Charlotte City Council Approves Changes To Tree Ordinance
Charlotte has updated its rules for how developers can plant trees in the city’s most urban areas.
City Council voted nine to two Monday night to adopt the tree ordinance changes that city planners say they will give developers more flexibility in where they plant trees and how they meet requirements for tree conservation.
The changes clarify how developers should plant trees near street corners and in parking lots. And developers would still have to set aside 15% of land for trees – called a “tree save area.” But they would have more flexibility to meet those requirements while including features like park benches and walkways in these urban zones.
Council voted after more than an hour of debate, and two council members — Dimple Ajmera and Matt Newton — asked to delay the vote to get more public feedback.
Before approving the proposal, council members asked city planners to track how the changes would impact the tree canopy in these areas.
Chuck Cole of the group Trees Charlotte was one of the many private citizens who attended the meeting. He approved of the decision to accept the changes.
"I think it’s reasonable," Cole said. "And I think the suggestion to track it, like council members are suggesting, is a good thing. I think that the city is gonna probably come back with some good tracking information, and I think it is innovative."
A 2016 survey found that trees covered 47% of Charlotte. The city now has a goal of 50% coverage by the year 2050.
The changes will affect only about 4% of the city, including most of uptown as well as parts of Dilworth, Elizabeth, and Plaza Midwood. They will also affect tracts of land along the Blue Line corridor.