We Love Trees, However…
The city has been considering changes to parking lot requirements that could have a big impact on local businesses.
The Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA) supports the beautification of our city and understands the desire to ensure that there is sufficient landscaping and screening in and around parking lots. However, we believe the current design standards already achieve this desired effect. The proposed changes only place additional burdens on the business community that exceed basic needs, and do not consider any of the costs or problems associated with requiring more trees in parking lots. Some of those problems are as follows:
Trees tend to die when surrounded by concrete due to excessive heat from surrounding pavement and the lack of adequate soil moisture. If it survives, the average life expectancy of a tree planted in a parking lot setting is only 7–10 years.
According to the minutes of the October 25, 2018 meeting of the West Haymarket JPA, it will cost Pinnacle Bank Arena over $1,700 to replace just one dead tree. The tree is surrounded by concrete and lived for only five years.
More internal landscape islands within parking lots will limit the amount of available space for parking.
Internal landscape islands are not environmentally friendly. Trees planted in landscape islands require 50% more water than the same species in a grassy area. In addition, it will require more land to comply with these changes, leading to more sprawl.
It will also be especially difficult for developments undergoing renovations to comply with these changes because they are dealing with a finite amount of land.
More trees will increase the costs of landscaping maintenance due to costs associated with additional pruning and the replacement of dead trees. These costs will lead to higher triple net leases and rents.
Tree roots can also damage surrounding concrete structures, which will increase costs to repair such damage.
Trees block the views of security cameras and impede businesses’ ability to monitor parking lots for the safety of its employees and customers. This is a particular concern for the banking community. We have heard from three Lincoln banks that have expressed these concerns.
Internal landscape islands will severely hamper snow removal and increase snow removal costs.
Trees block the sun, making shaded or tree-covered parts of pavement among the most common locations for black ice. This can lead to more slips and falls and vehicular accidents in parking lots during icy conditions.
Trees can block the ability of customers to see store signage and the front entrance of stores, which can lead to less visitations from customers and make it more difficult to lease storefronts obstructed by trees.
Based on these concerns, LIBA asked the city to vote no on Text Amendment 18014.
During the last two years, the Nebraska Legislature has passed legislation to reduce unnecessary government regulation. This text amendment does the exact opposite and increases the regulatory burden on businesses.
LIBA studies and promotes these types of issues that are important to businesses and our community. If you have an interest in joining LIBA, please call me at (402) 466-3419. LIBA membership is not restricted to just businesses. We also have “individual” memberships for those who want to help influence our local government decisions.
For more information on LIBA, visit Liba.org.