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Tree preservation plan causes controversy

DES MOINES, Iowa, May 23 (UPI) -- A city zoning commissioner in Des Moines, Iowa, alleges the city council delayed action on a tree preservation ordinance due to pressure from developers.

Zoning official Greg Jones alleges development groups such as Hubbell Realty Co. and Knapp Properties, who have openly opposed the proposed ordinance, likely pushed city council members to delay any action on the preservation motion, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register said Saturday.

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"I don't like the fact that the developers got to the council," Jones alleged regarding the council's May decision. "That's absolutely what happened."

Members of the council have denied such allegations, saying the delay was implemented in order to gain public input regarding the ordinance against large-scale tree removals.

While a final decision on the tree preservation ordinance has been delayed, the Register said Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie has made his take on the topic clear.

"I continue to be fully supportive of a tree ordinance," Cownie said. "Certainly, we want to work with all of the citizens and developers to maintain, renew and develop our urban forest. It's important for the future of our city and the quality of life in and around Des Moines."

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