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Model Tree Protection Ordinance

This version of a model regulation for Tree Canopy Cover Management has been developed for the purposes of discussion with community leaders, arborists, technical experts, and the development community in Ohio. It has not yet received full legal review and/or endorsement or adoption by any entity.

This model represents a strong departure from traditional tree protection regulations. It does not require protection of any class of trees. Instead it focuses on the stormwater, health and safety benefits of trees in communities over the long term. Quality of the tree living environment is prioritized over tree size and retention. Specific decisions about the balance of preserved and new trees on development sites, and which trees are preserved, are largely left to the discretion of the applicant, within overall 30-year performance standards. Negotiation and evaluation of tradeoffs, particularly cost, are encouraged.

Recognizing the extensive health and safety, economic and property benefits that result from established urban forests, this draft was prepared with input from professional public and private industry arborists, watershed and stormwater experts, and municipal leaders. A list of participating advisors is included. It is hoped that further discussion will help to refine the elements of a tree canopy cover management regulation that can maximize the benefits to communities, families, businesses, and property owners.