KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A proposed ordinance making its way through Kansas City Hall lays out its goal plainly: increase Kansas City’s tree canopy.

The added cover could have a ripple effect of benefits, including cooling temperatures and reducing asthma risks.

In addition, the more beautiful an area — it stands to reason — the higher the property values. Trees are a big part of that, and when they are cleared without replacement, people notice.

For example, there aren’t that many mature trees headed past 80th Street on Troost Avenue. Instead, saplings are made to fill the role.

That approach is a problem, according to Armondo Alvarez, who was doing clean-up at a nearby park Tuesday with the Heartland Conservation Alliance.

“Places like these, it really needs more life to it,” he said. “I’m looking around, and I’m seeing a lot of grass and I see a lot of sidewalk, but I think trees really just tie it all together and make it whole.”

FOX4 spoke to the Mayor Quinton Lucas, who is sponsoring the ordinance, atop City Hall, overlooking the city.

“And it’s not accidental. For the Westside — our traditional Latino population — much of the Eastside — our traditional Black population — have been areas that were heavily deforested,” Lucas said.

“And I think it’s important for us to say, ‘How can we repopulate that tree canopy?’ so everyone is given the benefit of trees long term.”

The proposed ordinance also pushes for developers to limit unnecessary removal.

Lucas points to an area off N.W. Barry Road where hundreds of trees are now gone, reduced to a field of stumps. Future permits would require plans before clearing older trees, the idea being that it’s easier to preserve an old tree than to plant a new one.

“And in newer areas, particularly in the Northland of Kansas City, we want to make sure that we’re building neighborhoods with an outstanding tree canopy,” Lucas said.

“We have great trees, older ones. But there are a lot of other ones in areas of the Eastside and Midtown where we’ve torn down too many trees,” Lucas said. “That has a negative impact on health outcomes. It leads to higher incidents of asthma and a lot of concerns.”

Ordinances like this are already in effect in places like Dallas, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, Lucas said.

This plan wouldn’t mean that cutting down a tree is forbidden, and there are many exemptions, including emergencies, utility pruning and application for building permit for a single family detached house.

See a full version of this ordinance here. The proposal will be discussed at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee meeting.