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For the week of May 9 through May 15, 2001

Tree lopping protested

Large spruce cut to make way for development

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum lost some of its old neighbors last week when eight full-grown spruce trees were cut down on a corner lot across from Atkinsonsí Market.

The lotís owners, 440 East Corp., are drafting plans to develop a commercial building on the property. Five mature trees were left standing.

Several of Ketchumís most prominent trees were removed last week to make way for eventual development of a downtown lot. Express photo by Willy Cook

Removal of the trees upset some local residents, but apparently none more than Cody Walden.

Walden is president of the Heartwood Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes forest preservation and environmental education.

"These trees are a valuable asset to the residents and guests of the city of Ketchum," he wrote in a letter to Ketchum city administrator Jim Jaquet. "I believe that I speak for the majority of our community when I express that development in the city should not ignore the value and aesthetics that historical trees have to us residents."

Jaquet, in an interview, said thereís little the city could have done.

"We have no ordinance that prevents a property owner from taking out trees," he said.

Once a developer files for city approval of development plans, the planning and zoning commission can mandate what trees can be removed, but before plans are filed, the city is out of the loop.

Ketchum City Council members promised Walden during an April meeting that they would look into the issue.

Ketchum Councilman Randy Hall said in an interview he would like to see a tree ordinance drafted that institutes a no-net-loss policy.

"Obviously you canít replace a 50-year-old tree," he said, adding that perhaps mitigation for lost trees could be required.

The city council did not specify when it would look into the issue again.


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