Your Help Needed to Oppose Bill that Removes of Local Authority for Tree and Vegetation Regulations

Posted on November 26, 2018 by Dene Westbrook

The Michigan Municipal League needs your help to oppose new legislation that is expected to move quickly in this Lame Duck legislative period in Lansing.

The Lame Duck period for the Legislature is now underway and the League needs your support in opposing Senate Bill 1188. This bill would enact the “Vegetation Removal Preemption Act” to prohibit a local unit of government from adopting, maintaining, or enforcing an ordinance, charter provision, or regulation that restricts, or requires mitigation for the trimming or removal of any vegetation located on private property within an agricultural, business, commercial, or industrial zoning district. The legislation specifically states that any ordinance or regulation that did any of the above would be void.

The legislation has been scheduled for a committee hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, November 27 at 8:30 a.m. in the Senate Natural Resources Committee. The hearing will take place in Room 1100 at the Binsfeld Office Building, 201 Townsend Street, Lansing, Michigan.

The League strongly opposes this legislation as it would:

  • Void local regulations put in place to protect quality of life by using vegetation to buffer and reduce nuisances such as storm water and agricultural runoff, and help mitigate noise and dust.
  • Have adverse impacts on development. Storm water management and soil erosion are two issues local vegetation regulations help to mitigate and protect. Many times “green infrastructure” is a cost effective way for developers to use vegetation to manage storm water. Having to install pipes, tanks and basins (gray infrastructure) will be costly, and ultimately cost everyone more money, as local communities must comply with state and federal water quality and discharge requirements.
  • Voids the Zoning Enabling Act which allows for cluster development to preserve and protect sensitive environmental features. Local communities will be unable to enforce PUD/cluster development provisions.
  • Jeopardizes a community’s designation as a Tree City USA Community.
  • Undermines local governments ability to address local matters of concern and importance locally.

Please contact the Senate Natural Resource Committee members and your local Senator to oppose this legislation.

Here is the list of Senators on this committee, with links to their contact information:

Find your state Senator HERE and find your state Representative HERE.

If you’re interested in engaging further on this issue, contact the League’s Jennifer Rigterink directly. The League will continue to follow this legislation and provide updates.

Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.

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