City committee to tackle tree rules in Wednesday meeting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 9, 2013

SALISBURY — Proposed rules that would require businesses and developers to do more to protect the city’s tree canopy will be discussed during a committee meeting at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
City Council committee members Brian Miller and Karen Alexander will meet at the city’s new One Stop Development Shop at 132 N. Main St. to discuss rules drafted by the city’s Tree Board, which would amend the city’s landscape ordinance.
Advocates say the rules would protect a valuable natural resource and help fight air pollution. Opponents say the rules would burden businesses and impede development.
Proposed rules include:

• If developers clear land but don’t start construction for one year, they would have two choices — plant at least 36 shade trees (six-to-eight feet tall) per acre, or plant tree seedlings in every 10-by-10-foot area.
• If developers stop construction for one year on land where streets or utilities have been installed, they would have to plant all required trees along the streets as shown on the approved landscape plan.
• Property owners who planted trees to meet the landscape ordinance would need permission from the city to remove and replace those trees. Replacement trees would have to be a certain size.
• No clear cutting on sites larger than 3 acres unless the city has approved the development plan. Property owners must remove all debris. If owners are developing their property in phases, they could not clear cut and grade the entire tract at once.
• New development must have a 30 percent overall tree canopy. That’s one tree per 500 square feet, or 91 trees for a 3.5-acre site.
Miller and Alexander will make a recommendation to City Council at a later date.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.