June 28, 2018
District of Columbia Office of Planning
1100 4th Street SW, Suite 650 East
Washington, DC 20024
RE: Draft Sustainability Guide of Existing and Historic Properties
Dear Julianna Jackson:
Casey Trees is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit with a mission “to restore, enhance, and protect the tree canopy of the nation’s capital.” To fulfill this mission, we plant trees; monitor the city’s tree canopy; and work with city officials, developers, and residents to prioritize trees. We are committed to helping the District reach its 40 percent tree canopy goal by 2032. Therefore, we appreciate the opportunity to provide input on the draft Sustainability Guide of Existing and Historic Properties (Sustainability Guide) compiled by the District of Columbia Office of Planning.
The District’s oldest trees contribute to the historic character of homes, buildings, and redevelopment projects, while new trees planted on historic sites will grow to help our city achieve its sustainability goals. The Sustainability Guide has the potential to serve as a tool to protect trees on historic properties. These trees are one of our community’s most valuable amenities as they reduce cooling costs; clean air; improve mental wellbeing; and help to manage pollution, flooding, erosion, and extreme temperatures.
We are pleased to see tree preservation and tree planting included in the Sustainability Guide as low-cost strategies for green retrofits. To further incorporate the codes, city plans, and resources pertaining to trees in the District, we recommend the following:
In the Landscaping section on page 44, include the benefits of urban trees, such as those listed on page 8 of Casey Trees’ Citizen Advocate Handbook. These include shade, climate change mitigation, and stormwater management.
- On page 73, include the Urban Forest Preservation Act of 2002 in the list of Relevant DC Codes.
- On page 73, include the city’s 40% tree canopy goal in the list of high-performance goals set by the Sustainable DC Plan.
- On page 77, include Casey Trees’ Urban Tree Selection Guide and a link to Casey Trees’ conservation easements program as resources for developers looking to protect trees and/or open space in green retrofits.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment. If you have any questions about these recommendations, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.