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Important Changes for Tree Management in Glenview

Here are Greener Glenview co-founder Sheri Latash's comments to the Glenview Village Board on February 7, 2023.

As the trustees have acknowledged, there’s an ever-increasing awareness and appreciation of the environmental, economic, and health & social benefits of trees. They are an integral part of green infrastructure and should be valued appropriately. We are encouraged by the Village’s actions regarding environmental stewardship.

For the following reasons, Greener Glenview supports referring consideration of potential technical changes to the tree ordinance, to the ENRC.

Tree Replacement Criteria

Glenview’s criteria for when tree replacement is required needs to be reevaluated. Our ordinance requires replacement of landmark trees based on class of tree and size, ranging from 16”-21”. What about trees that are less than 16” in diameter? Don’t they provide the same benefits and services but at a smaller scale? Are they not worthy of protection and replacement?

Glenview’s size requirements are an outlier. For comparison purposes, Wilmette, Lincolnshire and Northbrook require a permit and replacement of any tree over 6” in diameter. Highland Park, Kenilworth and Winnetka require a permit and replacement of any tree over 8” in diameter.

Smaller diameter trees still take years to grow. A 6” diameter tree is roughly 10-15 years old. Removing them without any consequence is like saying we don’t need pre-teens and adolescents in our population. A poor comparison maybe, but I trust you get my point.

Glenview should reexamine the size requirement triggering permit removal and replacement. Perhaps in 2000 when Glenview enacted its tree ordinance, a 16” diameter was the compromise. But the Chicago Region Tree Initiative Gold Standard ordinance of today recommends replacement of trees greater than 6”.

Time to Update Comparative Community Data

Comparative community data need to be updated. The table on page 7 of tonight’s staff report lists the required fees in lieu of tree replacement for 13 nearby communities. This same table was included in Director Kenney’s PowerPoint presentation at the August 2 board meeting. At that meeting, Director Kenney stated that this information was last updated about 4-5 years ago. Several communities have updated their tree ordinances in the past 4-5 years. If data from their current ordinances were used, would Glenview’s fees still be near the median?

Increase Penalty for Removing Trees

The penalty for removing trees without a permit should be increased. As an example, Wilmette assesses a fine of up to $7,500 for each offense.

Time to Deal with Buckthorn

Greener Glenview believes the time is right to address the village’s approach to buckthorn management. Buckthorn constitutes about 30% of the urban canopy. We would be happy to share our ideas of a private property buckthorn removal initiative sponsored by the village but conducted in conjunction with the park district.

Thank you for this opportunity to present our perspective.

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