Forest Conservation

Goal:

Preserve and increase the tree canopy coverage in Town, and ensure that the location and scale of the future built environment preserves green infrastructure and other sensitive environmental resources.

Summary:

In 1991, the State of Maryland enacted the Forest Conservation Act to protect forests by making forest conditions and character an integral part of the site planning process. It is regulated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources but implemented and administered by local governments. The law’s intent is to maximize the benefits of forests and slow the loss of forest land, while allowing development to take place. In 2006, the Burgess and Commissioners adopted Subtitle 16 of Title 5 of the Natural Resources Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland as the “Middletown Forest Resource Ordinance.” Prior to the approval of any subdivision of land or development which results in the cumulative disturbance of 40,000 square feet or greater, developers must submit a Forest Stand Delineation and a Forest Conservation Plan which are reviewed and approved by the Middletown Planning Commission.

In 2006, the Burgess and Commissioners adopted Subtitle 16 of Title 5 of the Natural Resources Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland as the “Middletown Forest Resource Ordinance.”

Forest Conservation:

The Town makes every effort to plant trees along stream banks and within floodplains, and in other areas owned by the Town. If forest is being protected as part of a development project, the area must be put into an easement for long term protection. This is in addition to the street trees that developers have planted in recent subdivisions.

The Town will consider stricter guidelines for forest conservation regulations in line with the regulations that Frederick County has in place.

Middletown policy:

forested areas and steep slopes are not to be disturbed by development.

Middletown policy:

vegetated buffers are to be planted in species native to Middletown and the surrounding area.

Tree Canopy:

The Town is committed to increase tree canopy, enlisting volunteers and staff to plant trees in public spaces around the Town. A tree canopy assessment done for Frederick County showed the tree canopy percentage for Middletown to only be 18%. The Town has made a goal of reaching 25% coverage by 2025, and 40% coverage by 2040.

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Middletown policy:

the use of native species landscaping will be supported and promoted in all subdivisions and site plans in the Town in order to diminish the negative impacts of drought-intolerant or invasive plant and tree species.

Middletown policy:

adequate shading of paved surfaces will be provided in parking areas and along streets to the extent possible.

Middletown policy:

natural areas and farming remain the dominant use in the greenbelt.

1. Provide for the preservation of Open Space and environmental stewardship areas in Town to ensure that the natural environment and the views it provides citizens are preserved into the future. This would include preservation and expansion of fragmented or isolated woodlands into coherent greenways while providing water quality benefits for the Town’s water resources.


2. Continue the preservation of the greenbelt of open spaces and farmland established around the Town. This greenbelt physically separates Middletown from sprawl development in other areas of the County.

Resources