VACo supports tree replacement and conservation legislation

January 14, 2021

VACo supports important new tree replacement and conservation legislation introduced by Delegate Nancy Guy.

HB 2042 (Guy) provides effective new tools for localities wishing to do more to conserve or replace trees during development processes.  More specifically, HB 2042, takes a two-pronged approach to this issue.

First, the legislation alters § 15.2-961 of the Code of Virginia, pertaining to tree replacement ordinances.  As proposed, HB 2042 would allow local tree replacement or planting ordinances to exceed the current requirements in the following circumstances:

  1. To generate pollution reduction credits through installation of an approved Urban Tree Canopy Expansion best management practice (BMP) or other approved BMP for compliance with the locality’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit;
  2. In any development project located in a Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area;
  3. In any development project located in an area that prior to the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., was redlined or graded “D” by the federal Home Owners’ Loan Corporation; and
  4. To ensure conformity with the comprehensive plan adopted by the locality.

Second, HB 2042 proposes changes to § 15.2-961.1 of the Code of Virginia.  Currently, only localities within Planning District 8 that meet specific population density criteria may adopt an ordinance providing for the conservation of trees during the land development process (pursuant to the provisions of this section).  HB 2042 removes these geographic and population requirements, opening this section up to all localities across the Commonwealth.

HB 2042 will be heard in the House Counties, Cities and Town Committee on Friday morning (January 15).  VACo is pleased to support this important legislation, and we are grateful for the hard work Delegate Guy has put into this subject.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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