Environment

Louisville residents will have a chance to weigh in on a proposed tree ordinance Tuesday during a public meeting in Metro Hall.

The measure would require the replacement of any trees removed on public property. That includes trees removed by homeowners on the rights-of-way that are adjacent to their property.

Ninth District councilman Bill Hollander is the bill’s sponsor.

“This is a public tree ordinance,” Hollander said. “So what you do with a tree or don’t do with a tree in your private property is really not affected at all by this ordinance.”

Private property owners are already required to maintain and — if necessary — pay to remove trees in the easements in front of their homes. This bill would add the replacement requirement, in an effort to combat the city’s growing heat island effect.

The term “heat island” refers to a metropolitan area that’s much warmer than the rural areas surrounding it. Research has previously found that Louisville has one of the fastest-growing heat islands in the country.

“We know we have an urban heat island effect, one of the fastest-growing in the country,” said Hollander. “We know that we’ve lost a large number of trees, some of them to disease, some of them to age, some of them to storms, some of them to development. But many of these trees are being lost along our public rights of way.”

The meeting is Tuesday from 2-4 p.m. in Metro Council chambers.

Erica Peterson reports on energy and the environment for WFPL. She is also Enterprise Editor.