Inner north residents fear that dozens of trees will be axed to make way for a new road through Dickson's urban renewal precinct.
But the ACT government is adamant plans for a new road through Dickson section 72 aren't on the agenda, as it attempts to downplay the significance of a consultant's report which first floated the idea.
The issue has emerged during public consultation on plans to rezone land off Hawdon Place, which the government has earmarked for a new Common Ground development.
The estate would provide a mix of 40 social and affordable housing units for people experiencing chronic homelessness.
While there has been some disquiet in the community about the proposed six-storey height of one of the complex's buildings, the majority of concern has centred on a engineer's report commissioned as part of planning for the wider precinct.
The report, published on the planning directorate's website, sketches out a new road connecting Hawdon Place and Rosevear Place along the precinct's southern boundary.
The consultant's map shows a road running through what is currently a grassy corridor lined by more than 70 mature trees.
Residents have seized on the report, with almost all of the 50 submissions to consultation on the rezoning expressing alarm about the possible removal of the trees.
Locals have also wrapped orange tape with the words "fragile" around the trunks of trees believed to be at risk.
"I am horrified to learn of the plan to bulldoze 76 mature trees along the storm water drain in Dickson to make room for a new road," one respondent wrote in their submission, adding it was "hypocritical" given the government's target of increasing the city's canopy coverage.
In his submission, Greens Leader Shane Rattenbury, whose Kurrajong electorate covers Dickson, called on the government to remove references to a new road in design documents for Common Ground.
Mr Rattenbury said there was a "real risk" that the community wouldn't support the housing project because of fears about the trees.
Urban Renewal Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith and senior planning officials sought to clarify the purpose of the consultant's report - and the future of the trees - during evidence to annual report hearings earlier this month.
Ms Stephen-Smith, who also represents Kurrajong, said her personal view was that axing the trees to make way for a road "would not be appropriate" and she didn't support it. She said the report was commissioned ahead of future rounds of consultation on the wider section 72 precinct, stressing that there were no provisions in the current rezoning proposal for a new road.
Chief Planner Ben Ponton said the consultant's map represented the "very, very first set of drawings", as he reiterated that the concept of a new road had not been endorsed by his directorate or the government.
His deputy, Geoffrey Rutledge, said the directorate might have inadvertently "drummed up some community anxiety" by releasing the report.
"In our fervour for being open and releasing all of the documents, what was essentially the first draft by a road engineer has been taken by members of the community as being set in stone," Mr Rutledge said.
"It's always a challenge when you do community consultation. If you don't release technical reports, there is this accusation that you're hiding something."
Dickson Residents Group convener Jane Goffman said the community would take little comfort in Ms Stephen-Smith's assurances.
"The problem is that we have politicians who we respect, but it's not clear that they are calling the shots. The directorate commissioned this [consultant's report]. The report responds directly to a brief," she said.
"There seems to be another agenda here and it's really difficult to know who to believe anymore."
Ms Goffman said the community supported a Common Ground development in Dickson. But she said the proposed location nearby Sullivans Creek was inappropriate due to the risk of flooding.