Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wednesday + You = Tree Code Revisions

Trees, Trees, Trees

No matter how you feel about trees - love 'em but hate raking the leaves; love the flowers in the spring, but not so many they block out the light; love the big ones but not inches away from your house  -  

Or you are concerned about your property rights, you need to attend

  the PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE for the
Wednesday, April 27
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
City Council Chambers

to learn about the work of the Ad-Hoc Tree Code Committee.   

The main questions are:  

  • Are you responsible enough to take care of your own property? 
  • Under what circumstances does the government have the right to take away your right to control what you do on your property? 

The Open House will give you a rare opportunity to interact with committee members and make suggestions before the final draft code is sent to the City Council for changes and adoption.  The last couple of code change projects did not have public input after draft codes were written and prior to the final draft.  Now you can see what the committee created and be able to tell them what you do or don't like about it; their final meeting will address your concerns.  You can also do this in writing, but please read the draft codes first!

The whole point of having the Ad-Hoc Committee was to address community dislike of over-regulation of trees on private property as Represented on the last citizen survey.  Unfortunately, the self-selected committee is not representative of the entire community.  The majority of committee members are more prone to believe that your trees on your lot are a community resource and need to be controlled by the community.  Oregon City does not control trees on private property at all unless they are in a designated riparian or slide zone.  Other cities vary, with Portland being one of the most regulated (no surprise there).

The value of homes in highly regulated cities have a lower value than those with less regulation.  This doesn't work in Portland's hot real estate climate, but it does show that people in general do not like to live with overbearing government control over their lives and property.  We must live with some regulations and codes, but how many and what for?  

There is a lot of politically correct pressure to go along with demands for ever more regulation of trees, and most people can't imagine what Lake Oswego was like before there were any tree codes at all.  There were plenty of trees, and the stock on private property was growing, all without any codes against cutting trees down!   True, increased lot divisions and tear-downs create larger houses where smaller houses once stood and require tree removals that  changes the character of neighborhoods.  This problem can be addressed through development codes requiring larger setbacks and smaller allowable lot coverage. This option is not on the table at this time but it, and other ideas, may be something you want to suggest for later.

Private Property Rights and good stewardship of one's land are not mutually exclusive as some believe.  What ever happened to separate the two has damaged trust between neighbors.  We need property rights, mutual respect and trust back restored in our community.  Living under the watchful eye of neighbors and the thumb of government is no way to enjoy our homes and our city.  

There will be committee members with a variety of opinions at the Open House.  Attend, talk, listen, and then let the City Council know what you think.   

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