CORINTH — More than 40 residents from the Larkspur development in Corinth are expected to attend a public hearing this week to object to a developer’s plans to clear about 2,000 trees to make room for approximately 40 new homes.
The residents have voiced their concerns about the project before — after it was presented to the planning and zoning commission and City Council earlier this summer when the developer requested an ordinance variance on tree replacement.
The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Corinth City Hall, 3300 Corinth Parkway.
A representative with JBI Partners, the development company, told council members that they need to remove every tree located north of Lake Sharon Drive on the west side of Oakmont Drive.
Tom Juhn, with JBI Partners, said the tree removal is necessary to grade and develop the land so that it will drain properly.
Juhn approached the council in June to request a variance to a tree ordinance, which requires about 50 percent of the trees to be replaced.
“We would like to have relief from the tree ordinance to allow the mitigation to be less than the required ordinance of 50 percent of the trees,” he said.
City Council members said they believe the development is a good thing for the city because it means more growth and additional revenue.
But they said they are also concerned about what residents want.
“I am in favor of building what needs to be built and replacing trees with a reasonable number,” council member Lowell Johnson said.
Planning director Fred Gibbs said the council has a couple of options available in lieu of the tree replacement. He said one option is to collect a fee that the city can use at a later time to replant trees on city property.
The council will vote to either approve or deny amendments to the planned development ordinance. The developer has also submitted development amendments to the council that include changes in lot widths, home sizes and lot areas. The Larkspur development is in its second phase and developers are hoping to build approximately 40 homes in the area.
“I wish the trees could stay there,” council member Jim Mayfield said during a recent council meeting. “But I would like for the new homeowners to take the ball and run with it.”
During a recent planning and zoning meeting, Corinth residents said they feel that project is a bad idea. They told city officials that the development would would have a negative effect on property values and felt like the houses would not sell.
A few residents said they want buyers to make commitments before any trees are removed. They also said they would like more trees replaced.
Mayor Paul Ruggiere said he expects a larger-than-normal crowd Thursday night.
He said the residents in the neighborhood near the proposed development are upset by the potential loss of trees in the area.
“We want to make sure each voice is heard before making a decision,” he said.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.