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Homeowners in Montgomery County could have to pay more if they want to remove trees near roadsides.
By a 7-2 vote, the county council approved a bill that adds additional regulations regarding tree removal along county-owned roadways. The state of Maryland already has its own rules and the ultimate say on removing trees from roadsides, but Councilman Roger Berliner says the county should have some authority over trees on its own lands.
"You see this happening a lot in the downcounty when somebody is building a new home, and they want to put in a driveway," Berliner says. "And they want to put the driveway in a place with a tree in a county right of way."
Under that example, the homeowner would have to pay for three new trees to be planted in other parts of the county for every one that is taken out. The three-tree cost is $750. Berliner and supporters say the new rules will help keep the county's tree canopy, but Councilwoman Nancy Floreen — one of the two to vote against the measure — called the bill a "solution in search of a problem."
"What we're doing now is trying to increase the tree canopy in the county, which is a good thing," Floreen says. "But I don't know why we have to charge people."
Homeowners would not have to pay the fee if a tree being removed from their property on a roadside is considered a safety hazard because it might fall onto someone or into a home or vehicle.