Local News

Raleigh City Council Delays Vote On Proposed Tree Ordinance

Posted December 7, 2004

— Environmentalists and developers will have to wait a few more weeks to find out how Raleigh plans to protect trees. City councilors put off a vote on the issue Tuesday, and they will not take it up again for at least two weeks.

After 19 years of living together, Karen DeVane's three oak trees are like old friends she cannot bear to part with.

"Every fall, I kind of complain to have to rake the leaves, but I love the shade they bring and the character," she said.

"I'm hopeful we can come to a resolution that's practical and sensible for our community," Mayor Charles Meeker said.

The original goal of the ordinance was to prevent widespread clearcutting. But now, some fear the complicated proposal will have a chilling effect on development and will unfairly penalize homeowners.

"As written and as amended, it has enormous problems. It effectively penalizes someone if they cut down a tree on their own property," Councilman Philip Isley said.

"What we're asking for is a simpler ordinance. We don't want to have to hire a forester to determine the basal area to decide whether we can keep the trees or not," developer Rusty Ammons said.

The ordinance as it is currently written will only affect homeowners whose property is two or more acres. It would have the largest impact on developers.

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