Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett took to The Gazette last Wednesday, writing an op-ed seeking support for his proposed Tree Canopy Conservation bill.
Leggett (D) wrote:
The good news is that trees cover more than half of the county. So why do we need this bill? The reason is that our urban tree canopy is now being endangered by new development patterns. As the land available for new development in our county grows scarce, we increasingly redevelop our older, urban areas. While this revitalizes aging communities, provides new homes, creates infrastructure close to existing employment centers and transportation networks and creates jobs vital to the county’s economy, it also affects our tree canopy. We must act now to protect and restore this valuable community resource.
Bill 35-12, Tree Canopy Conservation, would do just that in a straightforward way. 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, as introduced to the Montgomery County Council, would do the following:
- Save, maintain and establish tree canopy for the benefit of county residents and future generations.
- Maximize tree canopy retention and establishment.
- Establish procedures, standards and requirements to minimize the loss and disturbance of tree canopy as a result of development.
- Provide for mitigation when tree canopy is lost or disturbed.
- Establish a fund for tree canopy conservation projects, including plantings of individual trees, groups of trees or forests, on private and public property.
- Generally revise county law regarding tree canopy conservation.
Do you support County Executive Leggett's proposed Tree Canopy Conservation bill? Tell us why or why not in the comments.