Alexandria To the Editor:
The following open letter was addressed to the mayor, vice mayor, and City Council.
Once again a citizen is coming to you again greatly concerned with the apparent lack of any oversight and enforcement by City Planning and staff for the protection of Alexandria's rapidly disappearing native forest and tree canopy, especially with projects under their charge like the "Karig Estates" debacle.
Did you know that many 100s of beautiful, old canopy trees have been senselessly cut and grubbed out over the past two months at Mark Center? Does Planning know, or care?
During cutting and stump grinding, the place looks like a war zone — especially from Sanger Avenue to both sides of Beauregard Street. Many residents are deeply concerned. This cutting continues and will probably eventually get through all of Mark Center.
As you — or at least Planning hopefully knows — there is a Beauregard Small Area Plan for land use decisions for all of Mark Center. It has been on the city website for years.
Is anyone in the city monitoring any of this to see if it is in accordance with the plan?
It is my understanding that if a private landowner in the city wishes to do large-scale tree removal over a large area — especially if development or potential property development is involved — they must first notify the city and file an application for doing so.
As is often the case it may just be lip service — hard to believe it isn't with this destruction — but one of the "requirements" of the plan is "4.30. Employ sound urban forestry principles and practices to improve the city’s tree canopy."
What a joke. We're so far from "sound urban forestry principles" and "improving the city's tree canopy" here that we might as well be a Third World country practicing subsistence farming, destroying whatever natural resources are at hand.
It's hard not to be cynical and disgusted when so many public meetings over the years end in senselessly clear-cutting what's left of the city's beautiful tree canopy.
Adding insult to injury is Planning's evidently being asleep at the switch and in typical apathetic form in ensuring — and fighting for — Alexandria's quality of life. So much for enforcement and those we entrust looking out for us. And it's their/the city's plan — in other words, it's their job.