Maryland Proposes Legislation to Conserve Tree Canopy

Montgomery County, MD (March 6, 2013) – A bill is now under consideration in a Washington, DC suburban county that will help fund the replacement of trees lost to development.  County Executive Isiah Leggett has proposed the legislation to respond to what he sees as the urban tree canopy being endangered by new development patterns.

urban tree canopy street with carsAs available land for new development in Montgomery County becomes scarce, there is more development in older, urban areas. This revitalizing of aging communities is also affecting the tree canopy. The legislation, Bill 35-12, Tree Canopy Conservation, seeks to protect and restore this valuable community resource.

According to Leggett, “When the tree canopy is disturbed during development, a fee would be paid into a dedicated tree replacement fund. Contrary to the claims of the bill’s opponents, the bill does not prevent the development of a property, and only applies when disturbance to land is significant enough that a sediment control permit is required.”

The bill does not affect homeowners who are trimming trees or removing one or several trees to plant a vegetable garden, provide sunshine to a deck, or provide open space for the kids to play ball in the backyard. It would not apply to agricultural activities.

According to Leggett, the current bill strikes a balance between those who want more stringent regulations to protect individual trees and those that feel any additional protection is a burden. It establishes an efficient process with minimal costs for those who will be required to comply and for the county.  The bill will be considered this spring.

Sources
Leggett: Bill would protect Montgomery’s tree canopy
Bill 35-12, Tree Canopy Conservation