County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) will be in Bethesda tomorrow to help plant two trees in celebration of National Arbor Day and to encourage the County Council to pass his controversial tree canopy conservation bill.
The bill, which would require private property owners in small lots to pay a fee for lost canopy, is aimed at the many homeowners in older Bethesda neighborhoods who are taking down old homes and replacing them with supersized ones.
Leggett and the county’s Department of Environmental Protection argue this has led to significant loss of tree canopy that until now hasn’t been on the county’s radar because development was taking place at bigger lots. The bill proposes to take the fees and create a county-managed fund for planting new trees nearby.
In their presentation to the County Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee earlier this year, Environmental Protection officials used overhead images of Bethesda neighborhoods to show the loss of tree canopy over the last decade.