Land Development Code Chapter 10 Update

On July 24, 2019, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the tree canopy ordinance to Metro Council, which asked for changes that: 1) Enhance the Tree Canopy, 2) Increase Preservation, and 3) Discourage Clear Cutting Prior to Development. A summary of the changes recommended by Planning Commission is below. Metro Council will begin reviewing the following changes:

Enhance the Tree Canopy:

  • Tree canopy provided for suburban form districts only (Single Family 40%, Office/Multi-family/Commercial 35%)
  • Industrial requires 25% tree canopy
  • Planted trees receive full canopy credit for each tree (1200 SF per tree)
  • Reduction in the minimum caliper tree required to be planted to 1 ½” caliper (does not apply to street trees).
  • Street trees required for all uses in all forms.

Increase Preservation:

  • Sites that are 50% to 100% covered in existing tree canopy are required to preserve 20% of that canopy. A staff approvable 10% reduction in the 20% is permitted with conditions.
  • Existing tree canopy preserved receives twice the credit
  • Tree removal permit for non-residential and multi-family sites where a landscape plan was/is required.

Discourage Clear-cutting:

  • Development applications for Subdivision, Rezonings and Conditional Use permits may not be filed where an owner has removed 20%+ a site’s trees within two years prior to the application.

The recommended changes to the tree canopy ordinance were developed after roughly nine months of collaboration with residents and stakeholders. For the Planning Commission's recommended changes, click here.

Metro Council passed a resolution on Oct. 11, 2018, requiring Planning & Design Services to review of Chapter 10 of the Land Development Code, which concerns trees, landscaping, and open space, in an effort to preserve and increase Louisville’s tree canopy. The updates to Chapter 10 of the Land Development Code will only affect tree canopy requirements for development applications submitted to Planning & Design Services.

The update follows a tree ordinance aimed at preserving and increasing the tree canopy on public rights of way, which was passed by Metro Council in 2017.

Changes related to tree requirements were last reviewed in 2014. Increases to preservation and planting requirement were deferred at that time pending the completion of an Urban Tree Canopy Assessment. The Assessment was complete in 2015 and showed a loss in tree canopy from 2004 to 2012 and predicted further losses without changes to City requirements.