Chapter 5.60
HERITAGE TREES

Sections:

5.60.010    Title.

5.60.020    Purpose and intent.

5.60.030    Applicability.

5.60.040    Definitions.

5.60.050    Tree removal permit required.

5.60.060    Tree removal permit procedure.

5.60.070    Appeals.

5.60.080    Protection of heritage trees during construction.

5.60.090    Protection plan required prior to issuance of permit.

5.60.100    Applicant to guarantee protection—Security deposit.

5.60.110    Public utilities.

5.60.120    Violation—Penalty.

5.60.010 Title.

This chapter shall be known as “the Heritage Tree Ordinance.” (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))

5.60.020 Purpose and intent.

This chapter is adopted because the city has many heritage trees, the preservation of which is beneficial to the health and welfare of the citizens of this city in order to enhance the scenic beauty, increase property values, encourage quality development, prevent soil erosion, protect against flood hazards and the risk of landslides, counteract pollution in the air, and maintain the climatic balance within the city. For these reasons the city finds it is in the public interest, convenience, necessity and welfare to establish regulations controlling the removal of and the preservation of heritage trees within the city. In establishing these regulations, it is the city’s intent to preserve as many heritage trees as possible consistent with the reasonable use and enjoyment of private property. (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))

5.60.030 Applicability.

This chapter applies to all property within the city of Dublin, including private property, residential and nonresidential zones, developed and undeveloped land. (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))

5.60.040 Definitions.

The following words and phrases, whenever used in this chapter, shall be as construed as defined in this section:

“Certified or consulting arborist” means an arborist who is registered with the International Society of Arboriculture and approved by the Director.

“City” means the city of Dublin.

“Development” means any improvement of real property which requires the approval of zoning, subdivision, conditional use permits or site development review permits.

“Director” means the Community Development Director or his or her designee.

“Drip line” means a line drawn on the ground around a tree directly under its outermost branch tips and which identifies that location where rainwater tends to drop from the tree.

“Effectively remove” includes, but is not limited to, any extreme pruning that is not consistent with standards arboriculture practices for a healthy heritage tree and that results in the tree’s permanent disfigurement, destruction, or removal ordered by the city pursuant to Section 5.60.050(B)(2).

“Heritage tree” means any of the following:

1.    Any oak, bay, cypress, maple, redwood, buckeye and sycamore tree having a trunk or main stem of twenty-four (24) inches or more in diameter measured at four (4) feet six (6) inches above natural grade;

2.    A tree required to be preserved as part of an approved development plan, zoning permit, use permit, site development review or subdivision map;

3.    A tree required to be planted as a replacement for an unlawfully removed tree.

“Protect” means the protection of an existing tree from damage and stress such that the tree is likely to survive and continue to grow normally in a healthy condition, through measures that avoid or minimize damage to branches, canopy, trunk and roots of the tree. Such measures may include, but are not limited to, installation of tree protective fencing, mulching and watering of roots, supervision of work by an arborist, installation of aeration or drainage systems, root pruning, and use of nondestructive excavation techniques.

“Remove” or “removal” means cutting a tree to the ground, extraction of a tree, or killing of a tree by spraying, girdling, or any other means. (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))

5.60.050 Tree removal permit required.

A.    No person may remove, cause to be removed, or effectively remove any heritage tree from any property within the city of Dublin without obtaining a permit from the Director.

B.    Exceptions. A permit is not required for the following:

1.    Removal of a heritage tree that presents an immediate hazard to life or property, with the approval of the Director, City Engineer, Police Chief, Fire Chief or their designee;

2.    Removal that is specifically approved as part of a city-approved planned development development plan, conditional use permit, site development review, or subdivision map;

3.    Pruning of heritage trees that conforms with the guidelines of the International Society of Arboriculture, Tree Pruning Guidelines, current edition, on file in the Community Development Department.

C.    Tree removal requested as part of the development of a property subject to zoning, subdivision, conditional use permit, or site development review application approval shall be reviewed and approved by the body having final authority over the entitlement application. (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))

5.60.060 Tree removal permit procedure.

A.    Any person wishing to remove one or more heritage trees shall apply to the Director for a permit. The application for a permit shall be made on forms provided by the Community Development Department and shall include the following:

1.    A drawing showing all existing trees and the location, type and size of all tree(s) proposed to be removed;

2.    A brief statement of the reason for removal;

3.    If the tree or trees are proposed for removal because of their condition, a certified arborist’s determination of the state of health of the heritage trees may be required;

4.    Written consent of the owner of record of the land on which the tree(s) are proposed to be removed;

5.    A tree removal permit fee of twenty-five dollars ($25) to cover the cost of permit administration. An additional deposit may be required by the Director to retain a certified arborist to assist the city in assessing the condition of the trees;

6.    Other pertinent information as required by the Director.

B.    Tree removal requested in conjunction with an application for any development entitlements shall provide to the Community Development Department a landscaping plan specifying the precise location, size, species and drip-line of all existing trees on or in the vicinity of the property. The landscape plan shall also show existing and proposed grades and the location of proposed and existing structures.

