June 24, 2013
Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment Committee
tJMichael Faden, Senior Legislative Attorney
Amanda Mihill, Legislative
4: Bill 41-12, 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, February 25, and April
Bill 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 as long as the County law does not conflict with, and is more
stringent than, the 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, within the right-of-way of a public road", to get a permit
from the Department ofNatural 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;
ISee State law, ©20-22, and regulations, ©23-32.