MOUNT AIRY - A divided Planning Commission approved a proposed ordinance that would require builders to preserve at least 30 percent of existing trees undisturbed in new residential developments.
The tree-preservation measure, which would apply to parcels of 500,000 square feet or larger, passed by a 3-2 vote.
At an industrial or commercial development, 15 percent of the existing trees must be undisturbed, according to the measure.
The proposed ordinance now goes on to the Town Council, which must conduct a public hearing and will make the final decision, possibly in January.
"At least it's a beginning," said Fred Goundry, the commission chairman.
"It's a way we can start controlling the rampant cutting of trees by developers."
Commission members Faye Lopez and Bill Tepig joined Goundry in voting in favor of the measure, while Keith Gehle and Oliver Davis, a member of the Town Council, voted against it.