Skip to main content

Cottonwood Heights Journal

Tree care and landscape options part of proposed city ordinance

May 26, 2020 10:38AM ● By Justin Adams

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

Cottonwood Heights city planners and staff members are working to draft a Public Trees and Park Strips Ordinance. This ordinance aims to set citywide regulations for the development and maintenance of park strips within public right of way. In addition, this ordinance attempts to balance options for property owners for maintaining trees and landscaping within park strips adjacent to their property. 

“The language is aimed at tree preservation,” said Community and Economic Development Director Michael Johnson. 

The ordinance allows the city to “take care of trees in the right of way, develops design standards, and establishes maintenance,” as per Chapter 12.04 in the city’s Code of Ordinances. 

“The proposed ordinance will strike a balance between hardscape and landscape where 50% hardscape will be acceptable as long as its permeable,” said Senior Planner Matt Taylor on Feb. 6. 

When developing this draft ordinance, city planners were in conversations with urban foresters. In these conversations, focus was paid to property values, as they have the potential to rise from mature street trees. 

In addition, air quality within the city may be improved with consideration for trees. Mature trees can absorb around 48 pounds of CO2 every year. And at full maturity, trees produce nearly 260 pounds of oxygen per year, which is enough to sustain two human beings. 

After collaborating on the draft ordinance, Community and Economic Development staff members sat down with various departments within the city, such as the Public Works Department and the Cottonwood Heights Police Department, to receive feedback and recommendations. 

The draft then went to the Cottonwood Heights Planning Commission for their consideration in March. During their meeting for discussion, there were no public comments. 

In April, the Planning Commission voted and ultimately recommended approval to pass the ordinance. 

As of publication, the ordinance will have to come to the city council in a work session to go through the ordinance. Once the city councilmembers have provided feedback, the ordinance will come up for a vote in a final approval process.