Trees tend to be an awfully convenient excuse for other things we don't want. Somehow building wide streets and driveways like parking lots is a nonissue, but when an unwanted sidewalk comes into play, there's suddenly an abundant concern for the health of trees. I think teardown opponents may be using a similar tactic. Trees are, in fact, a renewable resource -- and a finite life. The most beautiful old trees may only have 20 years or less left.
However, this ordinance seems reasonably balanced. Sounds like developers are just scraping lots for convenience of being able to build the spec home without any thought to the landscape. These are expensive, high-quality homes, and they can afford to plan around trees.
Wow, I am really going to have to disagree with a lot here. I am from the Browndale area of SLP, right next to Brookside that was mentioned earlier. Clear cutting trees is absolutely an issue people take seriously, whether it is for homes or widening roads, driveways, or new homes at least from my experience in SLP. Also, high quality? Well I may be biased...but the 1.1 million dollar house that was put up within a couple months over the winter behind my parents house has already had a cracked foundation and roof problems. That same developer is building a house next door and cleared a few lovely 100 year old Burr Oaks. Burr oaks easily live to be 500. This guy has built at least 5 in the hood so far, and while the finishes may be nice, the quality of construction is nothing to brag about. It also doesn't help that the guy is an ass! I have actually been there one of the times he approached my mother and basically told her that her home and the other ones around her were "junky old houses that he would pay cash for to take off people's hands". Well we are talking about solid 1930s-late 40s homes worth 300-450k as it is.
You have assumed a lot in your post about the intentions of people in areas like this. I am not necessarily opposed to teardowns...though on a board like this I am surprised to see many come to their defense. In the case of Browndale, many of the tear down replacements are much more outer ring suburban in characteristics than neighboring homes, and are not adding any density. Still SFH. I think we just need better guidelines on how to handle the relatively new situation in the areas this is suddenly happening all over the place in addition to the vague rules that were already in place, and it looks like that is happening. I guess I am sort of a tree hugger, but I am almost offended, well I guess I am actually offended, to see someone say "they are just 100+ year old trees, they are renewable" and that people in the neighborhoods are using them as excuses to stop change. SMH
I have seen some nice, "responsible" teardowns, as mentioned earlier...it seems to me those are most often done by individuals coming into the neighborhood and hiring an architect. The problems seem to come when a developer comes in and thinks they can take over a whole area with their "bigger better homes"....that are pre-fab fiber board with a 3 car garage. The people that come in and actually love the neighborhood are the ones that take great care to make nice homes, and tend to not clear cut healthy trees or build giant garages in front. Not to ramble on, but an interesting example is the old Sidell property up the hill on morningside road. That was an old jumble of strange 7k sq foot house on a huge lot. The family knew any buyer would want to subdivide, but didn't want to act as the developer...so they put all kinds of stipulations in the contract on how many trees the new developer must save, and worked pretty closely with them on plans. The family has a great love for trees and gardening. Will be interested to see how that turns out.