Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Agency
Department of Environmental Quality
 
Board
State Water Control Board
 
chapter
Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations (formerly 4VAC50-90) [9 VAC 25 ‑ 830]
Action Amendment to incorporate additional requirements related to preservation of mature trees and replanting of trees into existing criteria.
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 5/3/2021
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4/28/21  8:26 am
Commenter: Anonymous

Comments on Proposed Changes - Preservation and Replanting of Trees
 

Selected comments on specific proposed language, certainly not exhaustive, are offered below:

 

9VAC25-830-130 General performance criteria

 

2. There must be a clear and readily operational definition of the term “mature trees”.  Should mature trees that are nearing the end of their typical lifespan be preserved?  Should mature trees that will stand as individual stems once clearing and grading is complete be preserved when they are more subject to sunburn and windthrow?  Should mature trees that are damaged, infested, weakened, surviving prior lightning strikes, etc. be preserved?  How does one define “necessary to provide for the proposed use” when looking to exempt preservation of mature trees?  How much additional economic cost is acceptable to support site solutions to accommodating the proposed use for the purpose of preserving mature trees? 

 

9VAC25-830-140 Development criteria for Resource Protection Areas

 

3. “Where such [100 foot] buffer must be established, the planting of trees should be utilized to the maximum extent practicable and appropriate to site conditions.”  Explicit exemption should be given to sites with existing viewsheds; there should be no requirement or expectation that a property owner must plant trees that would obscure such viewshed.  Planting of trees on steep slopes or on high banks within the buffer to be established and sitting above other elements of the RPA should also explicitly be exempted.  Trees on steep slopes represent prospective kinetic threats to slope stability and water quality.

 

3b.  With respect to “land uses where agricultural or silviculture within the area of the buffer cease and the lands are proposed to be converted to other uses…” : Explicit exemption should be given to sites with existing viewsheds; there should be no requirement or expectation that a property owner must plant trees that would obscure such viewshed.  Planting of trees on steep slopes or on high banks within the buffer to be established and sitting above other elements of the RPA should also explicitly be exempted.  Trees on steep slopes represent prospective kinetic threats to slope stability and water quality.

 

4.a.(2). With respect to situations where “application of the buffer area would result in the loss of a buildable area on a lot or parcel recorded prior to October 1, 1989…”: Explicit exemption should be given to sites with existing viewsheds; there should be no requirement or expectation that a property owner must plant trees that would obscure such viewshed.  Planting of trees on steep slopes or on high banks within the buffer to be established and sitting above other elements of the RPA should also explicitly be exempted.  Trees on steep slopes represent prospective kinetic threats to slope stability and water quality.

 

5.a.(1). With respect to pruning or removal “as necessary to provide for sight lines and vistas”: Explicit exemption should be given to sites with existing viewsheds; there should be no requirement or expectation that a property owner must plant trees that would obscure such viewshed.  Planting of trees on steep slopes or on high banks within the buffer to be established and sitting above other elements of the RPA should also explicitly be exempted.  Trees on steep slopes represent prospective kinetic threats to slope stability and water quality.

 

5.a.(4). With respect to “shoreline erosion control projects”:  Explicit exemption should be given to sites with existing viewsheds; there should be no requirement or expectation that a property owner must plant trees that would obscure such viewshed.  Planting of trees on steep slopes or on high banks within the buffer to be established and sitting above other elements of the RPA should also explicitly be exempted.  Trees on steep slopes represent prospective kinetic threats to slope stability and water quality.  Planting trees in areas within the tidal range or within a predicted storm surge area are unlikely to survive and should not be required to be planted.

 

7. With respect to “Buffer area requirements for Intensely Developed Areas”:  Intensely developed areas are and have been a special category of land since adoption of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act.  These sites are commonly the location of major waterfront industries, long-established residential and mixed-use communities and places of historical cultural identity.  Encouraging the permissive (versus mandatory) planting of trees is preferable and should similarly be the standard for all other areas cited above.

CommentID: 97743