North Port balances tree laws and respect for private property
NORTH PORT - As part of rewriting the city's tree protection regulations, the North Port City Commission has decided to base a new ordinance on Sarasota County's.
The ordinance is being considered due to a new state law that preempts local government tree ordinances between March 1 and June 1, allowing owners of residential property to trim and remove trees without a permit in preparation for hurricane season.
The city is working to maintain homeowners' rights, as well as 35% tree coverage within the city limits — including private property, parks and other public land.
Currently North Port requires 50% of trees planted to be native species. Bumping that up to 75% and the thought of requiring an individual homeowner to maintain a 35% tree canopy ran afoul of private property rights.
The board settled for keeping the requirement at 50% native trees.