Phoenicians appreciate shade, which is why the Arizona Republic editorial "A Place in the Shade" got me thinking: If so many of us love shade, why is there a shortage?
It turns out planting a tree in Phoenix isn't as easy as it sounds. With 62 zoned districts and 11 commissions overseeing them, anyone who wants to plant a tree faces a jungle of overlapping codes and bureaucracies. Take a look here: Phoenix Laws and Regulations
Trying to understand the law, let alone comply with it, is a herculean task. Chapter 7, Section 703 of the City of Phoenix Zoning Ordinances might apply for some, but not if you're in a historic district or landscaping a hillside. If your home is on a corner lot, there's a whole special section of code just for you. Other codes make it illegal to plant or sell male mulberry or olive trees. And then there are water restrictions and environmental performance standards scattered throughout still more codes.
Some rules are legitimate: Trees shouldn't obscure road signs, for instance. But there is no legitimate reason for such a complicated, indecipherable system. Before heeding the Republic's call for an all-out campaign for shade, Phoenix should weed out arbitrary regulations and produce straightforward guidelines that regular citizens can understand.
When planting a tree is as easy as, well...planting a tree, we might just get a few more of them in the Valley of the Sun.