City Schedules Forum to Tackle Washington Avenue Tree Dispute

by | Jan 31, 2016 | News

By Susan Larson. Copy of the City of Fredericksburg’s 2008 tree planting plan provided by Tree Fredericksburg.

This meeting has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, at Dorothy Hart Center, 408 Canal St., Fredericksburg.

The City of Fredericksburg has scheduled a forum to address a dispute about trees on Washington Mall, the center island of parkland on Washington Avenue.

“We the residents of Washington Avenue and adjacent blocks hereby petition the City of Fredericksburg to halt the ongoing attempt to convert Washington Avenue Mall to forest land,” reads a petition delivered to the city.

“Notwithstanding the Comprehensive Plan, a private organization, Tree Fredericksburg, has been steadily planting trees in the median of Washington Avenue during the past two years with the apparent acquiescence of the City and without input or consent from the residents,” the petition reads.

“The group of people that initiated the petition are asking for the removal of all the trees that have been planted on the center area of the mall on Washington Avenue,” said Tree Fredericksburg Founder Anne Little in an email. “They believe that the trees block the view of their houses, that the trees will distract from the monuments and that Washington Ave Mall should be free of trees, an open grassland without trees.” Little said some of the information on the petition is incorrect. “The forum will clarify the actual facts,” she said.

The forum is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 25, at Dorothy Hart Center, 408 Canal St., Fredericksburg. It will include a 15 minute presentation by the city and a 15 minute presentation by the petitioners, according to Little. After the presentations, public comments will be allowed at two minutes each.

If you wish to speak at the meeting, you must register in advance. Email [email protected] and ask to be put on the speakers’ list.

Little said trees have been planted according to the tree planting plan designed in 2008 by the Green Committee under the direction City of Fredericksburg Parks & Recreation Department and the Fredericksburg Public Works Department.

“Some people are making this a referendum on the entire tree program,” Little said. “We need your voice in support of the trees and having Fredericksburg be a city with tree lined streets and parks and public spaces.”

The petition signers are asking “the City remove all, or most, of the trees planted within Washington Avenue Mall during the past two years and restore the grass that was removed.”

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