Many of the trees on the site of the new hotel-conference center at the intersection of Main and Yett streets in Marble Falls will need to be cut down to make way for construction. The city’s Economic Development Corp. initiated a tree planting program to mitigate the loss. Staff photo by Nathan Bush
The site at the corner of Yett and Main streets in downtown has 31 protected trees and five heritage trees marked to be removed, most of which are pecan. The EDC will be planting enough trees to total the circumference of those removed. Nine trees determined to be dead do not have to be replaced.
“The city has a pretty aggressive mitigation ordinance with penalties if you’re not able to keep trees on site,” said EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher.
Currently, 480 inches of trees are being cut down. The landscape architect for the hotel project has allowed for 41 trees to be on site, equalling about 133 inches. The city’s tree removal ordinance requires 963 inches to be replaced, leaving 830 inches unaccounted for.
“That’s obviously a big balance,” Fletcher said. “There’s no way the site could accommodate what would have to be replaced on site.”
As a result of the inability to meet the city’s ordinance on the hotel-conference center site, the EDC will plant trees on city-owned properties across Marble Falls.
“The EDC (will) pay for the replacement of those inches through the parks and streetscapes as projects come along,” Fletcher said.
The estimated cost for the new program is $124,500. The program is set to begin Sept. 6. Planting will continue over three years.
Although most of the trees being removed are pecan, the new trees will be oak because pecan trees pose a risk for residents and their property.
“(Pecan trees) break and cause damage to property and people,” Fletcher said. “You’ll notice the new trees that are being planted in Johnson Park now are oak trees and other things besides pecans.”
Irrigation also will be necessary for trees planted within city parks so they don’t have to be watered by hand.
“If it’s on irrigation, (parks department employees) can pothole and drop the trees in,” Fletcher said. “If they’re outside the irrigation and they have to hand water, that would be a challenge.”