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City Council wants to hear from public on tree rules

SALISBURY — The public will have the chance to comment on proposed tree rules when City Council takes up the issue again at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
City Council held an initial public hearing for the proposed text amendment on April 2 but did not take action and instead assigned the case to a committee for further review and clarification.
Committee members Brian Miller and Karen Alexander reported to their fellow City Council members last month. The council decided to set a second public hearing for additional public input prior to taking any action.
City Council meets in City Hall, 217 S. Main St.
The proposed ordinance would still allow clear cutting under certain circumstances but would not require replanting as many trees or as quickly as first suggested. The draft rules still require a 30 percent tree canopy for commercial and residential developments but don’t apply to single-family homes.
Air pollution prompted the regulation. Salisbury and Rowan County are part of a designated non-attainment area, a large region around Charlotte with poor air quality.
Developers rejected the original draft, which they said would have hampered commercial and industrial recruitment and hurt economic development. Since then, city officials and private developers have compromised on proposed tree rules designed to help clean up the air in Salisbury.
If the rules pass, developers could still clear cut but would have to submit to a plan to the city first.
After clear cutting, developers would have to clean up the site.
Replanting requirements — the most controversial part of the proposed rules — would kick in if a site has been cleared but then nothing happens. After two to five years, depending on circumstances, owners would have three choices: plant at least 36 shade trees per acre, plant tree seedlings in every 10-by-10-foot area or pay the city $150 for each tree they don’t plant.
They also could do a combination of the three options.
Copies of the draft ordinance are available at the city’s One Stop Shop for Development, 132 N. Main St.
Also on Tuesday’s agenda:

• Mayor Paul Woodson will proclaim Constitution Week and Fire Prevention Week.
• City Council will consider rezoning about 100 acres at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and amending the existing Conditional District Overlay to permit the development of a 29,625-square-foot addition to RCCC Building 600, with parking and pedestrian improvements.
City Council will receive a presentation from staff and hold a public hearing.
The Salisbury Planning Board last month voted unanimously to recommend approval to City Council.
• City Council will receive a report and hold a public hearing regarding the fiscal year 2012 Consolidated Annual Planning and Evaluation Report for Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs.
Activity highlights for the past year include the sale of 209 S. Lee St. for private redevelopment, which is now open as Emma’s of Salisbury, as well as the installation of new sidewalk and bus shelter on West Caldwell Street in the Jersey City neighborhood.
Two homeowners in the low-to-moderate income range received housing rehabilitation assistance. Two recently rehabilitated homes are on the market for sale.
Westridge Village, a 48-unit low income housing tax credit apartment community, opened in March 2012.
Finally, an application was submitted to N.C. Housing Finance for the first phase of Civic Park redevelopment, an 80-unit low income housing tax credit apartment community, which was awarded in August.
• Public comments.

• City Manager Doug Paris’ comments.
• The Rowan County Tourism Development Authority will host Kids’ Night Out from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday in downtown Salisbury.
• La Fiesta de Rowan 2013 will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. Sept. 28 in the 100 block of Fisher Street. The event is sponsored by the Hispanic Coalition, a sub-committee of the Human Relations Council.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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