Berliner, Elrich introduce bill to protect roadside trees -- Gazette.Net


Working on street trees in Montgomery County could soon require permits.

Councilmen Roger Berliner and Marc B. Elrich introduced a bill Tuesday creating a set of requirements for protecting and regulating roadside trees.

The bill would require permits for some work on roadside trees, set local standards for the protection, conservation and replacement of roadside trees that are at least as stringent as state standards, and would authorize the county Department of Transportation to create a tree replacement fund to pay for needed roadside trees.

“Colleagues, one of the things I’ve learned in my six years here is there is nothing easy about trees,” Berliner said. “Whether we are talking about the tree canopy bill that we finally got from the county executive after five years, whether we’re talking about Pepco and tree trimming, whatever it is about trees, this is hard stuff.”

Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Bethesda said he and Elrich (D-At large) of Takoma Park had been working on the bill for “months and months and months” and had gone through 10 drafts of the legislation introduced Tuesday.

State law controls county street trees, Berliner noted. But 2009 legislation passed in Annapolis makes it explicit that the county can adopt its own law.

Berliner said he and Elrich took state law and made its provisions into a county law.

A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17.

The hearing is scheduled the same night as a hearing on the bill to conserve the county’s tree canopy.