New Montgomery County Tree Legislation Could Take Root

Maryland Cherry TreeTwo new bills have been planted to protect our trees in Montgomery County, but there are seeds of dissent from home builders and property owners.  Here is a look at the proposed legislation, courtesy of District 1 Council-member Roger Berliner.

Bill 41-12: The “Street Tree” Legislation

Bill 41-12 stems from the fact that the State of Maryland has insufficient resources to enforce tree protection laws already on the books. The bill intends to protect trees located specifically in Montgomery County’s right-of-way. As per Roger Berliner, the bill is not meant to impact or intrude upon private property rights.

Currently, trees in Montgomery County’s right-of-way are subject to Maryland’s permitting authority. Developers who wish to remove trees in Montgomery County’s right-of-way pay the State $25 for a permit, and are required to plant a new tree. It is the lack of local oversight and local control that concerns Berliner. Bill 41-12 takes most of the provisions of Maryland law and incorporates them into Montgomery County law, empowering tree removal decisions and enforcement at the local level.

To put it in a nutshell, Bill 41-12 is not about trees that are located on private property.

Bill 35-12: The “Tree Canopy” Legislation

A separate piece of legislation, introduced by the County Executive, is much broader and does affect private property rights. Bill 35-12  seeks to preserve tree canopy in the wake of development, particularly down county where infill development is taking place. It basically says that if trees are removed to build a new home, you must pay into a county fund that will be used to plant new trees elsewhere. While this sounds reasonable enough, there is concern about the price tag, which remains in discussion.

Spruce Up Your Tree Knowledge

Trees add beauty to your Chevy Chase home, and provide ecological and economic benefits! You can learn about using trees for energy savings and more by visiting The Arbor Day Foundation. For information and interesting facts about Maryland’s native trees, visit the Maryland State Archives.

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The Estridge Group-Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
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