HB 494 (Hodges) reported out of the Senate Local Government Committee unanimously (13-0) on February 20 and will now be heard on the Senate floor later this week. HB 494 previously passed the House on January 25.
The bill authorizes any locality within the Chesapeake Bay watershed to adopt an ordinance providing for the planting and replacement of trees during the development process. Tree planting and replacement constitutes an effective means of sediment runoff control and water quality improvement. Currently, only localities with a population density of 75 person per square mile are authorized to adopt such ordinances. HB 494 expands this authorization to any locality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, regardless of population density.
VACo, along with representatives from the Rappahannock River Basin Commission (who initiated the legislation) and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, spoke in favor of the bill to the Committee.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.