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Forest Conservation

The intent of the Forest Conservation Ordinance is to permanently preserve and protect established forests, and to create and protect new forests. The City of Hagerstown Forest Conservation Ordinance became effective on May 21, 1999, and is named as Article 7 in the Land Management Code (Chapter 140) of the Code of the City of Hagerstown.

If the total tract size of your property is 40,000 square feet (0.918 acres) or greater and you are submitting a site plan, subdividing land, grading, applying for a sediment control permit or developing land, you fall under the requirements of the Forest Conservation Ordinance. If you are clearing less than 20,000 square feet of forest on an existing single lot, then the Ordinance does not apply to your project. Please refer to the LMC for the actual requirements.

Generally, applicants submit a Forest Stand Delineation (FSD) with the site plan or subdivision plat. The FSD basically shows the existing conditions of the site (soil composition, forest stands, floodplain, and other geographic features). After the Planning Office approves the FSD, the applicant will then submit a Forest Conservation Plan (FCP), which illustrates how the forestation requirements will be met. The FCP is approved by the Planning Commission.

As an alternative to exclusively planting forest stands to meet forestation requirements, the Planning Office encourages applicants to plant street trees as part or all of their forestation responsibility. Street trees must be planted between the curb and sidewalk, or just behind the sidewalk in order to qualify. Please consult the Approved "Street Tree" Species List for appropriate trees.

Related Forest Conservation Documents

1)      Forest Conservation Ordinance Requirements - a summary of and checklist for the Forest Conservation review process

2)      City of Hagerstown Forest Conservation Application (complete and submit with the Forest Stand Delineation)this can be found on the Application Forms page.

3)      Forest Stand Delineation and Forest Conservation Plan Checklist

4)    Forest Conservation Worksheet, Version 2.2 (Maryland Department of Natural Resources)

For more information, contact us at (301) 790-4163, ext. 138 or email