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On Wednesday, December 11, the Town Council will hold a public hearing on an ordinance to amend the Town Code to eliminate the permitting requirements and height restrictions for front yard hedges.
Since 1986, the Town Code has required a permit for the installation of a front yard hedge, which is defined as “a row of closely-planted shrubs, bushes, trees, or other plant material that has leaves at or below six feet from the adjacent ground.” Additionally, the Code has required that front yard hedges on interior streets be maintained at a height not to exceed three feet, while those on border streets be maintained at a height not to exceed six feet.
The enforcement of these regulations has proven difficult in several respects. Plants continuously grow and change, making the height standard difficult to comply with and enforce. In addition, there is often disagreement as to whether certain landscaping meets the Town’s definition of a hedge.
Lastly, many residents are not aware of the current regulations, especially those residents who have purchased a property with front yard hedges that were installed by a previous owner. In many cases, trimming the hedges to the proper heights would result in the destruction of the plants.
Given the number of front yard hedges in Town and difficulties with enforcing the current regulations, the Town Council introduced the proposed ordinance at its November meeting and scheduled a public hearing at the Wednesday, December 11 Council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall. A copy of the proposed ordinance is available here.
The ordinance does not propose changes to Town regulations related to overgrown vegetation in the rights-of-way. These regulations, which the Town will continue to enforce, ensure that all plantings on private property are maintained in such a manner as not to interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
If you are unable to attend the December 11 public hearing, you may submit comments to the Town Office, 4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase, MD 20815 or to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the hearing.