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Higher tree canopy goal wins OK, despite protests from developers

A goal to have 50-percent tree canopy coverage by 2050 in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County won approval from the City Council Monday, despite protests by developers.

The move increases by 1 percent the tree coverage goal for the county and outlying extra-territorial communities in a 375-square-mile area that may someday be annexed into the city.

Only two council members, Warren Cooksey and Michael Barnes, voted against the increase.

Cooksey questioned the aspirations of the city’s environmental committee and how development would be affected by the demands for a larger tree canopy.

“The more you try to concentrate green space in an area that’s supposed to be urban, the more you push the development out into green fields,” Cooksey said. “There’s been no study done about the potential impact to the region.”

He also pointed out what he called contradictory city policies, like the centers, corridors and wedges policy, which says most of the trees making up the tree canopy will be included in wedges, meaning residential areas. But the city’s recently passed housing locational policy aims to increase density in those wedges, potentially reducing the number of trees that could be grown or planted, he said.

“I’m not sure how these things interact,” Cooksey said. “That’s the reason for my ‘no’ vote.”

Charlotte developers have questioned why the city is pushing for more canopy coverage when more development is expected to meet the needs of a growing population.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at tara.ramsey@mecktimes.com.

2 comments

  1. This whole study is skewed and their goals are unrealisitic. They do not take into account any of the new regulations that are already in place in their calculation and are comparing Urban Charlotte to other “urban centers” like Radford VA. Don’t know where that is? Google it and tell them if you agree it is an apples to apples comparison. Dense and urban is green. Concentrating man’s footprint in as small a geographic area as possible results in a lower carbon output per person, less impervious area per person, etc. To put on the blinders and just look at tree cover in a dense urban area is narrow-minded. Let’s have more trees and push development outward….. ????

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