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Charlotte Adopts Rules to Preserve Trees in New Subdivisions

(March 18, 2002) At its meeting tonight, the Charlotte City Council amended the Charlotte City Code to add language in the Tree Ordinance to limit clear cutting of trees in single-family residential developments. The change requires retention of at least 10% of the existing tree canopy and offers incentives to developers who exceed the standards by allowing more homes than otherwise would be allowed. Developers also must preserve most larger trees and plant new trees along streets. 

The city's Tree Ordinance already requires preservation and planting of trees in commercial developments, but now residential developments are covered as well. 

The change not only applies to areas within Charlotte but also in the Charlotte extraterritorial planning and zoning jurisdiction (ETJ), which includes all of the unincorporated portion of Steele Creek.

Much of Charlotte already is developed, but the new rules will have a major impact on areas such as Steele Creek that expect a significant amount of new development in upcoming years.

New residential developments in Steele Creek will be significantly different from those built in the past due recent changes in development policies such as the new tree and sidewalk requirements and restrictions on cul-de-sacs. Expect city planners to continue to be aggressive in developing new rules that will shape the future of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.