Tree conservation/replacement bills fail to advance

January 24, 2019

Two bills that would authorizes a locality to adopt an ordinance exceeding the minimum tree canopy requirements for tree preservation, planting, or replacement during the development process failed to advance out of subcommittee on January 23.

Currently, only a locality in Planning District 8 with a population density of 75 persons per square mile and which is classified as an eight-hour nonattainment area for ozone under the federal Clean Air Act and Amendments of 1990, in effect as of July 1, 2008, may adopt such an ordinance for the conservation of trees during the land development process.  Similarly, only a locality with a population density of 75 persons per square mile or within the Chesapeake Bay watershed may adopt such an ordinance for the planting and replacement of trees during the land development process.

HB 2146 (Turpin) sought to authorize any locality to adopt an ordinance providing for either the conservation of or the planting and replacement of trees during the land development process.

HB 2333 (Keam) was more specifically tailored.  This bill sought to authorize a locality to adopt an ordinance requiring tree preservation, planting, or replacement in development or redevelopment to assist in achieving specific water quality or water quantity goals identified in the ordinance, including (a) achieving the locality’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan local area planning goals using forested buffers or other urban tree best management practices, (b) meeting a locality’s MS4 permit for the Chesapeake Bay Action Plan to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, or sediments by converting impervious or pervious land to forest or adding streamside forested buffers, (c) establishing or reestablishing effective forested buffers in Chesapeake Bay Protection Act resource protection areas, (d) meeting requirements enacted by the locality in accordance with § 62.1-44.15:33, or (e) local flood control.

HB 2146 (Turpin) and HB 2333 (Keam) were referred to the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee, though they both failed to advance out of the Committee’s Subcommittee #3 meeting on January 23.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

 

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