Prairie Village could add protections for some trees amid home construction boom

The ordinance would require that existing trees are retained and protected during new home construction and says that if a tree is removed, more than one would be planted in its place. Above, a teardown construction site near 67th Street and Roe. 

The Prairie Village City Council will consider adding tree protection regulations to its city code in the near future.

Why it matters: The intent behind the proposed regulations is to preserve the city’s existing tree canopy and streetscape for “aesthetic, economic and environmental benefits,” according to city documents.

City staff has been working on the ordinance draft since August 2020.

A look at the details: The protection ordinance will apply to all right-of-way trees — that is, trees that are in public right-of-ways, typically between a sidewalk and a street — as well as when trees are involved in any residential structure built on a vacant lot, or when an existing home is torn down. City documents state existing trees will be retained and protected, and if a tree is removed, more than one tree would need to be put back in its place.

Additionally, there are exceptions to the regulations including if a tree is dead, deceased or dying, or if a tree needs to be removed for construction, development or redevelopment (under certain criteria). Additional ordinance details can be found in city documents here.

What’s next: The city will hold a public hearing at a future meeting for residents and others to weigh in on the issue. Following the public hearing, the city council will then formally consider the proposed regulations.