July 28, 2000

Mr. Michael Dobbins,
Commissioner Planning, Development and Neighborhood Conservation
City Hall
55 Trinity Avenue
SW Atlanta, GA 30335

Dear Commissioner Dobbins,

I write to you today on behalf of the Marietta Street Artery Association (MSAA) for which I am a duly elected representative. The neighborhood organization, comprised of a diverse mix of residential, commercial and industrial concerns, has entrusted co-president Rhodes Purdue and myself to promote, defend and protect the best interests of our collective community.

Last week, my attention was directed towards a crime which had been committed against that community, specifically, the illegal destruction and removal of an ancient live oak tree on the city' right-of-way at the 600 block of Means Street. Having owned multiple properties in the immediate vicinity, I was quite familiar with this particular tree. It was, in fact, the only tree of any kind growing along the southwest side of Means Street for hundreds of yards in either direction. I would further venture to say that, in my opinion, the tree represented the single most significant and historic living thing in the Means Street District.

I do not have first-hand details as to the circumstances surrounding this incident, but am trying, on behalf of many concerned and outraged neighbors, to assemble the facts. I have been informed by the city arborists that it appears a felony has been committed by the developers, The WINTER COMPANIES.

I have pledged to seek out justice and accountability in this matter which, I fear, in the best case can only be described as a devastating and horrible mistake. My primary concern is to see the environmental damage to the neighborhood repaired and to help facilitate the planting of new trees in the effected area. Along this line, I have secured a generous commitment from TREES ATLANTA's executive director, Marcia Bansley to act as consultants on behalf of the neighborhood.

While I am unclear as to what extent the MSAA should be involved at this stage, I plan to contact the developers directly to investigate some way in which they might mitigate the damage done and somehow put a positive spin on this unfortunate event.

I believe I speak for the entire community in expressing my concern that the City of Atlanta diligently and thoroughly enforce the tree ordinance. In addition, we trust that the proper authorities will investigate this matter completely and help guide us to a solution that results in some corrective action on the part of any parties found to be guilty of wrong-doing.

Thank you for your attention in this matter. If I can be of any further assistance, I remain respectfully at your service.


Bill Gould



Marcia Bansley, Executive Director

Norman Koplon, Commissioner

Frank Mobley, Senior Arborist

Rhodes Purdue, Co-President

Bob Silverman, President