In this space we recently expressed skepticism about an ongoing discussion of relaxing some of the county's sign ordinances.
Cautiously we're a little more optimistic about a plan to revise some of the county's tree-protection ordinances. Optimistic, because the ideas are good in principle; cautious, because execution and enforcement will be even more important.
The plan, likely getting tentative county commission approval this week, would allow the developer of a residential subdivision to grade the entire property while setting up individual lots for development.
Here's why this matters. Under current rules, the developer builds the roads and puts in infrastructure, while individual builders purchase lots, bulldoze the home site and put in homes.
Drive through any recently constructed neighborhood and you'll see what can result: Yards that make sharp drops from one to the next, with little continuity.
The revisions would allow the developer to grade all of the sites before selling them at the same time the roads are built into the property. That might take down more trees to start, but the uniform grading would improve the landscape and stormwater runoff, while the changed rules in return would give the county more authority for requiring replanting of trees.
More development is inevitable. If changing the rules can make those developments work better with the environment, so much the better.
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