Forest conservation sprouts differences

September 30, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Developers, surveyors and engineers who attended a second public workshop last night on Carroll County's proposed forest conservation ordinance came to debate more than technical matters.

Some came to question the philosophy behind the ordinance -- aimed at retaining the county's fragmented forests. Others came to tell county officials that the costs associated with replanting trees would be passed on to home buyers.

"No matter how you look at it, [the ordinance] is going to push up the costs of homes for buyers," said Pat Smith, a real estate agent and a member of the Carroll County Board of Realtors' affordable housing committee. "It's going to affect the buyer."

The workshop drew about 30 people at the Westminster High School auditorium.

The commissioners will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday in the same auditorium. They must adopt an ordinance by Dec. 31.

Under Carroll's current proposal:

* People who disturb 25,000 square feet or more of land must comply with the state-mandated ordinance. They will be required to develop a reforestation plan to replace trees cut down during development and tend to them for about two years to ensure that the new trees are growing properly.

* On any property where 25,000 square feet or more is disturbed and where there are no or few trees, people must plant trees to cover 20 percent of the tract. The requirement is 15 percent in commercial and industrial areas.

* In agricultural areas, people disturbing more than 15,000 square feet per lot must plant a tree for every one that is uprooted. Those disturbing more than 20,000 square feet must replace trees on a 2-for-1 ratio.

County officials said 67 percent of the county is agricultural.

Exemptions to the reforestation requirements include public construction, such as roadways, agricultural activities, and most public utility rights of way.

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