Denton is asking residents to brainstorm ideas that could help reverse the shrinking canopy of trees in the city.
Residents have about 10 more days to participate in the survey on the website, EngageDenton.com, which has drawn about 240 readers and about 14 ideas so far.
City leaders have revisited an ordinance meant to preserve the city’s trees off and on since 2007, when it became clear that it favored mitigation over preservation. An urban forester recently told the City Council that the canopy has shrunk further since the city commissioned a survey.
About 17 percent of the city enjoys a tree canopy, down from 19 percent surveyed in 2010. Through its sustain ability plan, Denton has set a goal of canopy of 30 percent to 35percent. Tree canopy contributes not only cooling shade but also helps to control storm water runoff, improve air quality and protect property values.
On the website, some residents aren’t mincing words, complaining that developers clear property of trees in order build their projects. Paying into a tree fund to plant new trees doesn’t help when so many old-growth trees are cut down, one resident wrote.
As Denton’s canopy has shrunk, the city’s tree fund has grown to more than $1.1 million.
Even the city has been clearing trees, or is expected to clear trees, with the many large public works projects under way, which has some residents concerned.
Amos Magliocco watched many trees come down in his neighborhood on the northeast side as the city made improvements to a sewer line there. Jack Parkes, who is embroiled in eminent domain proceedings, points to a large pecan grove lining a creek through his land that is likely threatened by the expansion of South Bonnie Brae Street.
Kevin Vance said he remains concerned about the many old-growth trees along Mills Road as traffic increases.
Residents are offering creative ideas that include various kinds of credit for planting trees or maintaining trees for large landowners and businesses and distributing trees to homeowners. One resident said the tree fund could go further if the city gets volunteers to help plant the trees.
To offer ideas, or vote for the ideas offered, visit www.engagedenton.com.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.