LEGISLATIVE ACTION REQUIRED: Tree Ordinance
There is a proposal in the NC legislature to remove municipalities’ authority to enact tree ordinances. This is the proposed legislation:
SECTION 3. G.S. 160A-458.5 reads as rewritten:
"§ 160A-458.5. Restriction of certain forestry activities prohibited.
(b) A city shall not adopt or enforce any ordinance, rule, regulation, or resolution that regulates:
(1) Forestry activity on forestland that is taxed on the basis of its present-use
value as forestland under Article 12 of Chapter 105 of the General Statutes.
(2) Forestry activity that is conducted in accordance with a forest management
plan that is prepared or approved by a forester registered in accordance with
Chapter 89B of the General Statutes.
(3) The removal, replacement, and preservation of trees on private property within its jurisdiction.
It would strip local governments of their authority to regulate tree removal and tree preservation, and seemingly strips any local authority previously granted. In 1997 House Bill 437 authorized the Town of Davidson, and several other municipalities, to adopt ordinances regulating removal, replacement, and preservation of trees within town limits. This proposed legislation will harm our community’s ability to promote growth of trees and general community appearance and character, preserve historic natural resources, enhance real estate values, control for storm water pursuant to federal mandates, protect trees during construction, and protect historic and "heritage" trees from removal.
This proposed legislation was presented for the first time last week to the Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commission. The committee voted to recommend the proposal to the 2014 General Assembly without any discussion. Now that the committee has voted to recommend this draft legislation, it is eligible for introduction during the 2014 Short Session in the next few weeks. It still needs to pass both the House and Senate and go through the Governor before becoming law.
Please contact our state representatives [http://www.ciclt.net/sn/pol/po_list.aspx?ClientCode=nclm&State=nc&List=sthouse&Title=SenatebyName] and senators [http://www.ciclt.net/sn/pol/po_list.aspx?ClientCode=nclm&State=nc&List=stsenate&Title=SenatebyName] and let them know that you oppose legislation restricting municipalities' ability to enact tree ordinances. Representatives Thom Tillis [http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/members/membersByDistrict.pl?sChamber=H&nDistrict=98] , and Charlie Jeter [http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/members/membersByDistrict.pl?sChamber=H&nDistrict=92] and Senator Jeff Tarte [http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/members/membersByDistrict.pl?sChamber=S&nDistrict=41] would be appropriate contacts representing our area.
Losing our tree ordinance would be significant.
A summary of the April 8, 2014 board of commissioners meeting:
Mayor John Woods acknowledged our 37 Civics 101 graduates. We appreciate the dedication of these citizens who spent eight weeks learning about our local government. For more information on our program, please visit www.townofdavidson.org/Civics101 [http://www.townofdavidson.org/Civics101] . We will announce registration for next year’s session in December.
Courtney Spear of the Davidson Farmer’s Market gave an update on the market.
Mecklenburg County Commissioner Karen Bentley (District 1), Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller, and County Manager Dena Diorio visited to introduce themselves and give an update. Commissioner Trevor Fuller stated that county revenues are over projection, they expect to be done with revaluation review by the end of the year, and they are preparing for the next revaluation.
The items on the consent agenda (meeting minutes, budget amendment approval, tax refund from revaluation process) were all approved by the board of commissioners.
The board of commissioners were asked to consider a resolution to enter into an agreement with the NC local government employees’ retirement system to provide death benefits to Town of Davidson employees. This will replace existing town-funded life insurance, saving $3,120 annually. The board approved this resolution and the benefits will start July 1.
The board of commissioners expressed support for a citizen-led group to raise funds to benefit the Davidson Police Department in the event an officer loses his/her life in the line of duty.
Finance Director Cindy Jones led a discussion on the budget. The board of commissioners asked to add $50,000 to “Needs List” to make a total of $150,000 for the Davidson Pedestrian Master Plan (Walks and Rolls Plan) Priorities list for the creation of new sidewalks around town.
Public Works and Projects Manager Doug Wright discussed options for leaf collection and is gathering more data before the board of commissioners decides on a plan. Providing the service would cost about $32 per household annually.
Planning Manager Ben McCrary discussed the planning ordinance re-write, specifically addressing driveways, how to handle parking requirements in the village core overlay district (Main Street between Jackson and Depot streets), and tree preservation. We require a permit for tree removal ( www.townofdavidson.org/treepermit [http://www.townofdavidson.org/treepermit] ) for a tree larger than 10 inches at breast height.
A summary of the April 25 Work Session:
Town Attorney Rick Kline gave an update on the Davidson Green School. An appeal to superior court of the October 14, 2013 board of adjustment decision contested our planning department’s decision to allow the home at South Main Street to be used for a school. The court ruled on April 24 that the appeal should be dismissed, and cannot be brought back at any level.
