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Want to Cut Down a Montgomery County Tree? Pay to Plant 3 More

Council members say legislation will protect the county’s tree canopy.

Residents and business owners will have to pay between $750 and $3,750 to replant new shade trees when old ones are removed under legislation aimed at protecting the county's tree canopy. Photo Credit: Sean R. Sedam.
Residents and business owners will have to pay between $750 and $3,750 to replant new shade trees when old ones are removed under legislation aimed at protecting the county's tree canopy. Photo Credit: Sean R. Sedam.

By Whitney Teal

The trees will get their vengeance. And then some. A pair of bills passed Tuesday by the Montgomery County Council, aimed at preserving the county’s tree canopy, will soon require resident and business to pay to plant three trees for every one tree they cut down.

The bills take effect March 1, 2014 and do not apply to Pepco or other utility companies working in the county.

The first bill regulates trees along county roads, The Gazette reported. A $135 local permit will be required for roadside tree work. In addition, you’ll have to pay the county to plant three more trees—$250 for shade trees and $150 for ornamental trees.

Councilwoman Nancy Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park was one of two council members who did not vote for the bill, calling it “unnecessary legislation,” The Gazette reported. Councilman George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park also voted no.

A bill to protect tree cover on privately owned lots under 40,000 square feet passed unanimously Tuesday, The Gazette reported. Residents and business owners will have to pay between $750 and $3,750 to replant new shade trees when old ones are removed.

“Today is a big day for everyone who loves trees,” Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist 1) of Potomac said in a news release. “The Council has passed two major pieces of legislation that together protect trees in our County rights of way and preserve our tree canopy. The bills reflect the extraordinary importance of trees to our residents, and the environmental, aesthetic and economic value they add to our quality of life in Montgomery County.”
Barbara July 27, 2013 at 01:42 PM
PEPCO has already deforested most of Montgomery county and now the council wants homeowners to have to pay! Ridiculous. Praise to the two who had sense enough to vote against this.
Sammi August 01, 2013 at 09:22 AM
This is absolute insanity. If I need to cut down a tree that is unsafe, there is no sane reason to be penalized more than I already will be by the cost of removal. I have two diseased oaks on my property that I planted over twenty years ago. Let me get this right-----it will cost me $1,500 to remove them??? And that's just the County's cut. Time to move to a place where people in charge are not certifiable.

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