City of Gastonia Establishes Tree Advisory Commission

Looking up at all trees and leaves

The City of Gastonia has established a Tree Advisory Commission to review applications for permits and oversee the coordination of the City’s tree ordinances and its related guidelines. The Commission will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at 5:30 p.m.

“We know that trees and landscaping are vital to the quality of life for our residents,” said Mayor Walker E. Reid III. “This Commission will help us maintain the policies and guidelines needed to manage a healthy community through better air quality, shade, and groundwater preservation – all of which trees provide for us.”

The Commission consists of seven members, one appointed by the mayor and four appointed by city council. These members serve staggered terms ranging from one year to three years. Ex-officio members of the Commission include one staff person from the City’s Parks and Recreation Department and one from the City Planning Department, both appointed by the city manager.

The following persons will serve on the City’s Tree Advisory Commission:

  • Darius Lindsay, Educator
  • David Fogarty, Director of Gaston County Cooperative Extension (Ward 1)
  • Ms. Catherine Hill, Homemaker (Ward 2)
  • Ms. Sarah Drummond, Realtor (Ward 3)
  • Mrs.  Erlinda Lorenzo-Polk, CaroMont Medical Laboratory Scientist (retired)  (Ward 5)
  • Robert Stroud, City Arborist (ex-officio)
  • Kim Wallis, City Planner (ex-officio)

After reviewing its strategic plan for managing its urban tree forest, the City determined its current ordinance only addressed the maintenance and removal of existing trees on City-owned property and public rights-of-way. A new ordinance was adopted in May 2020 which regulates trees on public property and private property when new development or alterations occur to existing development.

The new ordinance does not affect owners of single-family residences or duplexes. “We also want to encourage developers and business owners to think ahead when identifying expansion projects on public and private property throughout the City to help preserve and maintain existing trees and planting new ones,” said Assistant City Manager Quentin McPhatter.

More information about the new tree ordinance.