Foresters detail proposed bill to developers

November 20, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

In speaking to the Carroll County Homebuilder's Association last night, forester Len Wrabel compared the county forestation bill with a lighthouse.

"Carroll County has guidelines, but they're not quite as inflexible as a lighthouse," said the co-owner of Mar-Len Forestry. He had just told a story of an admiral sailing at night who asked the operator of a point of light in the distance to move, only to find it was a lighthouse.

Mr. Wrabel and his wife, Marikay, own Mar-Len Forestry in Westminster. They were instrumental in developing the state forestation ordinance and helped write the manual that lays out its specific guidelines for developers.

However, in describing the proposed county ordinance to the local developers, Mr. Wrabel stressed that the only place the law was flexible was in allowing a 15 percent forest level -- 15 percent of the land must be covered by trees -- on commercial and industrial land. All other sites require a 20 percent tree level.

"Everywhere else, the law is a lighthouse," inflexible, he said.

He and his wife also told the builders that the proposed ordinance will change they way they plan subdivisions.

"Right now, you have the cart before the horse," she said. "Now, you start out planning where the houses go and where the streets will go. You will have to start squeezing it [buildings and streets] in to save forests."

In addition, they gave the developers estimates on how much it )) would cost them to comply with the proposed ordinance.

For example, a "forest stand delineation," which maps existing trees, could cost from $400 to $800 for one acre, they said. The cost to replant trees on a site could be from $3,500 to $8,000 per acre.

"The cost is of plugging your development into the environmental design," Mr. Wrabel said.

To save costs, the couple suggested developers provide detailed site maps or aerial photos to the person creating the forest stand delineation or forest conservation plan. Hiring a forester rather than a landscape architect might also save time and money, they said.

"We found that some landscape architects had trouble with the delineations," Ms. Wrabel said.

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