Urban Forest Master Plan and Storm Hardening Efforts to be Discussed
The Tallahassee City Commission will hold a workshop on Wednesday, March 22, at 1 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers, second floor, City Hall, 300 South Adams Street.
The workshop will center on the topic of trees. This has been an area of focus for the Commission and community following the impacts of Hurricane Hermine and other high wind / heavy rain events. Hurricane Hermine brought down hundreds of trees, demolishing property and damaging the electric grid but thankfully sparing lives. As hurricane season approaches once again, enhancing community resiliency is a driving factor for this workshop discussion.
Based on previous direction from the Commission and community input, staff will present the outline for an Urban Forest Master Plan.
Commissioners will also consider expanding the newly adopted Storm Preparedness Pilot Program to include a finance option that would provide residential property owners with a loan to aid with the costs of removing select trees. The cost to remove a large tree on private property can be prohibitive to the average citizen, especially when it comes as an unexpected expense. This program would offer installment loans for the purpose of removing only high-hazard trees that threaten electric distribution lines or service drops. All tree removals would still be subject to permitting requirements currently in place and designed to ensure the preservation of trees in this community. As part of the proposed program expansion, participating property owners would be eligible to receive new trees from select species that have medium to high wind resistance.
Based on the success of another pilot program, which expanded the standard electric line clearances for tree trimming in select areas, Commissioners will consider modifying the current City standard. Results from the pilot program showed a reduction in outages in those areas, and replicating that success Citywide could enhance the system’s reliability.
The final item for the workshop is discussion about moving forward with a study and development of preliminary designs and cost estimates for the underground conversion of electric lines along Miccosukee Road’s medical corridor. This area includes a significant number of medical and senior care facilities. A targeted undergrounding effort in this area could provide enhanced reliability for these critical customers.
The workshop agenda can be viewed at http://www.boarddocs.com/fla/talgov/Board.nsf/Public. The workshop is open to the public and will be aired live on WCOT (Comcast and CenturyLink channel 13) and streamed on Talgov.com.