(a) The Town of Cary may adopt ordinances to regulate the removal and preservation of existing trees and shrubs prior to development within a perimeter buffer zone of up to sixty-five (65) feet along roadways and property boundaries adjacent to developed properties and up to thirty-two (32) feet along property boundaries adjacent to undeveloped properties. All such buffer zones shall be measured from the outside boundary of any property, including property zoned for residential and nonresidential use. The purpose of such ordinances shall be to protect existing trees and shrubs for use as future buffers.
(b) Ordinances adopted pursuant to this section shall be limited to situations where undeveloped property is planned or zoned for residential or nonresidential use in accordance with adopted Town plans and zoning regulations. Such ordinances shall include reasonable provisions for access onto and within the subject property.
(c) Notwithstanding any limitations contained in subsection (a) of this section, the Town may adopt ordinances to regulate the preservation and removal of significant specimen or "champion" trees on sites being planned for new development. Specific standards for identifying and designating such trees, including species and size, shall be incorporated as part of any such ordinance.
(d) Any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall exclude normal forestry activities on property taxed under the present-use value standard or conducted pursuant to a forestry management plan prepared or approved by a forester registered pursuant to Chapter 89B of the General Statutes. However, for such properties, a municipality may deny a building permit or refuse to approve a site or subdivision plan for a period of five years following harvest if all or substantially all of the perimeter buffer trees which should have been protected were removed from the tract of land for which the permit or plan approval is sought.
(e) Before adopting an ordinance authorized by this section, the Council shall hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance. Notice of the public hearing shall be given in accordance with G.S. 160A-364.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or be limited by any provisions of App. 2.12. or any other existing laws or ordinances.
(N.C.S.L. Ch. 2001-191; Ord. No. 06-001, § 9, 2-9-2006)