Interim Significant and Heritage Tree Regulations Amendments
Tuesday, October 26, 2016
On October 18, 2016, the Board of Supervisors adopted amendments to the County’s Significant and Heritage Tree Protection regulations. These amendments address tree protection requirements and increased penalties for unauthorized tree removal. These changes take effect 30 days from the adoption of the amendments (November 18, 2016). Once in effect, the County will require:
1. Tree Plans and Analysis of the Impact of Development on Trees
Submittal of a separate tree plan as part of any Planning or Building permit application that proposes development that may impact Significant or Heritage Trees. This plan must clearly show the location, species and size of all trees (both trunk and canopy), the footprint of any existing or proposed structures, and the alignment of any proposed underground utilities. The plan must be prepared by a licensed surveyor or registered civil engineer in order to ensure spatial accuracy. An arborist’s report is required if development could potentially damage any trees not proposed for removal and must assess the potential impact of new development on affected trees and measures to avoid and remediate any impact that does occur. A pre-construction site inspection is required to verify that all required tree protection and erosion control measures are in place prior to issuance of permits for demolition, grading or construction.
2. Increased Penalty Fees and Mitigation Requirements
Violation of the revised regulations will result in the issuance of a Stop Work Notice which will restrict all construction activity on the subject parcel until a mitigation plan is submitted, approved, and implemented, as well as penalties and After-the-Fact Tree Removal Permit fees collected. After-the-Fact Tree Removal Application fees shall be up to 10 times the normal permit fee, as currently allowed by the Planning Department’s fee schedule. In addition, the ordinance now includes the following new penalty fees for unauthorized tree removal:
First Heritage Tree - $5,000
Second Heritage Tree - $7,500
Each Additional Heritage Tree - $10,000
First Significant Tree - $2,500
Second Significant Tree - $3,750
Each Additional Significant Tree - $5,000
These new penalty fees are intended to deter the unpermitted removal of trees, account for the increased time and administrative costs associated with the processing of violations and After-the-Fact Tree Removal Permits, and reflect the significant community and environmental benefits that Heritage and Significant Trees provide.
For more information, see Tree Ordinances Update Project.