Frederick County

Forest Conservancy District Board

March 9, 2020 Meeting Minutes

Those Present: Tom Anderson, Dawne Howard, Keith Schoonover, Lori Schoonover, Dave Hunter, Vince Perrotta, Bethany Dellagnello, Drake Russell, Paul Walker, Harry George, Mike Kay

Guests: Paul Walker and Harry George introduced themselves. These gentlemen are from the Sierra Club and they stopped by to discuss the proposed changes Jan Garner wishes to make to Frederick County’s FRO program.

  1. Call to order: Vince called the meeting to order. (Keith, Lori, and Mike arrived a bit later.)

  2. Treasurer’s Report: As per Dave Barrow’s email: One check cleared - $67.13 (to Bethany for tree tag cost overrun) One donation - $5.04 (via the website)

    • There are two issues I would like the board to vote on. I looked into electronic payment through the bank and they told me it cost $.45 per payment to use this service. That is cheaper than us mailing checks to people, so I would like to get permission to do electronic payments whenever we can't just hand someone a check.

    • The other issue is the payment for the website domains names. It cost $12, per domain name per year. We have two that we maintain, and, so the total cost is $24 per year. I would like to set up electronic payment so these payments are made automatically each year.

    • Keith read Dave’s proposals and ats Dave requested, a motion was made to accept Dave’s proposed changes which was seconded and passed by membership.

  3. Logging site exams: Mike indicated that no plans were received this month.

  4. Frederick Tree Walk: Bethany and Vince were able to install 30 tree tags recently and plan to return to install the remainder. Bethany and Vince talked to a number of bystanders and their comments were generally positive.

  5. PR Activities: Sonia sent Media Release around talking about tree’s breaking dormancy and tying it in with Cunningham Fall’s Maple Syrup Festival, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. The press release generated some interest with Hagerstown TV Station and Sonia, Keith, and Alicia Norris (Park Service) visited the station to conduct a TV interview. Keith spoke about trees, the Forestry Board and NRCC Camp. Alicia answered questions relating to Cunningham Falls, and the Maple Syrup Festival.

  6. Proposed Changes to Frederick County FRO program: Harry George explained that Frederick County’s FRO (Forest Retention Ordinance) was the County’s adaptation to Maryland’s Forest Conservation Act whereby tree loss during development needs to be mitigated in some fashion. The ways forest loss can be mitigated include retaining forest onsite, replanting onsite, purchasing an easement from a participating landowner, paying into a fee in lieu fund. Originally Frederick County had a 1:1 ratio for FRO but it was changed to a lower percent in 2011. Since the 2011 change Frederick County has lost 490 acres of forest to development. County Executive Jan Gardner has proposed that Frederick County reinstate the 1:1 ratio so that no net loss of forest occur. The County is accepting written comments in support or opposition for these changes and there will be a public hearing at Winchester Hall on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 to discuss these changes. Harry and Paul asked Board members to consider sending a letter in support of this legislation and the Zoning Amendment Changes. Following their narrative Harry and Paul fielded numerous questions from Board Members. Finally, Tom made a motion to support Executive Gardner’s proposal as proposed, in a letter drafted by the Forestry Board. This motion was seconded and passed by those present. Tom said that he would draft the letter but would appreciate if Harry would provide some pertinent details relating to who to send this to and the exact wording of the Legislation etc. Various Board members also mentioned that they plan on attending the March 31, hearing. Harry and Paul thanked Board members for their time and departed.

  7. Nature Notes: Lori mentioned that we have a fairly nice backlog but we could always use some more articles.

  8. Web site: As per Dave’s email… Website - Several changes made at Sonia Demiray recommendation.

    • Added a button to accept request to be added to the weekly. One request has been received and added.

    • Added a donate button which accepts payments via credit cards, apple pay, Samsung pay, google pay, bank ach payments and PayPal. One test donation has been received in February and a $25 donation has been received in March (will be reported in Marches treasurers report).

    • Added analytics tracking to our website to track the number of users that come to the site, which pages they go too, and how much time they spend on it.

    • Added a page for press releases.

    • Added picture from the WDVM interview to our home page.

    • Several minor changes were also made to keep archived information easier to find.

  9. New Business:

    • Mike mentioned that the City of Thurmont is planning to hold a seedling planting event on Saturday, March 21, 2020.