Fewer trees required at college

May 26, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll's Environmental Affairs Advisory Board gave the county government a break yesterday on tree-planting requirements at Carroll Community College but insisted that the county plant some trees there.

County government representatives argued that it would be a financial hardship for the county to plant 16 acres of trees as it builds a $10 million learning resource center at the college.

Carroll officials have earmarked $2.5 million of a planned $18.5 million bond sale for a new library that will be part of the learning resource center building.

Thomas J. Rio, the county's chief of building construction, said the tree-planting requirement would add approximately $80,000 to the project cost.

Members of the environmental board agreed that the planting requirement -- based on 20 percent of the 80 acres at the college -- is unreasonable.

"I don't see a need for 16 acres of trees on the Carroll Community College campus," said board member Kevin E. Dayhoff.

But he said county representatives should argue that the tree-planting requirement "would decrease the environment of learning" instead of couching it in financial terms, because Carroll's ordinance doesn't provide for financial-hardship variances.

The board voted to reduce the acreage used in calculating the tree planting requirement to 1.4 acres, the area to be disturbed for the new building.

Mr. Rio said college officials have not discussed putting the woods into a preservation easement without an incentive.

Board members also rejected the county's offer to put a preservation easement on three acres of woods at the southern end of the campus along Route 97 in lieu of the tree-planting.

Neil Ridgely, the county's forest conservation and landscape program manager, told the board that a proposed change in Carroll's forest conservation ordinance will address institutional sites.

The county commissioners have not yet considered the proposed ordinance changes, which will include a plan to allow land owners to plant forest "banks" so that developers who cannot fit the required volume of trees into subdivision sites could buy "tree credits" from bank owners to meet county requirements.

James E. Slater Jr., Carroll's environmental services administrator, reported yesterday that an informal group working on the banking concept has proposed allowing forest bank owners to decide when to place their trees into a permanent preservation easement.

A rift remains between county staff members who want to see an easement when the forest bank is established and some local residents on the working group who contended that an owner should not have to make a permanent commitment until he sells the credits.

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