A proposed zoning law is receiving mixed responses from environmentalists and builders in Prince George’s County. County Bill 80 states that on all future development projects within the county, environmentally friendly features, such as trees, must be used to filter 100 percent of rain runoff. The state of Maryland currently requires that new developments catch and filter 50 percent of all rain runoff. Counties are allowed to set higher standards if they so desire. With the bill set to be voted on October 26th, residents are voicing their opinions on the proposed legislation. The Gazette reports:
Environmental groups say most pollution in area waterways comes when rainfall washes rapidly off “impervious surfaces” such as area parking lots, roads and driveways without filtering into the ground.
The proposal calls for developers seeking to build new construction or redevelop old sites to submit detailed plans on how they will catch and filter all the rain that falls on the property before they can get a building permit. According to the proposal, when possible, developers should avoid clearing trees and leveling land for development, and builders would be encouraged to reduce paved surfaces and create landscape islands of trees and shrubs to handle storm water naturally.