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Investigation Reveals Years-Long Lax Enforcement Of San Antonio's Tree Ordinance, Prompting City Response

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Reporting from the San Antonio Express-News brought to light that for at least two years, developers have routinely been allowed to circumvent San Antonio's tree preservation ordinance, allowing for under-the-radar removal of thousands of trees the rules intended to protect.

In response, the city’s Development Services Department (DSD) has committed to track and share tree preservation variance requests and approvals, fines related to the ordinance that are assessed or waived, and any exception requests from elected officials.

The rules purportedly exist to safeguard the existence of large, old-growth trees at least 24 inches in diameter, called "heritage trees," and 35 percent of “significant” trees on a property.

How does DSD process these kinds of requests? Why have so many developers been able to cut down trees that were supposedly protected?

How will stricter enforcement of these existing rules affect San Antonio-area development process?

What is the overall goal of the city's tree preservation ordinance? Do loopholes still exist?

Guest: Brian Chasnoff, investigative reporter for the San Antonio Express-News

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, February 3.