Crews removed several decades-old White Oak trees on Garrett Street this morning as part of a Piedmont Housing Alliance project to redevelop Friendship Court. The trees were removed as part of the first phase of the development, which got underway with a groundbreaking in January. Phase one is being constructed on a former open field.
Piedmont Housing CEO Sunshine Mathon said the trees’ removal ended up being necessary due to complex topography involving a waterway that travels below the site.
“We were not 100 percent sure until meeting with City staff to finalize sidewalk replacement, utilities, etc. along Garrett,” Mathon wrote in an email to Charlottesville Community Engagement this morning.
Mathon said the removal of the trees is an example of a trade-off related to the need for new buildings to be set back from the street. Accommodating the channeled Pollocks Branch reduced the amount of buildable area.
“The residents and the rest of the design team were balancing building footprints, number of total units, housing typologies (multifamily + townhomes), a new Community Center and Early Learning Center, ample amounts of open green space (including existing and new tree cover), parking needs, and interconnection with future phases,” Mathon continued.
Mathon said the remaining phases should not have similar constraints related to Pollocks Branch and that more of the mature tree canopy in those sections could be preserved. Phase one is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
Mathon also said the wood from the trees will be used to make furniture and other products in the future.
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