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Tree study is finished for Edmond project

EDMOND — The first-of-its-kind comprehensive tree study has been completed in Edmond as part of the 1,240-acre Woodland Park planned unit development on the east side of the city.

The property is located between Douglas Boulevard on the west, Post Road on the east, Covell Road on the south and Sorghum Mill Road on the north.

The study is the result of a 2007 deal between the first owner, Caliber Development, and the city council.

That area of Edmond is part of a remnant forest, a forested area that has potentially been undisturbed since 1871.

The 2006 planned unit development design statement for the project states that the remnant forest areas will be surveyed and conservation areas specified at the preliminary platting stage, the point developers have just reached.

Caliber's owners at the time agreed to conduct a study of natural areas as required in the 2006 edition of the city's land use plan, which acts as a general guide for how the city should develop over the long term.

"There have been other tree preservation plans completed in Edmond," said Ryan Ochsner, the city's urban forestry coordinator. "This is a much more comprehensive study that looked at the trees and the flood plains."

The study by consultants Robert Birchell and Associates includes residential developments. Most of the previous examination of trees was for commercial developments, Ochsner said.

"My hope is the study shows what is there and what can be developed around," Ochsner said.

The tree study covered about 205 acres and detailed the type of tree, size and whether the area is prime farmland, non-remnant or remnant forest.

The description of the land outlined in the just-completed Sensitive Area Conservation Assessment or tree study is "gently rolling hills containing prime farmland pastures, wooded areas including remnant forest areas and flood plain areas."

"There will be a tremendous amount of dedicated woodlands and open space that will remain in the natural conditions," Birchell said in his report.

The tree study is for the entire 1,240 acres originally planned to be developed at one time. Now, sections of the property are being sold off and developed separately.

Planning commissioners this week recommended approval of a preliminary plat for phase one of Highgarden Addition by a 3-2 vote.

Planning chairman Barry Moore and commissioner Mark Hoose voted against the plat for the housing addition southeast of Douglass Boulevard and Sorghum Mill Road.

Hoose said he voted no because the final draft of the tree study had not been completely reviewed by Ochsner. He said the preliminary plat was not to be considered until the tree study was complete.

Plans for Highgarden addition are to construct 65 single family homes on 31 acres. The lot sizes are to be 10,730 square feet.

City council members are expected to make a final decision Monday on the preliminary plat after reviewing the tree study.

Council members also will consider Monday two applications involving different sections of land in the Woodland Park planned unit development, which also will involve the tree study.

The council meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Monday at 20 S Littler Ave.

Diana Baldwin

Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›