The City Council is currently considering Ordinance O-27-18, which would establish a true no net loss of forest requirement on developments in the City. It will require developers to replace any forest they remove on an acre-to-acre basis. This is necessary in order for the City to honor the Annapolis Comprehensive Plan, achieve the tree canopy goal made with DNR, and meet the federally mandated water quality TMDL targets which will save taxpayers money.
We need your help! Residents have an opportunity to provide public input on the legislation at the City Council meeting on Monday, October 8, at 7pm in Council Chambers (160 Duke of Gloucester Street). In addition, please click here to send an email to the Mayor and Council. Developers and their attorneys will be attempting to block passage with calls for delay, re-referrals, and amendments to gut the law.
The message is simple: “Please pass this important legislation with only one amendment to be sure it applies to all projects without approved Forest Conservation Plans. Do not support the developer-proposed amendments or delays that will gut this legislation.”
Please also be sure to mention the council members who pledged to support this legislation during the 2017 election. The Mayor and five of eight sitting aldermen (Tierney, Arnett, Savidge, Rodriguez, and Paone) signed our candidate questionnaire and pledged to pass the ordinance if elected. The pledge they signed is as follows: “If elected, would you support and work to enact an ordinance that would require a 100% reforestation requirement for any trees and forests cleared in all developments so that such reforestation occurred on site or on nearby land?”
More background on why this legislation is so critical:
Recent data indicates that the City continues to lose forests to development. For instance, Rocky Gorge cleared nine acres of forest, and nearly as much was approved for clearing at Parkside Preserve. The last formally filed plans for the Crystal Spring development (the Village at Providence Point) showed that they planned to take down 38.8 acres and, under current City law, only needed to reforest 15.35 acres. This would result in a net loss of 23.45 acres of mature priority forest, which are given priority under the law for retention and protection.
The Comprehensive Plan calls for the City to increase its tree canopy to cover 50% of the City by 2036. Current tree canopy cover is estimated to be around 43%, with one estimate as high as 46%. How can the City achieve this needed tree canopy increase without passing a no net loss ordinance that covers all developments for which a Forest Conservation Plan has not been approved, including The Village at Providence Point, where there is plenty of open acreage to replant 100% of the forest cleared?
The protection of existing forests and the addition of more forests are necessary for the City to meet its EPA-mandated TMDL to reduce stormwater pollution. Forests are essential for water quality, aquifer recharge, wildlife habitat, air quality, reducing sedimentation that kills living water critters and causes a need for more dredging, and reducing carbon releases so as to prevent more global warming and flooding at City dock.