Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Lost Your Trees to Ash Borers? Upcoming Sales May Help!

Green Meadows West Homeowners' Association (GMWHOA) members may need to plant new trees on their properties later this summer or fall, in order to stay within compliance of neighborhood covenants. Those covenants, established when the area was first developed, stipulate a minimum number of trees per lot. This number is determined by a given lot's square-footage.

The potential need developed after the City of Johnston began removing street-side Ash trees that have not been treated against Emerald Ash Borer infestation. Street trees that have successfully been treated at homeowner expense will likely not be removed, although the city reserves the right to do so.

Trees planted in the area between sidewalk and curb—colloquially called the "parking," and more technically called the "right-of-way"—are planted and maintained at homeowner expense.

Real estate professionals often say that street trees enhance curb appeal and improve potential resale values. Utility companies often promote potential energy savings generated by tree shade.

Green Meadows West rules and covenants stipulate a minimum number of trees per homeowner lot. For example: In Plat 2, one of the original plats (link here), the covenants specify:

"A minimum of one (1) tree is required per one thousand three hundred (1,300) square feet of space unoccupied by structures, parking, sidewalks or driveways. At least forty percent (40%) of the trees shall have a minimum of two-inch (2”) truck diameter measured two (2) feet vertically from the ground level."

If you have questions about covenant compliance at your location, please contact the Covenants Committee via the association manager. (Contact iformation below.)

Trees planted to meet GMWHOA covenants can be planted anywhere on homeowner property. However, city ordinances stipulate where any "street trees" may be planted, and how they must be trimmed in order to avoid coming into contact with vehicles or pedestrians. You may not be able to simply replant street trees removed by the city.

Also, a city permit is also now required for planting street trees.

Keep in mind that, according to city ordinances: "No street tree or street shrub that will grow more than 30 inches in height shall be planted on a corner lot where two streets intersect—for a distance of 25 feet in any direction from the point of intersection at the curb line (safety zone)"

Street trees must be a minimum of 3 feet from both sidewalk and curb.

Also, according to ordinances, no street tree shall be planted within:

  • 15 lateral feet of overhead utility lines

  • 3 lateral feet from water and sanitary sewer lines

  • 10 feet from a fire hydrant

  • 5 feet from a driveway

  • 25 feet from a traffic control sign

  • 3 feet from a sidewalk

Additionally, according to city ordinances, street trees must be kept trimmed to the following specifications:

  • All branches will be at least 14 feet above the surface of the street.

  • All branches will be 8 feet above the sidewalks.

To encourage tree planting across Johnston, the city's annual tree sale will open for on-line orders beginning 8 a.m. Fri., Apr. 12, 2022. Deliveries will take place Sat., May 7, 2022.

A list of tree species acceptable to the city is here: https://www.cityofjohnston.com/289/Plant-a-Tree

Also, the GMWHOA Grounds Committee is negotiating with select landscape vendors for potential discounts for homeowner-members. More details will be provided in the June-July 2022 newsletter.

Meanwhile, for more information and/or suggestions on how to select tree species, please contact the GMWHOA Grounds committee via: Association Manager Ben McMenamin, 515.222.5206; benm AT knappproperties DOT com 

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