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Press Releases - County Council

Council Vice President Friedson and President Glass Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Conservation of the Tree Canopy

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 7, 2023

From the Offices of Council Vice President Friedson and Council President Glass

Council Vice President Andrew Friedson and Council President Evan Glass introduced legislation today that would update the laws regarding the tree canopy and roadside tree work to encourage the conservation of trees in Montgomery County. 

Bill 40-23, Tree Canopy and Roadside Tree Requirements - Fee Revisions, adjusts the fee structure for trees removed in the County’s right of way to ensure the fees are commensurate with the costs, including the environmental cost of removing the tree and the cost of tree replacements. 

“Improving our tree canopy is essential to meeting our environmental goals and ensuring healthy and livable communities in Montgomery County,” said Council Vice President Friedson. “This legislation will help us plant more trees in our neighborhoods to improve air quality, reduce heat islands and enhance quality of life.”

"Montgomery County's forests, parks and green spaces are among our most treasured assets. Trees reduce storm water runoff, provide shelter for wildlife and support our environmental goals by naturally keeping our homes cooler," said Council President Glass. "This legislation will help us preserve and enhance our tree canopy and ensure a sustainable future for current and future residents." 

Trees are one of the most important natural resources and one of the few truly renewable resources. Tree canopies play a pivotal role in enhancing quality of life and contributing to the well-being of residents. A thriving tree canopy reduces air, water and noise pollution, alleviates heat stress and reduces heat islands, and positively impacts physical and mental health outcomes, among other benefits. Protecting the tree canopy will help mitigate climate effects and help Montgomery County reach its ambitious climate goals.

Under current law, a permittee who removes a tree in the County’s right of way must pay a fee into the Street Tree Planting Fund maintained by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT). Similarly, an applicant for a sediment control permit must pay a fee into the Tree Canopy Conservation Account. The current fee, which was set in 2013 at $250 per tree, no longer sufficiently reflects the cost of acquiring, planting and maintaining a tree and does not rise with inflation.

Bill 40-23 would set the fee payable to the Street Tree Planting Fund at $450 per tree and the fee payable to the Tree Canopy Conservation Account at $470 per tree, both with biannual increases based on inflation.  

A public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 28 at 1:30 p.m. A Transportation and Environment (TE) Committee worksession will be held at a later date.

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Release ID: 23-363
Media Contact: Matt Higgins 240-777-7813, Valeria Carranza 240-777-7966
Categories: Andrew Friedson, Evan Glass