Capital LTE: “City’s No Net Loss Policy is Sound”

Capital Gazette: Letters to the Editor, March 16, 2019

Contrary to Our Say, our recently adopted policy of “no net loss of forests” has not been a failure (The Capital, March 3). That ordinance was written correctly and the policy is sound.

This has been confirmed by former DNR Assistant Attorney General and Chief Counsel Tom Demming, by Jeff Horan, who oversaw the original Forest Conservation legislation for DNR, by former State Sen. Gerald Winegrad who was a co-sponsor of the Maryland Forest Conservation Act, by DNR themselves when they reviewed the legislation with no objections, by the city’s own director of the Office of Environmental Policy, and not to mention myself, a Qualified Professional certified by DNR for over 15 years.

The problem was an implementation mistake by staff: they neglected to properly adjust the worksheet developers use to calculate how much forest they need to mitigate, and the developers took advantage of that mistake by introducing their own flawed worksheet.

To their credit, Planning & Zoning has not accepted this faulty worksheet and they are working on releasing a correct one and will ensure that the Village at Providence Point (aka Crystal Spring) will mitigate every acre of forest they remove.

Some in Mayor Gavin Buckley’s administration (and yes, the Law Office), made this correction much more difficult than it needed to be, simply because they did not have a good understanding of the underlying mechanics of the Forest Conservation Act.

Regardless, things are on the path toward resolution, and a successful implementation of our new “no net loss” of forests policy should soon be realized.

ALDERMAN ROB SAVIDGE, ANNAPOLIS

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