A detailed "streetscape" plan to promote and guide community tree-planting efforts has been endorsed by the City Council.
"Our goal is to create a unique place to live in the Salt Lake Valley," said City Administrator Richard Warne.South Jordan's Beautification Committee developed the plan after months of study and a series of public hearings. Residents contributed their time and expertise and were involved in every phase of the process, Warne said, adding, "They deserve all the credit."
According to the plan, a well-managed and healthy "urban forest" can improve a community in a number of ways, including environmentally, aesthetically and economically.
"As urbanization and population continue to increase, associated noise levels also increase . . . This impact can be lessened by planting trees and by using earth berms," the plan said.
Also, trees increase the overall value of the community by increasing the value of individual properties. The plan notes that properties with numerous trees are generally worth from 6 percent to 12 percent more than identical properties without trees.
And, "The planting of trees helps to define outdoor space, integrate diverse architectural styles and unify various elements of the city . . . No dollar figure can be placed upon this benefit, but everyone knows that people are attracted to places that are perceived to be pleasing."
Among its goals, the plan proposes that the city establish programs to promote tree planting, develop and implement a tree ordinance and explore methods of obtaining trees in bulk for community planting projects.
The proposed ordinance would include provisions to preserve existing trees as well as regulate such things as the species of trees and distances between them along city streets.
"Obviously, there are costs involved in any street tree-planting program. These include planting costs, potential damage to public improvements and maintenance costs. However, these costs can be minimized by carefully selecting tree species and planting locations, and by involving city residents in planting and maintenance efforts," the plan said.
A detailed list of approved and prohibited trees and recommended planting areas was attached to the plan.
Warne said the city is prepared to appropriate some money each year to the streetscape program to ensure that it continues and succeeds.