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Dallas Considers a Major Revision to its Tree Ordinance

Neither environmentalists nor developers like the city’s current regulations around tree removal, but there is praise on both sides for the “smart and nimble” new version.
May 18, 2018, 10am PDT | Katharine Jose
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The existing tree ordinance in Dallas, according to Peter Simek of D Magazine, has the unfortunate distinction of having “been a bane for developers and environmentalists alike.”

But starting this week, the Dallas City Council will be reviewing a revision that Simek calls “a smart and nimble policy that is born out of some long and difficult negotiations.”

For example, while the original ordinance does not distinguish between species of trees, the revision imposes heavy fines removing elms, oaks and pecans but no fines on removal of invasive species; the current ordinance does not take into account the age of trees removedmeaning that a very large tree can be replaced with lots of very small trees that may or may not survivebut the new ordinance tries to take size and survival rate into account.

And the reforestation fund developers pay into, which currently has little oversight, will now go towards creating an “urban forest master plan” and paying someone to implement it.

A number of studies released in recent years show that the quantifiable economic and health benefits of an urban tree canopy far outweigh the costs.

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Published on Monday, May 14, 2018 in D Magazine
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