2014 National Planning Excellence Awards: Best Practice

Urban Forestry Code Revisions Project

Tigard, Oregon

Tigard's Urban Forestry Code Revisions Project was a multi-year effort resulting in a comprehensive rewrite of regulations relating to trees in both development and non-development situations. The resulting code is a novel approach that requires new development and redevelopment projects to provide a percentage of canopy coverage on its lots. Typical forestry codes often focus on the number of trees or caliper inches per lot area, but do not take into consideration the growth and maturation of trees.

The new code is flexible and incentive-based to help the city achieve its goal of 40 percent citywide tree canopy by 2047 and preserve the community's remaining grove of native trees, without unduly impeding development. Developers have four options that can be combined to meet the effective tree canopy requirements: preservation, planting, fee-in-lieu, or discretionary review. The Tree Grove Preservation Incentives make it possible to preserve existing tree groves while meeting development objectives. The code was developed through a collaborative process that brought together typically feuding parties. The plan also included extensive public involvement through open houses and committees.

The new code if flexible and offers developers four tree canopy options that can be combined to meet the effective tree canopy requirements.