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Developers, environmentalists at odds over city proposal

Proposed changes to the city’s post-construction control ordinance are pitting developers against environmentalists.

The proposal would eliminate duplicative “tree save” requirements that also appear in the city’s recently approved tree ordinance and change the stormwater-control requirements for redeveloped sites, potentially making it easier for developers to build in urban areas, said Daryl Hammock, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services’ water quality and environmental permitting manager.

At a City Council hearing Monday, many of the speakers against the proposed changes said removing the PCCO’s tree-save requirement would reduce the number of trees saved. Altering the stormwater requirements would negatively impact streams in the city, they said.

The council sent the proposed ordinance changes to the council’s environmental committee, which is expected to consider them during its 3:45 p.m. Aug. 22 meeting.

Councilman Andy Dulin said the proposed changes could mean more jobs by making redevelopment of urban areas more feasible.

“I do love trees and we are going to be protecting them in other ordinances,” he said. “But we are double-dipping on the people who are trying to build this community.”

Dulin, who said the city has budgeted $700,000 a year to plant new trees, also commended city staff for finding ways to make ordinances more efficient. He said that because there are requirements in the PCCO and the tree ordinance that affect development, there are two city staffers looking at the same tree.

“This council made a commitment to trees, but we also made a commitment to jobs, and until somebody puts capital at risk, borrows money and builds a building that can be leased to a small business, until that happens there are zero jobs made,” he said, adding, “zero new people get work and kids moving in here after college, well, we got nothing for them.”

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

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