Last week, I told you about the Dallas Urban Forest Advisory Committee’s public meeting, where neighbors had a chance to voice their thoughts about changes to the city’s landscape and tree ordinances.

I followed up with UFAC Chair Steve Houser, who has worked with developers and urban forest advocates for the past two years. He told me that the proposed changes were mostly well-received by the public.

The existing 1994 ordinance is criticized by many tree advocates for its lack of tree preservation, while building industry leaders claim that the time-consuming process of removing trees limits affordable construction.

Because both sides can’t see eye-to-eye, Houser says a switch to an incentive-based program makes sense. The committee has therefore introduced a new "matrix," which will assign tree mitigation credits to developers based on how many trees they preserve. The tree mitigation credit matrix will offer incentives or credits for sustainable development design, landscape and location, as well as quality tree conservation.

"Incentives can be more successful than dictating a stringent policy that is tough to enforce," Houser says. "By encouraging responsible land use, many important goals can be achieved regarding the future sustainability of Dallas as well as our region."

Although Houser points out that city officials may further amend the revisions, the committee is still accepting tree ordinance suggestions until Wednesday, July 1. You can email your comments to Bill Seaman, UFAC development and city codes team leader. And you can read more about how the committee calculates these of tree mitigation credits here.