FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

Nassau County BOCC Approves New Tree Ordinance for Unincorporated Amelia Island

from The County Insider
Office of the Nassau County Manager
August 18, 2021

At the August 9, 2021 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved Ordinance No. 2021-12, amending the Land Development Code to repeal the current unincorporated Amelia Island Tree Protection Ordinance and creating a new tree protection ordinance. The new ordinance will provide a more comprehensive and flexible approach.

The unincorporated Amelia Island tree protection program was originally implemented in 2008 and requires preserving 45% of protected trees for new development including commercial, multi-family, and residential subdivisions (protected trees are native trees with a trunk diameter at breast height/dbh of five inches and greater). The new ordinance will require preserving 25% of protected trees in construction and disturbance zones on a development site, and preserving all protected trees outside those zones in the natural area of the site. Tree protection will also be extended to residential lots outside of subdivisions.

The Ordinance also creates the Nassau County-Amelia Island Tree Commission (NCAITC) to administer tree protection, one member of which will be filled by a soon-to-be-hired County Arborist. The NCAITC will review required tree protection plans for new construction and redevelopment projects, and will at a future date, develop a tree planting program to be considered by the Board of County. This program shall include strategies for planting trees on publicly-held lands in the unincorporated areas of Amelia Island, including rights-of-ways and lands owned or controlled by the Board of County Commissioners and Nassau County School Board, as well as strategies for working with private property owners to plant trees on unincorporated Amelia Island, with the possibility of partnerships using funds from a new Nassau County Tree Fund.

​The new Tree Fund will be a restricted fund which can only be used for purposes outlined in the Ordinance and at the recommendation of the NCAITC. Examples of authorized expenditures include: planting of new trees; performing studies relate to urban forestry, canopy protection an assessments of natural areas; education and outreach initiatives primarily focused on preserving the native canopy, impact of tree loss, value or natural, regenerating areas; and the development of grant applications.

The new Tree Ordinance will go into effect on February 13, 2022. Information on membership for the Tree Committee is forthcoming.

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Planning Department at (904) 530-6300 or via email at [email protected]

-Sabrina Robertson
Public Information Officer

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