Tree Canopy Protection Ordinance Amendments

Happening Now


The City of Asheville is considering amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to require, promote and incentivize the preservation, enhancement and future expansion of the City’s tree canopy.




As supported by Living Asheville (the City’s recently adopted comprehensive plan), the Urban Tree Canopy Study and the NASA DEVELOP Urban Heat Island study, City staff have drafted an ordinance focused on the preservation, enhancement and expansion of the City’s tree canopy as it relates to private land development activity. This ordinance amendment will introduce new requirements for tree canopy preservation and enhancement for all new buildings, new open uses of land (such as parking lots) and expansions of at least 1,500 square feet for buildings and 3,000 square feet for open uses of land. This new section to the UDO will replace the requirements for Tree Save Areas as currently found in Section 7-11-3(d)7. The new Section will work with tree canopy area to preserve canopy and place heavy incentives upon the preservation of existing canopy.


tree preservation vs. new tree canopy options
Incentivizing preservation



March – May 2020 – Urban Forestry Commission Review

July 1, 2020 – Planning and Zoning Commission Review

August 25, 2020 – City Council Public Hearing


Supporting Documents

Project Charter

Draft Ordinance

Presentation to Planning and Economic Development Committee – February 10, 2020

Living Asheville (See goals 5, 20, 23 and 25)

Urban Tree Canopy Study

NASA DEVELOP Urban Heat Island Study

Presentation to Planning and Zoning Commission – July 1, 2020


Contact Information


Chris Collins


Updated 7/9/2020