Life is full of trade-offs. In Bethesda, Maryland, trees are falling victim to the soft tyranny of good intentions, says builder Larry Cafritz. Montgomery County officials are working on regulations intended to keep builders from destroying tree canopy coverage when they build big new homes in the already densely populated county, reports the website Bethesdanow.com (“As Bethesda Homeowners Supersize Homes, County Looks To Protect Tree Canopy,” by Aaron Kraut).
But according to luxury custom builder Larry Cafritz, the county’s stormwater regulations are the biggest reason he can’t save mature trees on site. Said Cafritz in public testimony: “We’re confronted with all kinds of situations. We have room for trees to stay in many cases. In other cases we don’t. What’s getting more difficult now is the stormwater management laws. Every single downspout from your house has to extend into a stormwater management pit, which means we maybe put in four, five, six or seven on a site. It ravages a site. It’s very difficult to try to work and put these stormwater management facilities in. They are enormous holes and cause enormous destruction. We really have been fighting to save trees on our sites but now we don’t have a fighting chance.”