Changes To Forest Resource Ordinance Proposed

It’s two of four bills presented to the County Council last week.


Frederick, Md (KM). The County Council is considering changes to the local Forest Resource Ordinance. Two bills to that effect were introduced last week. They were part of two other pieces of legislation dealing with school mitigation fees and developer rights and responsibilities agreements.

One of the bills introduced by County Executive Jan Gardner would bring the ordinance to a higher standards that were in place more than 10 years ago. It  would set a 20% reforestation stand for the development of all lands in the county. It would also increase the mitigation ratios for off-site conservation, forestation and forest-banking programs to 2.5-acres of mitigation for every acre of trees that are cut down. The legislation would also limit small-scale plantings such as shrubs or trees along streets that can be used by developers to meet their requirements under the ordinance to 25-percent of their afforestation requirements.

A second bill sponsored by Council President Bud Otis would amend the ordinance to include a lower standard for reforestation, including different standards for developments based on whether they’re located in community growth areas. It would also allow “street trees” and credits to cover 50% of a developer’s afforestation requirements.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Council Vice President MC Keegan-Ayer asked Council President Otis  why have two bills to amend the local Forest Resource Ordinance. She asked him “to speak a little bit to the difference in the two so that the public understands  why the second one was introduced because it’s a little confusing.” Otis responded. “I’m not going to get into that tonight.”

A few citizens testified in favor of County Executive Gardner’s bill, including Matt Subert of Monrovia. “With all due respect Council President Otis, your FRO acquiesces to the dark times of the {Blaine} Young board, where corruption ruled and satiating developers’ appetites was paramount. Jan’s is the people’s bill, and yours Bud is the developer’s bill,”he said.

Another bill from Gardner introduced last week would increase the school mitigation fee developers pay to reflect increases in school construction costs. Those increases would range from 56% to 74% based on the type of housing being constructed and the type of school that’s overcrowded.

The final piece of legislation would make changes to the developers rights and responsibilities agreements. It would cover 1500 or more  homes, and prohibit the freezing of fees It would also require defined public benefits in exchange for the agreements. They would be in place for no more than 10 years.

Public hearings will be scheduled on these bills at a later date.


By Kevin McManus