Bills Would Fell Fund For Trees To Preserve Bay

Council Members Introduce Conflicting Legislation

August 19, 1991|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

If the County Council approves two amendments to a law protecting the Chesapeake Bay shoreline, no money will be left over to plant treesalong its waters.

Councilwomen Diane R. Evans, R-Arnold, and Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis, proposed a bill in June that would allow tree-planting money to be used to buy woodlands and replant shoreline grass.

The money is collected from developers who build within 1,000 feet of tidal wetlands or the shoreline, known as critical areas.

Thecounty has about $800,000 in the 3-year-old fund but hasn't planted any trees because it hasn't found appropriate sites. However, the lawhas resulted in developers having spent $400,000 to replant trees inareas they've cleared.

At a meeting two weeks ago, Council Chairwoman Virginia Clagett, D-West River, proposed an amendment to the bill that would allow half of the tree-planting funds to be used to purchase easements on woodlands in agricultural preservation areas.

Atthe same meeting, Councilman David G. Boschert, D-Crownsville, proposed using half the funds to improve parks and battle gypsy moths.

The council may vote on both amendments tonight.

"Obviously, if both pass, it wipes out the whole thing," Evans said.

Evans said shewill talk with Lamb and other council members to decide how to handle the amendments.

Clagett said that she and Boschert didn't know about each other's amendment and added that she would request a lower percentage for her amendment tonight.

If either of the amendments passes or if others are introduced, a final vote on the bill won't come for two weeks.

In other action tonight, the council is slated to:

* Vote on a bill allowing a fixed amount of development on 160 acres of critical-areas land.

The state critical-areas law requires the county to open up a certain amount of such land to more intensive development. The bill, proposed by the county administration, would allow 58 acres to be developed at one home per four acres, and 102 acres to be developed for industrial, commercial and higher-density residential development.

If the bill is approved, property owners can apply to the county Office of Planning and Zoning to develop theirland more intensively.

* Vote on a bill allowing the Schramm family of Pasadena to cancel an 11-year-old agricultural land preservation agreement so members can subdivide their 213-acre turkey farm, the last farm in the highly developed Mountain Road corridor.

The bill, proposed by County Executive Robert R. Neall, would abolish the Armiger Agricultural Land Preservation District, which the Schramms joined in 1980, agreeing not to subdivide their property until at least 1995.

The farm is the only property in the Armiger preservation district, which is surrounded by town house developments and strip malls. The Schramms are the first farmers to ask to be released from a preservation contract in the 14-year history of the county program.

At a 5 p.m. orientation session, council members will be briefed on bond issues and will be given a draft of a bill that would prevent organized crime from infiltrating commercial bingo operations. A task force has been developing new guidelines to regulate the troubled industry, and is expected to propose a bill next month.

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