T&E ITEM 1
Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment Committee
Faden, Senior Legislative Attorney
Amanda Mihill, Legislative Attorney
Bil141-12, Streets and Roads - Roadside Trees - Protection
Bill 41-12, Streets and Roads - Roadside Trees - Protection, sponsored by Councilmembers
Berliner and EIrich, was introduced on December 11,2012. A public hearing was held on January
17 (see select testimony and correspondence beginning on ©45). Transportation, Infrastructure,
Energy and Environment Committee worksessions were held on January 28 and February 25.
41-12 would require certain applicants to obtain a permit for certain roadside tree
activities as part of the existing right-of-way permit that the Department of Permitting Services
issues, would authorize the Department of Transportation to create a tree replacement fund to pay
for needed roadside trees, and would direct the County Executive to adopt regulations further
specifying roadside tree work standards.
This Bill would implement a 2009 state law (2009 Laws of Maryland Chapter 289, codified
at Maryland Code, Nat. Res. Art. §5-403(d)-(e)), which gave counties the authority to supplement
state laws governing roadside trees. County law, however, must be more stringent as State law.
This Bill was the subject of extensive pre-introduction discussions with staff from relevant County
Departments and other stakeholders.
What does the current state law require?
The current State roadside tree law and regulations)
require a person who cuts down any roadside tree, defined in state regulations as "a plant that has a
woody stem or trunk that grows all, or in part, \vithin the right-of-way of a public road", to get a permit
from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). DNR may issue a permit only if the proposed work
will eliminate a hazard to property, public safety, or health; improve or prevent a deteriorated tree
condition; or improve the general aesthetic appearance of the right-of-way. A state permit is not
• if the tree is uprooted or branches are broken and contact electricity wires;
• if the tree or branches are an immediate danger to person or property;