Hailey Trees

The Hailey City Council voted unanimously Monday evening to adopt two new ordinances to ban single-use plastics at special city events and aim to increase diversity and longevity among street trees.

The first ordinance—pioneered by Wood River High School’s W.A.T.E.R. Club—requires special-event vendors to use recyclable or compostable packaging and submit an application to the city specifying their disposal options. Several valley organizations, including Ketchum’s Environmental Resource Center and the Hailey Climate Action Coalition, previously endorsed the single-plastics ban after its introduction to the council on Feb. 24.

Council President Kaz Thea asked the council on Monday to further discuss implementing a water bar at Hailey’s Summer’s End-The Draper Rendezvous Music Festival, a W.A.T.E.R. Club recommendation that would eliminate the need to buy and transport water from Twin Falls.

“I know it seems really hard to consider when events are likely not happening in the near future, but I would love to discuss purchasing a stainless-steel hydration bar. It’s a really good solution, and we could get one at reduced price,” she said. “We shouldn’t drop the ball on this.”

Mayor Martha Burke agreed.

“I look forward to touching base with the W.A.T.E.R. Club to work on a hydration bar,” she said. “It’s part two, to me, in eliminating single-use plastics.”

The city’s new tree ordinance, formulated by the Tree Committee, lays out guidelines to promote a wider range of species within city limits and better protect trees from possible damage. As per the ordinance, city arborists will classify existing trees based on species, diameter and heritage, preventing those with historical value from being removed during new projects. The code change also mandates that trees be planted during spring or fall, are planted using high-drainage sandy loam soil and are protected from snow-removal equipment and traffic.

The Hailey City Council voted unanimously Monday evening to adopt two new ordinances to ban single-use plastics at special city events and aim to increase diversity and longevity among street trees.

The first ordinance—pioneered by Wood River High School’s W.A.T.E.R. Club—requires special-event vendors to use recyclable or compostable packaging and submit an application to the city specifying their disposal options. Several valley organizations, including Ketchum’s Environmental Resource Center and the Hailey Climate Action Coalition, previously endorsed the single-plastics ban after its introduction to the council on Feb. 24.

Council President Kaz Thea asked the council on Monday to further discuss implementing a water bar at Hailey’s Summer’s End-The Draper Rendezvous Music Festival, a W.A.T.E.R. Club recommendation that would eliminate the need to buy and transport water from Twin Falls.

“I know it seems really hard to consider when events are likely not happening in the near future, but I would love to discuss purchasing a stainless-steel hydration bar. It’s a really good solution, and we could get one at reduced price,” she said. “We shouldn’t drop the ball on this.”

Mayor Martha Burke agreed.

“I look forward to touching base with the W.A.T.E.R. Club to work on a hydration bar,” she said. “It’s part two, to me, in eliminating single-use plastics.”

The city’s new street-tree ordinance, formulated by the Tree Committee and city staff, has implemented new guidelines to promote a wider range of species within city limits and better protect trees from possible damage. Per the ordinance, city arborists will classify existing public trees based on species, diameter and heritage, preventing those with historical value from being removed whenever possible during construction.

“The reason we pursued updating this ordinance is there have been so many commercial projects across the city that do impact the street trees on Main Street and the city core,” Tree Committee Chair Linda Ries said in an interview.

The code update suggests that trees be planted during spring or fall, are planted using high-drainage sandy loam soil, and are protected from snow-removal equipment and traffic. It also specifies proper tree spacing and well depth—in open areas like parks, trees can be planted in groups, but sidewalks and hardscape areas with limited soil space require single-tree plantings.

“There was a concern that the old way of sticking a tree in a small cutout in the sidewalk was not conducive to tree survival,” Ries said. “In street tree plantings where there is hardscape, such as sidewalks, the rooting space for multiple trees or tree groups is not practical.”

Some larger tree species that the committee hopes to see planted along Hailey’s streets include the Kentucky coffeetree, American hophornbeam and swamp white oak.

Both the plastics and tree ordinance are now in effect.

“When trees are small, their thin bark is easily damaged when the cambium is exposed,” Tree Committee Chairwoman Linda Reis previously told the Express. “If half the [tree’s] circumference is damaged, it will likely die.”

Also governed by the ordinance is proper tree spacing and tree-well construction. In recreational areas, for example, trees can be planted in groups, but sidewalks and other spots with limited soil require single-tree plantings.

“Tree spacing in large-soil areas like parks can use group plantings, but it’s more difficult for trees [near] sidewalks when soil space, air space and water are limited,” Reis said.

Some larger tree species that the committee hopes to see planted along Hailey’s streets include the Kentucky coffeetree, American hophornbeam and swamp white oak.

Both the plastics and tree ordinance are now in effect.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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