The Anne Arundel County Council accepted rebuttal arguments from County Executive Pittman and rolled back moderating amendments previously reported in NAIOP 360. Work on the forest conservation rewrite is nearing its conclusion in Anne Arundel as the Howard County Council prepares to hear public comments on its bill Nov. 18.
At its Nov. 4 meeting, the Anne Arundel County Council approved the following:
- to increase the fee in lieu of replanting from $1.00 per square foot to $1.25 for projects inside the county Priority Funding Area
- to remove language related to the health and quality of certain trees
- to removed references to the Greenways Master Plan
- to reinsert priority protection status for areas with the potential to contain “forest interior dwelling species.”
The council will take public comment on the newly amended version of the bill Nov. 18.
That same night, the Howard County Council will hold its first hearing on its version of forest conservation reform. Like Anne Arundel, the Howard County bill seeks to limit clearing of priority forest by requiring a finding of, “unwarranted hardship” before approval and seeks increases in the fee in lieu of planting. However, the Howard bill focuses more on increasing mitigation requirements based on the location where replanting takes place. Reforestation ratios increase for all development scenarios and would double for replanting outside of the local watershed.
In Frederick, County Executive Jan Gardner has announced she is preparing to introduce a similar bill soon.