Mount Airy funeral home fined for removing trees Penalty is first since passage of ordinance

June 24, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

Carroll forestry officials have fined the owner of a proposed Mount Airy funeral home $3,649 for violating the county's forest conservation ordinance.

Neil Ridgely, the county's landscaping and forest conservation manager, said yesterday that Stauffer Funeral Homes was fined for removing several large trees on a one-acre lot on East Ridgeville Boulevard without providing the county with data on the trees and other ground cover.

The Stauffer violation is the first to involve a fine since Carroll adopted its forest conservation ordinance in December, Mr. Ridgely said.

He said the trees ranged in size from a 6-inch diameter dogwood to a 26-inch diameter maple. The ordinance requires data on existing trees because it provides the county with "a complete picture" of the type of forestation on the site and other environmental features, he said.

Carroll's ordinance requires anyone who disturbs 25,000 square feet or more of land to replace trees felled during development and to provide the county with data on existing woodlands.

In commercial areas, such as the site occupied by the funeral home, 15 percent of the tract must be covered with trees. Stauffer Funeral Homes will be required to replant trees, Mr. Ridgely said.

Carroll's ordinance allows the county to fine violators 30 cents per square foot of the area disturbed by development. Mr. Ridgely said the county could have fined Stauffer up to $15,000 for the tract, but chose to assess fines only for the area under the canopies of the felled trees.

The county also can levy a $1,000 fine for violation of the ordinance.

Scott Shorrow, who oversees building projects for Stauffer Funeral Homes, said the company was unaware of the ordinance and intends to pay the fines.

"We are at fault. We are willing to pay," he said. "We're sorry it happened, and we're trying to take care of it as quickly as possible."

He said the company, which has funeral homes in Frederick, Walkersville and Thurmont, will do no more work at the Mount Airy funeral home until the town approves site plans. The company wants to build an addition to the existing home, he said.

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