut in June after a permit was issued to James “Jay” Stelzenmuller.
“This has been a work in progress since last summer,” Fay said Thursday. “We finally got the remediation plan on paper in October and they were waiting on the planting season to get here to start replanting.”
Under the agreement, $23,900 will go toward the Tree Save Area on private property and another $51,100 is spent on the public right of way for the Tree Replacement Fund, totaling $75,000.
All the money is coming from J&P Family Partnership, Fay said. On the private property, the planting will center on an area behind the former H.H. Gregg at 6499 Whittlesey Blvd. in Columbus Park Crossing and a natural buffer along the J.R. Allen Parkway.
On property behind the business, there will be 150 evergreen shrubs planted to meet the requirements of the city’s Unified Development Ordinance. The right of way along J.R. Allen will be filled with 75 loblolly pine trees, 12 maple trees and 20 wax myrtle shrubs as a screen between the building and right of way.
“It will look like a natural buffer area once it’s all planted and starts growing,” the city attorney said.
Eric Gansauer, a city arborist, is overseeing the replanting project. Crews from A Cut Above Landscape Management were replanting loblolly pines and maples along the parkway last week.
All trees and shrubs should be completed by the end of this month, said Pat Biegler, director of Public Works for the Consolidated Government.
Fay said the error or omission was made by the contractor who went beyond the scope of the permit. Many of the new trees are going right beside the stumps scattered along the right of way.
“The city, the Department of Transportation and J&P Family Partnership are all pleased with the outcome and eager to see the replanting flourish,” Fay said.
J&P Family Partnership couldn’t be reached for comment on the tree planting agreement.
If you’ve seen something that needs attention, give me a call at 706-571-8576.