Mount Airy gets priority for trees Conservation law adopted SOUTHWEST--Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

June 09, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Builders who cut down trees in Mount Airy should plant trees in Mount Airy, the Town Council has decided.

On Monday, the council unanimously adopted a version of the Carroll County forest conservation ordinance that it had adapted to meet the town's needs. No other Carroll municipality has modified the county ordinance, which is intended to preserve woodlands.

Under Mount Airy's ordinance, developers who are required to plant or replace trees because of building projects in Mount Airy must give property within town limits priority for plantings, said town planner Teresa Bamberger.

"I think we can live with it," said Neil Ridgely, Carroll's program manager for landscaping and forest conservation. "I'm sure the county would want to cooperate with the town and have trees replaced within town limits. But there's always the possibility county attorneys or the commissioners might see things differently."

Under Carroll's law, anyone who disturbs 25,000 square feet or more of land must replace trees felled during development. Developers also are required to plant trees in certain areas, such as agriculturally zoned land, where they did not previously exist.

Mount Airy's ordinance will require any fines paid into the county's forest conservation fund by Mount Airy builders to be used for tree projects within town limits, Ms. Bamberger said.

The Town Council introduced modifications to the county ordinance in April and has been waiting for county response before taking final action.

When town officials reported again Monday that they had not heard from the county, the Town Council decided to adopt the modifications anyway.

"We were hoping to get some kind of written response," Ms. Bamberger said. "We were hoping to get some concurrence before adopting the ordinance. It's dragged on, and we haven't received anything."

Other modifications to the ordinance address the review process. Town officials will review all Mount Airy plans for forest conservation before they are sent to the county.

Town officials are reviewing their first conservation plans, submitted by the owner of the Mount Airy Bowling Center, who has proposed building an addition.

In a related matter, a Mount Airy business is expected to be fined for cutting down trees on a one-acre tract pegged for development. The owner failed to submit site plans and forest conservation plans, trees, Mr. Ridgely said.

The owner, whom town officials declined to identify, could face fines to $13,000, Mr. Ridgely said.

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