Tree advocates have an important opportunity to help expand the protections for trees by helping set the County’s agenda for state legislative initiatives and their relative priorities. The current proposal can be accessed at this site. The Board meeting on Saturday, October 16th is a striking venue to voice priorities for trees. Recent work by citizens working with the Arlington County Civic Association have identified many legislative options for consideration involving zoning, tree replacement, stormwater, climate change, environmental equity, and health regulations. Trees are only referenced in generalities on the last page without taking a leadership role:
“Preserving and Expanding Tree Canopy: Support legislation to provide local governments with greater authority in the reforestation, preservation, and management of urban forests in recognition of their ability to capture and store carbon, reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality, reduce energy use, and mitigate urban heat islands and their health effects.”
Tree advocates must step forward now to emphasize the breadth of impacts from trees lost and the need to act quickly to secure more authority to protect trees at the local level. The County has done little to bring ATAG or other advocates into the discussions. Their outreach methods are: “Staff has worked with the County’s boards and commissions, County departmental staff, members of the public and the County Board members to develop proposals for the 2022 General Assembly session.” We must raise a loud voice for any meaningful changes to occur.
At this Saturday’s Board meeting, Item 46, County staff will be presenting the package for the County Board’s proposed General Assembly Session priorities. The Board will consider adoption of final priorities at the November meeting. There are no public meetings scheduled to discuss these priorities.
To learn more and/or speak at the meeting go to the Board site.