Cedar Park and Leander have policies in place to preserve heritage trees as development progresses.

“It is important to protect heritage trees because they are a valuable part of our natural and cultural landscape,” Cedar Park spokesperson Jennie Huerta said. “In many cases they are our oldest living objects and can often be associated with historical events.”

Cedar Park City Council amended the tree-mitigation requirements during subdivision and site development at a March 14 meeting, raising the fee for removed heritage trees from $300 to $450 per inch of the tree trunk’s diameter.

David Glenn, the director of government relations and policy for the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin, said builders are keen to keep trees in the communities where they develop.

However, he said inconsistencies between cities’ tree ordinances can cause difficulties for builders, with different cities defining protected trees by different names, species and trunk diameters.

“I don’t think you could find a builder who doesn’t want to play by the rules; [the] challenge that comes up [is] in understanding what those rules are and how they change over time,” Glenn said.