Mike Wendling: A better plan for trees in Breck | SummitDaily.com

Mike Wendling: A better plan for trees in Breck

Mike Wendling
Breckenridge, CO Colorado

I strongly oppose the Town of Breckenridge’s Defensible Space Ordinance for the following reasons:

1. First priority for fire safety should be “enforcing” the removal of dead trees, not healthy live ones.

2. The ordinance is unfair as it exempts areas like open space, town property, historic districts, downtown, Peak 7 and Boreas Pass.

3. Expensive trees I planted last fall, with the approval of the Town of Breckenridge, are now within the 30-foot defensible space and may have to be destroyed. Property owners in the future will not plant trees for fear that their money will be wasted if the ordinance distance is increased.

4. The ordinance will significantly increase the “barren” landscape and negatively impact property values as well as tax revenues to town and county.

5. Thousands of dollars have been spent spraying for beetles in order to keep the trees healthy, and now these healthy trees will have to be removed.

6. The ordinance violates the original building envelopes, which discouraged the cutting of trees and encouraged landscaping plans and planting of trees at significant cost ” which now have to be removed.

What assurance do we have that a large forest fire will not still destroy a home even with 30 feet of defensible space? Why not exclude all healthy irrigated trees from the ordinance? Why not attempt to form a boundary between national forest land and housing districts by cutting down a band of dead trees between national forest and homes? Why not consider a voluntary program whereby each homeowner pays a small fee for a visit from the fire department to discuss unique solutions to each homeowner’s unique situation? I suspect that each homeowner will take voluntary steps to make their home more defensible so that it does not burn down.

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