The City of Asheville is considering amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to require, promote and incentivize the preservation, enhancement and future expansion of the City’s tree canopy.
As supported by Living Asheville (the City’s recently adopted comprehensive plan), the Urban Tree Canopy Study and the NASA DEVELOP Urban Heat Island study, City staff have drafted an ordinance focused on the preservation, enhancement and expansion of the City’s tree canopy as it relates to private land development activity. This ordinance amendment will introduce new requirements for tree canopy preservation and enhancement for all new buildings, new open uses of land (such as parking lots) and expansions of at least 1,500 square feet for buildings and 3,000 square feet for open uses of land. This new section to the UDO will replace the requirements for Tree Save Areas as currently found in Section 7-11-3(d)7. The new Section will work with tree canopy area to preserve canopy and place heavy incentives upon the preservation of existing canopy.
For the average citizen, understanding the details of the proposed ordinance amendment can be challenging. That's why Asheville GreenWorks offered a webinar on the the Tree Canopy Preservation Ordinance (TCPO) Amendment. The recording of the webinar, which included a brief presentation on the ordinance amendment by Chris Collins, Site Planning & Development Manager at City of Asheville, and Q&A with Chris Collins, Ed Macie of the Urban Forestry Commission and Dawn Chávez of Asheville GreenWorks, can be viewed here:
General Highlights from the Webinar
While the TCPO amendment does not achieve zero net tree canopy loss for the City of Asheville, it is an important first step in reversing the trend of losing trees due to the pressures of development.
City officials have given a verbal commitment to establishing a Zero Net Canopy Loss Policy. To that end, the Urban Forestry Commission will submit a Zero Net Canopy Loss resolution to the City Council, for a vote, to complement the Tree Protection Amendment. This resolution promotes an array of policies, management strategies, partnerships, and programs to protect and enhance our urban forest.
Part of the management strategy will be the staffing of a full time professional urban forester, and the development of a comprehensive urban forestry master plan.
Please join us in urging City Council to pass this amendment. Public comment can be submitted in a number of ways:
1. Send a letter to City Council with this easy-to-use form.
2. Leave a pre-recorded voicemail: call 855-925-2801, then enter code 7725.
3. Submit written comments by emailing [email protected].
4. Call in live by signing up in advance at ashevillenc.gov/comments or by calling the Clerk’s office at 828-259-5900, no later than noon Aug. 24. In order to be added to the list of speakers, an individual must provide his/her name, area of residence, phone number the caller will use to listen to the meeting live and join the speaker queue, the item the individual is commenting on (Examples: Consent Agenda, Public Hearing A, Open Public Comment), and an alternative form of contact (for example: text number, email address or a different phone line if a land line will be used to call into the meeting).
*The item to comment on is "Public Hearing B"