Chapter 17.95
ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE HABITATS

Sections:

17.95.005    General provisions.

17.95.010    General regulations.

17.95.020    Soquel Creek and lagoon.

17.95.030    Soquel Creek riparian corridor regulations.

17.95.040    Noble Gulch riparian corridor regulations.

17.95.050    Tannery Gulch riparian corridor regulations.

17.95.060    Soquel Creek – Escalona Gulch Monarch butterfly habitat regulations.

17.95.061    Escalona Gulch Monarch Butterfly Habitat – Additional regulations.

17.95.005 General provisions.

The regulations set forth in this chapter apply to the environmentally sensitive habitat district as shown on the habitat maps and in all other areas identified by qualified professionals as sensitive habitat. Land classified ESH shall also have a basic classification as set forth elsewhere in this title. The regulations of this chapter shall apply in addition to those of the underlying district. (Ord. 677 § 7(A), 1989)

17.95.010 General regulations.

In ruling on development applications concerning properties located within environmentally sensitive habitats dealt with in this chapter or as may be identified in the future, the following regulations shall be applicable:

A. Siting, design, and other development conditions should be utilized to achieve the long-term protection of the environmentally sensitive habitats.

B. New development shall not be permitted to encroach into the waters of Soquel Creek or lagoon, nor be sited within the root zone of riparian or butterfly host trees, or require the removal of the trees.

C. For new development the city shall maintain maximum setbacks from natural areas.

D. In limited circumstances, where a vacant parcel lacking structure-siting flexibility exists, a reduction of the standard setback may be permitted in order to allow for a minimum level of development, providing that it can be ensured that encroachment into the setback area will not have a significant effect on the natural area.

E. In order to provide technical expertise concerning specific habitat protection issues, the city shall require the services of a biologist, botanist, forester, or other qualified professional to assist in determining such questions as the precise location or boundary of a designated natural area, or the effect of the proposed development project on the immediate and long-term health and viability of the natural area. This may be required through the environmental impact review process. Mitigation measures as contained in the professional evaluations shall be made conditions of approval where needed to minimize impact.

F. If necessary and appropriate to protect natural areas, consideration should be given to requesting or requiring permanent conservation easements over portions of property containing designated natural areas. All environmentally sensitive habitat areas and their buffer zones shall be protected by conservation easements or deed restrictions. (Ord. 677 § 7(B), 1989; Ord. 634 § 1, 1987)

17.95.020 Soquel Creek and lagoon.

In the Soquel Creek and lagoon area the following are required:

A. No new development shall be permitted within the banks of Soquel Creek and lagoon.

B. New development shall be set back at least thirty-five feet from the western shoreline of Soquel Creek lagoon. (Outside the coastal zone, subsections A and B of this section do not apply to public facilities. Within the coastal zone, subsections A and B do apply to public facilities, except as allowed under Section 30233 of the Coastal Act.)

C. New divisions of land shall not be approved that do not contain adequate area outside the riparian or stream bank setback for each parcel proposed.

D. Conformance to the Capitola erosion control ordinance (Chapter 15.28) shall be required for all new development. Sand and grease traps and other measures suitable to reduce erosion from the project site and maintain water quality in Soquel Creek shall be required. Grading shall be minimized within the setback areas and shall not be permitted to damage roots of riparian trees. (Ord. 685 § 8, 1989; Ord. 677 § 7(C), 1989; Ord. 634 § 1, 1987)

17.95.030 Soquel Creek riparian corridor regulations.

In the Soquel Creek riparian corridor the following are required:

A. Development in areas adjacent to the Soquel Creek riparian corridor shall be sited and designed to prevent impacts which would significantly degrade the area.

B. A minimum thirty-five foot setback from the outer edge of riparian vegetation shall be required for all new development. On the heavily developed east side of the lagoon and creek (from Stockton Avenue to Center Street) the setback requirement shall be measured from the bank of Soquel Creek.

C. The applicant shall be required to retain a qualified professional to determine the location of the outer edge of riparian vegetation on the site and to evaluate the potential impact of development on riparian vegetation and report to the city his or her findings before final action on the application is made. Mitigation measures, as contained in the evaluation, shall be made conditions of approval when needed to minimize impacts.

D. Removal of native riparian trees within the Soquel Creek riparian corridor shall be prohibited unless it is determined by the community development director that such removal is in the public interest by reason of good forestry practice; disease of the tree; or safety considerations.

E. Snags, or standing dead trees have high value as nesting sites and shall not be removed unless in imminent danger of falling. Removal shall be consistent with all applicable provisions of the Capitola tree cutting ordinance. Any such tree removal shall require replacement with a healthy young tree of an appropriate native riparian species.

