Panel delays action on tree-planting exemption


The county Environmental Affairs Advisory Board deferred a sand and gravel corporation's request yesterday to be excused from planting trees under the county forest conservation ordinance.

The board deferred action to give officials of Laurel Sand & Gravel Inc. time to find out whether the ordinance applies to the company's plans.

The ordinance does not apply to projects that disturb less than 25,000 square feet, said James E. Slater Jr., the county environmental services administrator.

Laurel Sand & Gravel plans to install a transfer station in Finksburg to store stone that will be brought in by rail from its Woodsboro quarry, then loaded onto trucks for delivery.

The company has a contract to buy 7.14 acres on Congoleum Road from Waste Management of Maryland Inc.

Timothy J. Schmidt, director of land resources for Laurel Sand & Gravel, said the confusion about whether the ordinance applies stems from the company's unfamiliarity with county laws.

He said planners initially thought the entire 7.14 acres, about 300,000 square feet, would count as disturbed area under the ordinance.

Now, he said, company officials have learned that the county defines the net disturbed tract as the area where some activity, such as grading, takes place.

Members of the environmental board expressed concern about Laurel Sand & Gravel's reluctance to plant trees, because all that stands between the property and the North Branch of the Patapsco River is a 25-foot tree buffer.

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