• New Tree Ordinance: The Reader’s Digest Version

    Trees and the Urban Forest
    [replacing existing chapter 12.16]

    Chapter 12.20 Protected Trees

    • NEW – 25-year city-wide canopy cover target to maintain the existing canopy cover with the goal of a total canopy cover of 33 percent.
    • CHANGE (previously all trees required permits, regardless of species) – Four Categories of Protected Trees that require permits for removal:
      • Native Trees – all Gowen cypress, regardless of size; all Coast live oak, Monterey cypress, Shore Pine, and Monterey pine 6 inches or greater in trunk diameter, measured at 54 inches above native grade.
      • Monarch Butterfly Habitat Trees – all Trees in or within 100 yards of designated Monarch Sanctuaries. Pruning or Removal of Trees within 100 yards of any boundary of a Monarch Sanctuary prohibited during the months of October through April unless deemed necessary by the public works director for public health, safety, or welfare (can be appealed to the city council)
      • Public Trees– all Trees on Public Property 6 inches or greater in trunk diameter, measured at 54 inches above native grade, and all Street Trees, regardless of size.
      • Designated Trees – all Trees that are specifically designated to be saved and protected on public or private property during Development and all Trees otherwise identified —during Development or otherwise—for special protection by the property owner.
        • Trees that are proposed to be removed as part of a Development project shall be replaced.
    • CHANGED (modified criteria) – Criteria for Substantial Pruning or Removal of any Protected Tree:
      • The Tree Risk Assessment Level is “High” or “Extreme”
      • The Tree is causing or is projected to cause significant damage to hardscape (house foundations, driveways, retaining walls, patios, etc.), utility service lines, or infrastructure (sidewalk, curb, storm drain, Street, etc.)
      • The Tree is within the fuel management zone around an occupancy, or is within a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone
      • The Tree is determined to be a Nuisance
    • A Protected Tree shall not be Substantially Pruned or Removed for the purpose of securing or improving a view, for acquiring more sunlight or air, or to reduce organic litter, unless the Tree is to be replaced, subject to conditions determined by the city arborist. Protected Trees may be substantially pruned in order to provide a framed or filtered view.
    • NEW – The City shall strive to preserve view corridors, as defined in the General Plan, through the maintenance and pruning of Public Trees and by encouraging private property owners to maintain and prune their Trees.
    • Replacement of Protected Trees:
      • CHANGED (from 2:1 req) -For the removal of all other Protected Trees, one Replacement Tree is required for each Protected Tree Removed.
      • NEW – The desired overall nature and scope of Tree canopy to achieve a mixed, healthy urban forest is as follows:
        • Residential properties: The canopy coverage goal for Trees on residential properties shall be based on the available landscape area, if feasible, as follows:


    Available Landscape Area Upper Canopy Trees Lower Canopy Trees
    Up to 2,000 square feet 0-1 1-2
    2,001 – 3,000 square feet 2 2-3
    3,001- 4,000 square feet 3 3-4
    Over 4,000 square feet Variable Variable


    NEW (to address fairness issue for properties with lots of trees) – On residential properties where the number of Trees after proposed Removal(s) would exceed the canopy coverage goals above, no Replacement Tree(s) shall be required.

    • NEW – Commercial and governmental properties. One Tree per 30 feet of frontage, with a minimum of two Trees, if space is available. In parks and open space, the City shall strive to achieve at least 33 percent canopy coverage, where appropriate.
    • NEW – Parking Lots. Thirty three percent of paved parking lots shall be shaded with tree canopies, and in conjunction with low impact development landscaping for stormwater management.
    • NEW (creates flexibility in the permit process) – Appropriate Variation for Individual Situations. In determining tree replacement, allows the arborist to consider:
    • Neighborhood, Zoning district, and parcel objectives and aesthetics;
    • Existing canopy coverage on the lot
    • Adjacent properties and land uses;
    • Size and location of structures;
    • Existing infrastructure and potential for adverse impacts;
    • Topography and soil conditions;
    • Stormwater management and erosion prevention;
    • Windbreak potential;
    • Viewshed protection;
    • Wildlife habitat protection;
    • Long-term health potential of the replacement Tree.
    • Allows for an in-lieu fee if findings can be made that the Tree replacement planting is not Feasible, based on the criteria above.

    Chapter 12.30 Trees and Development

    • NEW – During the Development process, a Tree Resource Assessment shall be performed by a Qualified Professional and be designated the Project Arborist for the duration of the project. All costs associated with the Project Arborist shall to be borne by the applicant.
    • NEW – The Development shall preserve, or mitigate for, the maximum number of Suitable individual Trees that exist on the site pre-development in accordance with the desired canopy and identify any Designated Trees that would be Removed as a result of Development. Designated Trees shall be replaced.
    • NEW (improves tree protection during construction) – Construction Impact Analysis – requires evaluation of construction impacts, recommending alternative construction methods and preconstruction treatments, Critical Root Zone specifications, including a protection-fencing plan, and mitigation requirements which become Conditions of Project Approval and delineated on construction drawings for the Building Permit.

    Chapter 12.40 High-Risk Trees and Nuisance Trees – NEW SECTION – creates new process for risk assessment

    • High-Risk Trees are defined through a rating system
    • CHANGE – Clarifies & defines emergency situations – If the situation is an Emergency, such that the Tree would be given a Potential Failure Rating of 12, Extreme, immediate action is necessary, including, for example, cordoning off the area, to ameliorate the risk, until the appropriate work can be completed.
    • Nuisance Trees – sets criteria for determining if a tree is causing a public nuisance.

    NEW – Urban Forestry Standards

    • Further describes tree risk assessment process
    • Clarifies requirements for tree reports
    • Provides further explanation of requirements during construction
    • Provides guidance for proper tree planting & maintenance
    • Provides methods for addressing conflicts between trees and infrastructure



    posted to Cedar Street Times on November 2, 2012

    Topics: Green


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