Builder asks to give money, not replant trees

April 29, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

A builder wants to donate money to New Windsor's Tree City, U.S.A. program rather than replant 5.4 acres of trees as required under Carroll's forest conservation ordinance.

David Bullock yesterday asked the Environmental Affairs Advisory Board to recommend that the county grant him a variance to the ordinance, which requires that a tree be planted for each tree felled during development.

Mr. Bullock wants to build a 35-unit retirement village on about 5.5 acres at Springdale and Rowe roads on the eastern edge of New Windsor. Because he needs the entire tract for the project, he would have to plant the trees elsewhere.

Because of a "whole lot of options and a whole lot of complications," Chairman Frank Grabowski urged the board to delay making a recommendation to the county's environmental administrator until next month.

"I don't think any good common sense motion can be made at this time," said member Arthur Peck.

At issue for the board is whether Mr. Bullock's replanting efforts or proposed in-lieu-of payment should fall under state or Carroll law. Carroll's ordinance does not allow a builder to pay in lieu of replacing trees.

Because Mr. Bullock wanted to grade the site last fall before submitting development plans, county officials asked him to conduct a forest survey following state requirements. Carroll's forest conservation ordinance then had not been adopted.

However, Neil Ridgely, Carroll's program manager of landscaping and forest conservation, said he told Mr. Bullock that he would have to follow Carroll's ordinance later in the process. Carroll's ordinance was adopted in December.

David Bowersox, a Westminster attorney representing Mr. Bullock, said the county ordinance imposes a financial hardship on his client. He said Carroll's ordinance doesn't allow any flexibility.

Under the state law, Mr. Bullock would be required to plant about 3 1/2 acres of trees, or about 2 1/2 acres if he was allowed to count landscaping as part of his tree replacement.

Mr. Bowersox said he is asking the board to grant a variance that would require nothing greater than the state requirements. He said Mr. Bullock has not determined how much money would be donated to the Tree City, U.S.A. program.

New Windsor officials supported granting Mr. Bullock a variance and welcomed money for the tree program.

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