Volume 26, Number 6 ● August 9, 2018
City of Annapolis Proposes to Remove Tree Conservation Credit
On June 18, 2018, Ordinance 27-18 was introduced before the Annapolis City Council with the intent of maintaining the City’s current tree canopy percentage. The proposed measure would change the City Forest Conservation Ordinance to eliminate a credit given for not clearing beyond the Forest Conservation Threshold. Thus, any forest clearing within the City of Annapolis would now require a 1:1 reforestation ratio, at a minimum. The bill was adopted on the first reader on June 18, 2018 and is now in committee. It is expected to be brought back before the City Council for additional discussion in September.
What Will Change?
Currently, the City’s Forest Conservation Ordinance allows a credit for clearing that does not exceed the 20% Forest Conservation Threshold, which in most cases reduces the reforestation requirements for individual projects.
For example, assume a property is 5 acres in size, entirely forested, zoned low density residential, and has a 20% Forest Conservation Threshold:
- Under State/County regulations: up to 3.2 acres of forest could be cleared with no reforestation required.
- Under the Current City of Annapolis Ordinance: 3.2 acres of forest clearing would require 2.4 acres of reforestation.
- Under the Proposed City of Annapolis Ordinance: 3.2 acres of forest clearing would require 3.2 acres of reforestation (a 1:1 mitigation ratio).
The proposed changes are problematic considering that the City does not have a functioning fee-in-lieu program for forest mitigation and that land suitable for reforestation is virtually non-existent within City limits.
Wetland Studies and Solutions is following this issue closely and will update you on any changes or final decisions. If you have questions about how this proposed ordinance will affect your projects within the City of Annapolis, contact Mike Klebasko or Ken Wallis in our Millersville office.