Walton County Planning Director Mac Carpenter brought a request before County Commissioners to amend the Land Development Code on Monday to establish tree protection requirements and to schedule staff-level public workshops regarding the proposed amendment.

The proposed LDC changes would implement policy of the Comprehensive Plan requiring the county to adopt requirements in its LDC for the protection and preservation of landmark trees.

"This will give us the opportunity to meet with the public and those interested in preserving heritage trees," said Carpenter. "We have protection in DeFuniak Springs, a Tree City USA, and in Point Washington planned developments of magnolia, longleaf pine, and live oak."

District 1 Commissioner Bill Chapman asked if there would be exceptions for agriculture, and Carpenter said there will be.

District 5 Commissioner Tony Anderson noted that the next big growth will be north of the bay and he expressed concerns of stunting the growth in the north end of the county.

"This would be a companion to good development, not a stifle," said Carpenter.

Allen French, executive director of Trees on the Coast, told commissioners that he moved to the Emerald Coast from a town in Georgia that had adopted a similar ordinance and he assured them it will not stifle development.

"It just gives the county more control," said French.

The request passed.