Plan to spruce up Fairfax County street tree population clears Board of Supervisors

Trees line Avenir Place in Dunn Loring (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

As Fairfax County pines for a better tree canopy, county staff is hoping a credit program expansion can spruce up the area’s street trees.

While developers could already a 10-Year Tree Canopy Credit for trees built on-site, trees in the public right-of-way aren’t eligible despite positive impacts on the environment and site development. At a meeting last week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors raised no objection to an information item expanding eligibility to include trees.

The change in urban design guidelines across Fairfax County makes street trees eligible for that 10-Year Tree Canopy Credit and implements a new set of standards, along with minimums and maximum tree sizes, for street trees.

“These changes give the Urban Forestry Management Division (UFMD) authority to have long-term oversight of street trees that are included in ten-year tree canopy calculations,” the agenda item said. “Perpetual maintenance and replacement agreements by the applicant are required to due to the potential for the removal of trees in rights-of-way and easements.”

Per a county news release, the new guidelines apply to developments in more urbanized activity centers:

  • Tysons Urban Center
  • Annandale
  • Bailey’s Crossroads/Seven Corners
  • Huntington
  • Lake Anne
  • Lincolnia
  • McLean
  • Merrifield
  • Reston
  • Springfield
  • West Falls Church

Those areas tend to some of Fairfax County’s most notable “heat islands” and tend to be areas with lower area median incomes than the county average, according to the county.

“The result is intended to increase the number of street trees and associated tree canopy to improve environmental, social, and economic outcomes,” the agenda item said. “Trees planted will be monitored for success and adjustments to the planting details will be made as necessary.”

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