Sactown Urban Update

Sactown Urban Update

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The City gets serious about trees

Tree Ordinance Update
It may soon be against the law to have a diseased tree on your property, even if you don't own it!

To protect and enhance our urban canopy, the city Council will soon review an updated Tree Ordinance which spells out rules for dealing with trees and makes it unlawful for an owner to allow certain conditions to exist - diseased trees among others.  Even if the tree belongs to the city!

It includes conditions such as dutch elm disease or other pests or disease on private property that constitutes a threat to health, safety or welfare of the residents, neighbors, public or other trees. Mistletoe, a parasite that slowly kills trees may also qualify.

City Code Chapter 12.56 "Tree Planting, Maintenance and Conservation" has been completely rewritten and aims to provide clear standards for protection, removal and replacement of city trees and private protected trees.   As written, certain trees on private property appear to be exempt but the proposed language is confusing.

Tree Permits will be required for all "Regulated Work" and will detail the location, nature and necessity of proposed tree work along with an application fee.  The city may require an arborist report, site map, landscape and/or tree replacement plan in addition to other information the city deems necessary.

"Regulated work"  means among other things, any act that could adversely impact the health of a tree such as:pruning branches or roots, putting lights on it, removing it, topping, working around it, and storing or using equipment or harmful substance within the tree's protection zone.  It does not include routine maintenance (also defined).

Specific guidelines for issuance of permits are contained in the proposed ordinance along with public notice and appeals provisions

The ordinance also says that property owners are responsible for the cost and maintenance of trees on their property if adjacent to a street or ally, and they are responsible for keeping those trees trimmed as (defined). and for removal of fallen leaves

The City Council takes up this matter on July 19th.  To review the new rules go to the city's Strategic Plan and Ordinance Review and read the Proposed Tree Ordinance under Project Resources.

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