The Tree Canopy Fact Sheet prepared for the County Council hearing on the Downtown Silver Spring and Adjacent Communities Master Plan, April 2022This report comes from longtime FOSC member Kathleen Samiy, creator of the Tree Canopy Fact Sheet / Action Plan:

Something really great happened on May 3, something good for our environment and good for public health and well-being.

At the County Council worksession on the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Master Plan, Tom Hucker, our District 5 Council member, took the lead and entered a motion to:

1. Require 35% Green Cover (green roofs, vegetation and trees)

New development in the DTSS area that uses the Optional Method of Development would be required to provide 35% Green Cover to address the high temperatures occurring in DTSS. Downtown Silver Spring streets can become extremely hot in warm weather. NOAA reported a measurement of 130-155 degrees in the sun in DTSS (July 2020). Greater green cover would help cool surface temperatures. Currently, DTSS has only an 8% tree canopy, while Bethesda, Wheaton and White Flint urban areas have 2x more, about 18%, and Takoma Park has 53%. It is also an equity issue, as 35% green cover is required in Bethesda’s 2017 Plan.

2. Set a goal of 45% tree canopy cover in the entire Plan area on public and private property over the course of the 20 year Plan

A tree canopy of 45% is also the minimum goal needed to improve water quality in Sligo Creek and Rock Creek.

Evan Glass of Silver Spring, At-Large Council member, wholeheartedly supported the Motion. Nancy Navarro was also very expressive that this is an equity and environmental justice issue.

The result was unanimous. All 9 Council members voted to adopt this language to be written into the final Silver Spring Downtown Plan. The vote thus requires that the Plan’s authors (the Planning Board and the Council PHED Committee) must include this stronger language in the final Downtown Silver Spring Master Plan.

You can watch the work session here, starting at 1 hour 47 minutes to the 2 hour mark. The legislative attorney reads the points requested by Community members, and then Tom Hucker makes the Motion.

Thank you, Kathleen, for your hard work on this issue!

Thank you also to the other FOSC members and concerned residents who participated in community discussions as part of the Master Plan process.