Mayor John Woods proclaimed May 12-16 as Small Business Week. For information on the Lake Norman Chamber’s kick-off event, please visit https://www.lakenormanchamber.org/events/event-calendar/small-business-week-kick-off-event-at-the-peninsula-club,-19101-peninsula-club-drive,-cornelius.html [https://www.lakenormanchamber.org/events/event-calendar/small-business-week-kick-off-event-at-the-peninsula-club,-19101-peninsula-club-drive,-cornelius.html]
Matt Merrell, Executive Director of the Davidson Community Players (DCP), gave a presentation and thanked the board of commissioners for their support of DCP over the years (they are in their 49th year). In 2008, the town partnered with DCP to buy and renovate the Armour Street Theater. They do 8 shows per year, bring about 14,000 patrons to town for their shows annually, and also offer camps for children. DCP gives a great opportunity for citizens to engage in the arts.
Commissioner Anderson: The Lake Norman Economic Development Corporation has 32 active projects and shared metrics on office space occupancy. Davidson’s vacancy rate is 1.9%
The Arts and Science Council’s fund raising campaign ended on April 30.
Commissioner Cashion: The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce celebrateed the anniversary of International Kitchen and Bath in Sadler’s Square on Wednesday, April 30. It is sponsoring a Small Business Week kick-off event on May 12 at the Peninsula Club in Cornelius from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Call 704-892-1922 for details.
Commissioner Fuller: The Ada Jenkins Center has a Sponsor Appreciation Reception at Copeland, Richards and Anderson on Tuesday, May 6 at 5:30 p.m. There is a ribbon-cutting for the new health facilities at the Ada Jenkins Center, sponsored by the Davidson Rotary Club, on May 13 at 5:30 p.m.
Commissioner Graham: Visit Lake Norman announces the International Senior Softball Association Tournament at Bradford Park May 2 – 4.
Hershey’s Track and Field Games is May 10. Davidson Parks and Recreation is a sponsor.
NC USTA Adult State Tennis Championships takes place June 26 - 29 in the Lake Norman region.
Commissioner Jenest: Lake Norman Transportation Commission update -- They have a successful bidder for managed lane project on I-77 and are reviewing the proposal now. Construction will begin spring 2015.
There is a transportation summit in September with a focus on east-west connectivity. They hope to draw Denver and Lincoln County into conversation to discuss Route 150.
Mayor Woods: Metropolitan Transportation Commission met April 23. The small task force on the Red Line will meet to discuss Norfolk Southern. Secretary of NC Department of transportation Tony Tata met with region’s elected officials and he is very focused on the Red Line and communications with Norfolk Southern.
Finance Director Cindy Jones presented a tentative FY 2014-2015 budget. A link to the budget can be found at www.townofdavidson.org/finance [http://www.townofdavidson.org/finance] after the May 13 public hearing.
The Davidson Parks and Recreation Master Plan Steering Committee seeks input from all citizens via an online survey available at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Davidson_Parks_Rec [https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Davidson_Parks_Rec] Citizens are encouraged to complete the survey by May 8.
The April Town Message newsletter is available at this link: www.townofdavidson.org/newsletter [http://www.townofdavidson.org/newsletter]
May is National Bike Month. Walk and Bike to School Day is Wednesday, May 7. Davidson Parks and Recreation is partnering with Active Routes to School and our local schools to encourage children to walk and bike to school. Contact your school for more details. Bike to Work Week is May 12-16.
SMALL BUSINESS WEEK is May 12-16, 2014, so please help support our local businesses. Visit www.townofdavidson.org/turnaroundshopintown for our monthly specials – May features clothing, shoes and dry cleaning.
The towns of Mooresville and Davidson are accepting applications for the MI-Connection Board of Directors through May 14. Please visit www.mi-connection.com [http://www.mi-connection.com/] for more information and to apply.
Half- and Full-Day Summer Camps for Ages 3 to 16
The Parks and Recreation Department summer camps are now open for registration. We offer a variety of half-day and full-day camps for ages 3 to 16 for full weeks, beginning June 16 through the week of August 18. Our camps vary with sports, art, technology, science, drama, Legos, and much more. Most of the camps include indoor and outdoor activities, plus opportunities for fun, friendship, and exploration. For more information, visit us online at www.townofdavidson.org or call us at (704) 892-3349.
Current Public Works Projects Update:
Roosevelt Wilson Park Griffith Street Bridge
The town has an application in review with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for this project. We are optimistic that the application will be approved this spring, with work starting early summer. Work was halted on the project last fall when Duke Energy notified the town that the FERC approval was required. The new bridge will have two fishing piers.
McEver Field Lights
We will improve lighting for two fields – the Pony and Bronco – in July. Lighting was installed on the Mustang Field last summer.
Roundabouts Pedestrian Beacons
The town will install pedestrian beacons at our Griffith Street roundabout crossings. The beacons for these four crossings are funded through a Safe Routes to School grant from the NC Department of Transportation. The expected completion date is July 31.
Robert-Walker Drive/Davidson-Concord Road Pedestrian Beacons
The town will also be installing pedestrian beacons at this intersection in July.
Potts, Sloan, Beaty Street corridor plan
The town board will be considering plans for the connection of and improvement to this corridor during their May meetings.
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