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 eliminate the credit given towards the preservation of  trees above and beyond the 20% Forest Conservation Threshold – thus requiring 1:1 reforestation at a minimum for any forest clearing within the City of Annapolis.  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 forest clearing that does not exceed the Forest Conservation Threshold, which in most cases reduces the reforestation requirements for individual projects.  The new ordinance removes this credit, essentially requiring reforestation to match any forest clearing.

For example, consider a 5-acre site that is entirely forested, zoned low density residential and thus subject to a 20% Forest Conservation Threshold.

  • Under current state/county regulations, up to 3.2 acres could be cleared with no reforestation required.
  • Under the current City of Annapolis Ordinance adopted in October 2017, clearing 3.2 acres on this same site would require 2.4 acres of reforestation.
  • Under the proposed City of Annapolis Ordinance, clearing 3.2 acres on this site would now require 3.2 acres of reforestation to meet the 1:1 mitigation ratio.

The proposed changes are problematic for land development since the City does not have a functioning fee-in-lieu program for forest mitigation, and land suitable for reforestation is virtually non-existent within City limits.  You can read more about the current ordinance in place in the City of Annapolis in our July 2017 Field Notes article.

Wetland Studies and Solutions is following this issue closely and will update you on any changes or final decisions.  If you have questions about determining the break-even point for forest clearing on Maryland sites or how this proposed ordinance will affect your projects within the City of Annapolis, please reach out to the contacts below.


  • Mike Klebasko

    Millersville, MD