For 30 years, the City of Portage has been designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The designation is awarded to cities that have excelled at efforts in urban forestry. This designation is significant since trees have many positive benefits for the environment and health of the people who live in the community including:
- Remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- Reduce the costs of electricity and fuel for cooling and heating purposes.
- Reduce stormwater runoff by intercepting rainfall.
- Remove Ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide from the air we breathe.
- Enhancement of property values, improve health and well-being and provide wildlife habitat.
- Lower summer air temperatures.
Recognizing the important benefits trees bring to the community, an ordinance to preserve our local trees is being considered by the Portage Planning Commission. The ordinance would require a property owner to obtain a permit to remove a tree 6-inches in diameter or greater (protected tree) if located outside of an approved construction area. If removed, the protected tree must be replaced or the cost to replace the tree could be deposited into a tree fund managed by the city. If the tree is designated as a heritage tree (larger, mature tree), the proposed ordinance would require more than one replacement tree. There are several exceptions that would not require a permit including parcels of land less than one acre that are already occupied by a building, dead or dying trees, emergencies, among others. A copy of the proposed Tree Preservation and Replacement ordinance is available at portagemi.gov/567.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance on September 17 at 7 PM. The type of meeting (in-person at Portage City Hall, virtual format, or a combination of both) is yet to be determined based on the Governor’s Executive Order, which currently allows only gatherings of ten people indoors.
For further information about the proposed Tree Preservation and Replacement Ordinance, please contact the Department of Community Development at 329-4477.