Coweta County is the newest municipality in Georgia to adopt a tree ordinance. The ordinance, which passed earlier this Spring, made way for a new position in Coweta government: County Arborist.
Just a little over a month ago, Roy Matthews took the helm. Roy has a strong background in both arboriculture and urban forestry. As graduate of Bowling Green State University, he began his municipal career as a City Forester for Sandusky, Ohio, a tree maintenance supervisor for Savannah, GA, a Superintendent of Parks and Grounds for the City of Beaufort, SC, Grounds Supervisor for the City of College Park, and Superintendent of Grounds at Fort_McPherson/Fort Gillem.
I spoke to Roy Matthews over the phone, and asked him what he thought the main impetus was for the county to adopt a tree ordinance. "The primary concern was the rapid development of County," Roy commented, "There is no slowing of growth here, and there needed to be something to help conserve urban forest resources."
Roy holds the ISA Certified Arborist credential. He is also a member of the ISA, Georgia Arborist Association, and Georgia Urban Forestry Council. Some of his goals include the development of educational tree preservation workshops in Coweta County and the creation of constructive relationships with the land development community.
His favorite tree is the American beech.
The Coweta Tree Ordinance is similar to the Fulton County tree ordinance and several of the county ordinances around the metro area, focusing primarily on new development and not individual established residential lots. It has a Specimen Tree component, which should be familiar to all Atlanta residents, providing special status to mature hardwood trees over 24 inches in diameter on new developments.