Proposed tree bank would give developers flexibility in planting


Carroll's commissioners are reviewing a final draft of a policy that would allow builders to tap into "tree banks" when they must plant trees to comply with the county's forest conservation ordinance.

Under the so-called banking program, developers may buy the rights to trees that have been newly planted in designated areas specifically for that purpose, county officials have said.

The program allows developers to avoid having to plant trees to compensate for those they have destroyed if they can prove that trees could not be replanted on the developed property.

James E. Slater, administrator of Carroll's Office of Environmental Services, said the policy has been distributed to developers, who worked with the county environmental staff to create it.

"We believe that if anybody has additional comments on it, they will be minor," Mr. Slater said.

The county's forest conservation ordinance doesn't provide for forest conservation banking. The ordinance requires builders and developers who disturb 25,000 square feet or more of land to replace trees that are felled during construction.

A banking program, county officials said, would help builders comply with the law and enhance Carroll as an attractive business location.

The proposed policy would require the bank owners to maintain the trees. County officials, though, would inspect the trees regularly to make sure that the species are surviving and trees are not being removed.

Trees in the banking program would be limited to native species.

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