New Tree Ordinance Promotes Healthy Communities Through Tree Preservation

Bulldozer in wooded area

A new tree ordinance approved by City Council in May is starting to branch out, and the City of Gastonia wants to give developers and business owners the information they need when planning for expansion. The ordinance was unanimously approved by City Council at their May 5, 2020 City Council meeting.

“We want to encourage developers and business owners to think ahead when identifying expansion projects on public and private property throughout the City,” said Assistant City Manager Quentin McPhatter. “The goal is to develop policies and guidelines that preserve and maintain existing trees and planting new ones. It’s also about sustaining a tree canopy that supports a healthy community through better air quality, shade, groundwater preservation, and other amenities.”

After assessing its strategic plan for managing its urban tree forest, the City determined a new ordinance was needed to address the maintenance and removal of existing trees on City owned property and public rights of way. The new ordinance does not affect homeowners of single-family residences or duplexes.

More details of the new tree ordinance:

  • The ordinance is similar to those adopted by other cities of similar size or larger in North Carolina.
  • Creates a seven-member advisory committee to oversee the new ordinance.
  • Requires permits for any planning, removal, trimming, or cutting of trees.
  • Requires public and private utilities to provide plan for working around trees in the right of way.
  • Outlines specific tree planning requirements for residential subdivision development, suburban commercial development, urban zones, and parking areas.

More information about the new tree ordinance can be obtained on the City’s website at: