Winchester Hall was packed on Tuesday night with residents from Frederick County, Md. to discuss two pieces of legislation that would amend the county’s Forest Resource Ordinance.
It was a roomed filled with Frederick County residents to discuss two bills regarding the county’s forest resource ordinance.
“It is 2018. Everyone knows the benefits of trees,” said one Frederick County resident, Janice Wiles.
The first public hearing was on Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner’s Bill No. 17-17.
Her bill would restore the forest conservation standards that ended in 2011, and reduce the loss of forest through a one-to-one replacement. Other amendments include restoring mitigation and changing the threshold to uniformed 20 percent.
“We have really attempted to try to put a real cost talking about when we talk about a loss of an acre a forest or more,” said a member from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Elaine Lutz.
President of the Frederick County Council, Bud Otis, also proposed his own legislation, Bill No. 17-20, to amend the county ordinance.
His bill would also increase forest conservation efforts, but lower standard for reforestation requirements, increase the conservation threshold and limit miscellaneous credits from 100 percent to 50 percent.
“This proposal proposing more modest changes and represents a more balanced approach between preservation and the county needs for smart and suitability growth,” said Tracie Clabaugh, another Frederick County resident.
Residents went up one by one to discuss their opinions, both swinging on both sides for either bill.
“Appreciating the good intentions of Bill 17-20, I am here to support 17-17, which is the stronger more rigorous bill in terms of preserving Frederick’s forestry canopy,” said Peter Brehm, a Frederick County Resident.
Before the public hearing started, President Bud Otis said, “In my mind, I think the County Executive has the best intentions, I hope you do not question mine because I have the best intentions.”
The council will have another workshop to discuss the two amendments in the upcoming weeks.