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Thread: Landscaping and tree protection questions

  1. #26
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Blog entries

    ahh.....yeah...in theory....

    Quote Originally posted by Jeff View post
    FWIW, topsoil is useless in construction, and is stripped prior to building anyway. Then it is stockpiled, and typically spread on the lawns.
    If a developer can make a buck off the stuff, it will never see that property again...... unless the note is a requirement of the development plan.....good point.
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  2. #27
    Jun 2007
    I am going to avoid the planner good developer bad bit just so I don't get a yellow card on my second post.

    Its been years since I have seen it but I thought Mt. Pleasant SC had a fairly good tree ordinance. The question I need to ask is what outcome do you want to achieve? Individual houses surrounded by trees or forest preservation? Most ordinances are designed to provide the minimum amount of tree cover post development. I have worked on a university forest policy that is intended to limit the amount of tree removal and provide for a no net loss of canopy.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
    Dec 2001
    Mr. Cool Ice
    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    If a developer can make a buck off the stuff, it will never see that property again...... unless the note is a requirement of the development plan.....good point.

    This is incorrect. It is used on lawns and berms. You do not use structural material for this.

    I've said it a zillion times....if a developer/development practice that goes on is something that bothers you or the people you work for....you ammend your ordinance to prohibit it.

    That is your job. Your job is not to sit around and b*tch and moan about the developer who selling the topsoil from the property that he owns. It is his.

  4. #29
    Jan 2007
    North Carolina
    TO DAN: Thanks for moderating......! This thread got off the origional question.

    "Where can I find....."

    Quick answer: MUNICODE.COM

    Pick a State.
    Pick a city or county.
    Then read, read, read!

    USA is a big country with lots of climates from desert to mountain to coastal !
    One size does not fit all.......but if the shoe fits wear it!

    Good hunting,

  5. #30
    Oct 2006
    Aliquippa Pa
    I feel the need to throw my 2 cents into this discussion, being the guy who actually knocks the trees down and pushes the topsoil into a pile...

    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    If a developer can make a buck off the stuff, it will never see that property again...... unless the note is a requirement of the development plan.....good point.
    For the same reason that developers are now required to go to the added expense of building stormwater retention facilites (specifically that they add hard surfaces; roads, driveways, roofs, patios, etc, and those hard surfaces shed storm water more quickly than the former topsoil covered forests and fields), not all the topsoil that's stripped from a site needs to stay there. You've coverd those square feet of ground with houses and asphalt. As it is, the topsoil may be thicker than is needed to support you average lawn and planting areas.. Why waste it by forcing it to stay on a site where it's not needed?

    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    In many parts of the country, wooded parcels are cleared before development, so topsoil can be scraped and sold. Think about it - somene can scrape the topsoil, and later sell it back to the new homeowner at the local DIY store.
    On the site I worked at yesterday, the developer is taking the topsoil that came from the road ROW and trucking it to another site to be used as fill. I thought that was stupid, and personally called a friend in the landscape supply business. He told me they'd take it if it was free, and in most cases they won't pay more than 50 cents a cubic yard for it. Raw topsoil (at least as it comes out of woodlands), isn't worth much. Now, once they run it through their screening and shredding machine, they get $16/yd for it. At least here, the big money in selling topsoil doesn't go to the developer.

    Included in the price of a new home, there's a landscaping allowance. The buyer chooses how much they want to spend over and above that. One of the last things I do before the site is turned over to the landscaping contractor is to spread topsoil from the stockpile back over all the disturbed areas that don't have house or pavement on them. In many cases, it'll end up thicker than what was there to begin with.

    On the subject of trees...

    Here in western PA. the topography is such that almost all development creates cuts and fills of more than a few inches. There are very few "tabletop" lots left, if there ever were any. You can't fill over the base of a tree and expect it to survive, and you sure can't cut beneath it. Furthermore, the older and larger a tree is, the more difficult it is to save, because the root system covers more area. Even running over the root system with heavy equipment will kill them.

    All of the above, I consider to be statements of fact. What follows is either anecdotal, or personal opinion.

    Except in rare circumstances, dictated more by happy coincidence than painstaking design work, existing trees and development cannot coexist. (In other parts of the world, that may not hold as true.)

    The most militant of the "tree nazi" communities in my metropolitan area is also one of the richest and most exclusive. I honestly don't believe that is due to those captains of industry that reside there having a "green" mindset, as much as it is that the more restrictive the regulations, the higher the cost of development. High cost =exclusivity. Their interest is more in keeping the price of admission into their world out of the reach of most of the rest of us than it is in saving trees. Either that or, it's a case of "IMBYism" (as oppose to NIMBYism). They like having trees in their backyard, and have the clout to keep them there.

  6. #31

    A response

    You should check out the Ocala, FL code. (municode.com) Most of it was written over 25 years ago, when the town was very small and was (and still is) ver pro-development. I think it's a real exercise in moderation. I personally, not my professional opinion, would like to see it a lot stricter; hence, the moderation.

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