C.    The Director shall inspect the property and evaluate each application. In deciding whether to issue a permit, the Director shall base the decision on the following criteria:

1.    The condition of the tree or trees with respect to health, imminent danger of falling, proximity to existing or proposed structures and interference with utility services or public works projects;

2.    The necessity to remove the tree or trees for reasonable development of the property;

3.    The topography of the land and the effect of the removal of the tree on erosion, soil retention and diversion or increased flow of stream waters;

4.    The number of trees existing in the neighborhood and the effect the removal would have upon shade, privacy impact, scenic beauty and the general welfare of the city as a whole.

D.    The Director shall render a decision regarding the permit within ten (10) working days after the receipt of a complete application.

E.    If an application to remove a heritage tree is being requested in conjunction with a development entitlement, then the decision on the tree removal permit shall be rendered simultaneously with the decision on the development entitlement and shall be made by the body having final authority over the entitlement application. In deciding whether to approve a tree removal permit under this subsection, the reviewing body shall consider the criteria set forth in subsection C of this section.

F.    The Director may refer any application to any city department for review and recommendation.

G.    The Director or the reviewing body having final authority over the development may grant or deny the application or grant the application with conditions, including the condition that one (1) or more replacement trees be planted of a designated species, size and location. (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))

5.60.070 Appeals.

A.    Any decision of the Director, pursuant to this chapter, may be appealed to the City Council. Appeals shall be in writing, shall be signed by the applicant, shall state the reasons the appeal is made, and be filed with the City Clerk within fourteen (14) days of written notification of the decision by the Director. Any appeal shall be accompanied by an appeal fee in the amount established by resolution of the City Council.

B.    The City Clerk shall place all such appeals on the agenda of the next regular Council meeting and shall give the appellant at least five (5) calendar days’ notice of the time and place of said hearing. Appeals shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 1.04.050 of this code. The decision of the City Council shall be final. (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))

5.60.080 Protection of heritage trees during construction.

All applicants for demolition, grading, or building permits on property containing one or more heritage trees shall prepare a tree protection plan pursuant to Section 5.60.090. (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))

5.60.090 Protection plan required prior to issuance of permit.

A.    A plan to protect heritage trees as described in Section 5.60.080 of this chapter shall be submitted to the Director prior to the issuance of demolition, grading or building permits. The plan shall ensure that the tree, including its root system, is adequately protected from potential harm during demolition, grading and construction that could cause damage to the heritage tree. Such harm may include excavation and trenching, construction and chemical materials storage, stormwater runoff and erosion, and soil compaction. The plan shall be prepared and signed by a certified arborist and approved by the Director. The Director may refer the plan to a city-selected arborist for review and recommendation. The cost of this review shall be borne by the developer/applicant requesting said permit.

B.    The Director may require that a certified arborist be present on the project site during grading or other construction activity that may impact the health of the tree(s) to be preserved.

C.    Damage to any tree during construction shall be immediately reported to the Director so that proper treatment may be administered. The Director may refer to a city-selected arborist to determine the appropriate method of repair for any damage. The cost of any treatment or repair shall be borne by the developer/applicant responsible for the development of the project. Failure to notify the Director may result in the issuance of a stop work order.

D.    The Director may waive the requirement for a tree protection plan if he or she determines that the grading or construction activity is minor in nature and that the proposed activity will not significantly modify the ground area within or immediately surrounding the drip-line of the tree(s). (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))

5.60.100 Applicant to guarantee protection—Security deposit.

A.    The applicant shall guarantee the protection of the existing tree(s) on the site not approved for removal through placement of a cash bond or other security deposit in the amount based upon the valuation of the trees acceptable to the Director. The Director may refer to a city-selected arborist to estimate the value of the tree(s) in accordance with industry standards.

B.    The cash bond or other security shall be retained for a reasonable period of time following the acceptance of the public improvements for the development, not to exceed one (1) year. The cash bond or security is to be released upon the satisfaction of the Director that the tree(s) to be preserved have not been endangered. The cash bond or security deposit shall be forfeited as a civil penalty for any unauthorized removal or destruction of a heritage tree. (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))

5.60.110 Public utilities.

Any public utility installing or maintaining any overhead wires or underground pipes or conduits in the vicinity of a heritage tree shall obtain permission from the Director before performing any work which may cause injury to the heritage tree. The Director shall provide all water, sewer, electrical and gas utilities operating within the city with a copy of this chapter. (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))

5.60.120 Violation—Penalty.

A.    Any person who unlawfully removes, destroys or damages a heritage tree shall pay a civil penalty equal to twice the amount of the appraised value of the tree. A city-selected arborist shall estimate the replacement value of the lost tree(s) in accordance with industry standards. The penalty shall include the city’s costs incurred in performing the appraisal.

B.    Any person violating any portion of this chapter that results in the loss of a heritage tree shall be required to replace said tree with a new tree and/or additional plantings of the same species. The Director shall determine the size and location of replacement tree(s). The Director may refer to the recommendation of a city-selected arborist. (Ord. 5-02 § 2 (part): Ord. 29-99 § 1 (part))