Chapel Hill Town Council, area citizens
United States of America

Local residents were shocked and appalled at the recent clear-cutting of the site of the Chapel Hill Retirement Residence on Estes Drive, the Merin Road Community on Homestead Road, Carraway Village on Eubanks Road, and the various development sites in Ephesus-Fordham. Many citizens of Chapel Hill believe that the Town’s Tree Ordinance prevents total loss of canopy trees, especially rare and specimen trees, but that is not the case.

There are major problems with the Tree Ordinance as it is currently written and interpreted. First, in evaluating proposed developments, Town staff regularly interpret the Ordinance so as to equate newly planted saplings with mature trees in calculating the requirements for tree cover. Replacing future canopy coverage can take decades; planting a spindly sapling is not a substitute for a 100 foot oak tree. Canopy trees are identified and then allowed to be cut. Second, violations of the Ordinance are subject only to token fines. Based on these deficiencies, we petition Town Council to revise the Tree Ordinance to achieve the following goals:

1. Maintain existing tree cover. Planting of immature trees should not be allowed to offset removal of existing mature

2. Approval and implementation of any Special Use Permit or Development Agreement should be contingent upon adherence to the Tree Ordinance for the duration of the project.

3. Develop strong penalties that will provide an effective deterrent to violations of the Tree Ordinance.

4. Establish a panel with the authority to override the removal of any rare or specimen tree. Currently, the Town Manager has used his power to grant exceptions to the Tree Ordinance requirements.

The Chapel Hill Needs a Real Tree Protection Ordinance petition to Chapel Hill Town Council, area citizens was written by Julie McClintock and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.

Petition Tags

Chapel Hill trees