A tree-preservation bill that is more stringent than a similar state law appears headed for passage next week by the Harford County Council.
After several months of debate among lawmakers, developers, county planners and others, the council last night considered nearly 30 amendments to the bill.
Earlier yesterday, dozens of residents, environmentalists and community leaders turned out to support the measure at a public hearing.
Most of the amendments were minor, but two involved exempting county agencies from the measure's provisions. One was offered by County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann and the other by Councilman Robert S. Wagner, R-District E. Both were rejected.
"Harford County should lead by example," said Council President Jeffrey D. Wilson, a Republican, in stating his opposition to imposing tree-preservation requirements on builders but not on county agencies.
Councilwoman Theresa M. Pierno, D-District C, the bill's primary sponsor, has worked to gain support of builders in the county. Some builders still object to the bill.
Some supporters at the hearing said many of the council members campaigned as advocates of environmental protection. They said passage of the tree-preservation bill was a way of affirming that advocacy.
"Have the courage to vote 7-0 on this bill," urged Bob Chance, a high school ecology teacher who runs a Bel Air recycling center and an environmental education program.
The Harford bill differs from the state bill in that it would require developers to retain a certain number of trees during construction; it would require builders to post bonds to ensure retention or replanting of trees; and it would, in certain cases, require more replanting if retention were impractical.