CAROLINA BEACH — New development is a part of life in the Cape Fear Region as more and more new residents move to the coast, but with development comes the inevitable removal of trees. That is why Carolina Beach is considering a new ordinance to help limit the number of trees removed during construction and to replace those that are lost.
According to Assistant Town Manager of Carolina Beach Ed Parvin, Town Council directed the Planning and Zoning Board to look into current regulations and compare them with other cities.
Staff has compiled some options for the Planning Board to consider, but no actual ordinance is being proposed yet.
“The item on Thursday will be for discussion to look at some tree preservation options that have been incorporated in other communities and determine if we want to move forward with drafting a more restrictive code for tree preservation,” Parvin said.
What is the tree code?
Although Carolina Beach encourages the preservation of trees, there is currently no requirement for developers to replace or preserve trees.
“The code currently requires landscaping for multi-family, major subdivisions, and commercial properties. The code encourages the preservation of existing landscaping but there are no requirements to keep it,” Parvin said.
Town staff has prepared three different options:
- Must keep trees that are not in the construction footprint and replace the trees that are removed with one for one
- Must provide tree planting at the end of construction, but no requirement to keep trees
- Keep existing ordinance that exempt single and two-family dwellings from meeting landscaping requirements.
Cities like Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, and Emerald Isle explicitly require tree preservation, while others like Kure Beach, Kitty Hawk, and Atlantic Beach only encourage it.
Planning staff is requesting the Planning Board look at the different options and offer guidance on which way they would like to take the ordinance. There are no proposed changes to the town code yet and if any changes were suggested the Town Council would have final say.
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