At their meeting Monday, Chapel Hill Town Council will consider two recommendations on how to best protect the town's trees.
But they're no longer just talking about individual trunks. Preserving tree canopies have entered the discussion as a more comprehensive way to reduce carbon emissions and keep the maintain the town's landscape.
The town defines a tree canopy by the topmost layer of leaves, branches and stems comprising the crowns of trees growing at least 20 feet above the ground.
After more than two years of meetings, discussions, and hearings, the council is poised to decide between two different recommendations on how to best update the Tree Protection Ordinance.
The Planning Board and Town Manager Roger Stancil and staff disagree on the best way to update the ordinance, and what types of properties should be regulated.
Current Town rules require a permit to remove a tree on property larger than 5,000 square feet, but there is no standard for the amount of tree canopy that must be retained or reestablished.
The Planning Board has recommended a provision that would require property owners who develop on more than 5,000 square feet, or about 1/8 of an acre, to adhere to set canopy standard for their property. The amount of canopy required would depend upon the size of the property.
Town Manager Roger Stancil has recommended that coverge standards should only apply to larger developments that require council action and a Special Use Permit.
If the council adopts Stancil's recommendation, there would be no new regulations for single and two-family residential properties and smaller non-residential projects.
What do you think? Should the town extend tree canopy regulations to small properties?
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