F. Coastal development permit applications within or adjacent to the Soquel Creek riparian corridor shall contain a landscaping plan which sets forth the location and extent of any proposed modification to existing vegetation and the locations, kinds, and extent of new landscaping. The emphasis of such plans shall be on the maintenance and enhancement of native riparian species and the removal of existing invasive species. New invasive plant or tree species shall not be permitted.

G. Conformance to the Capitola erosion control ordinance (Chapter 15.28) shall be required. A drainage plan shall be provided for all projects adjacent to or in the riparian corridor. Grading shall be minimized within the riparian setback area. Grading shall not be permitted to damage the roots of riparian trees. Grading shall only take place during the dry season. (Ord. 677 § 7(D), 1989; Ord. 634 § 1, 1987)

17.95.040 Noble Gulch riparian corridor regulations.

In the Noble Gulch riparian corridor the following are required:

A. Development in areas adjacent to the Noble Gulch riparian corridor shall be sited and designed to prevent impacts which would significantly degrade the area.

B. A minimum thirty-five foot setback from the outer edge of riparian vegetation shall be required for all new development.

C. The applicant shall be required to retain a qualified professional to determine the location of the outer edge of riparian vegetation on the site and to evaluate the potential impact of development on the riparian area and report to the city in writing of his or her findings before final action is taken.

D. Removal of native riparian trees within the Noble Creek riparian corridor shall be prohibited unless it is determined by the community development director that such removal is in the public interest by reason of good forestry practice; disease of the tree; or safety considerations.

E. Snags, standing dead trees have high value as nesting sites and shall not be removed unless in imminent danger of falling. Removal shall be consistent with all applicable provisions of the Capitola tree cutting ordinance. Any such tree removal shall require replacement with a healthy young tree of an appropriate native riparian species.

F. Coastal development permit applications within or adjacent to the Noble Gulch riparian corridor shall be accompanied by landscaping plans which set forth the location and extent of any proposed modification to existing vegetation and the locations, kinds, and extent of new landscaping. The emphasis of such plans shall be on the maintenance and enhancement of native riparian species and the removal of existing invasive species. New invasive plant or tree species shall not be permitted.

G. Conformance to the Capitola erosion control ordinance (Chapter 15.28) shall be required. A drainage plan shall be provided for all projects adjacent to or in the riparian corridor. Grading shall be minimized within the riparian setback area and shall not be permitted to damage roots of riparian trees. Grading shall only take place during the dry season. (Ord. 685 § 9, 1989; Ord. 677 § 7(E), 1989; Ord. 634 § 1, 1987)

17.95.050 Tannery Gulch riparian corridor regulations.

In the Tannery Gulch riparian corridor the following are required:

A. Development in areas adjacent to the Tannery Gulch riparian corridor shall be sited and designed to prevent impacts which would significantly degrade the area.

B. A fifty-foot setback from the outer edge or riparian and oak woodland vegetation shall be required for all new development.

C. The applicant may be required to retain a qualified professional to determine the location of the outer edge of riparian or oak woodland vegetation on the site and to evaluate the potential impact of development on the riparian area and report to the city in writing of his or her findings before final action on the setback is taken.

D. Removal of native riparian trees within the Tannery Gulch riparian corridor shall be prohibited unless it is determined by the community development director that such removal is in the public interest by reason of good forestry practice; disease of the tree; or safety considerations.

E. Snags, or standing dead trees have high value as nesting sites and shall not be removed unless in imminent danger of falling. Removal shall be consistent with all applicable provisions of the Capitola tree cutting ordinance. Any such tree removal shall require replacement with a healthy young tree of an appropriate native riparian species.

F. Coastal development permit applications within or adjacent to the Tannery Gulch riparian corridor shall contain landscaping plans which set forth the location and extent of any proposed modification to existing vegetation and the locations, kinds, and extent of new landscaping. The emphasis of such plans shall be on the maintenance and enhancement of native riparian species and the removal of existing invasive species. New invasive plant or tree species shall not be permitted.

G. Conformance to the Capitola erosion control ordinance shall be required. A drainage plan shall be required for all development in the riparian area. Grading shall not be permitted within the riparian setback areas. Grading shall only take place during the dry season. (Ord. 634 § 1, 1987)

17.95.060 Soquel Creek – Escalona Gulch Monarch butterfly habitat regulations.

In the habitat described in subsection A, the requirements of subsections B and following must be met:

A. Habitat Description. The Soquel Creek grove is located east of the intersection of Wharf Road and Clares Street, on the west side of the creek. The wintering site is part of the former Rispin Mansion property. Monterey pines, redwoods, and acacia are interspersed within the grove.

Escalona Gulch is located between the Southern Pacific railroad tracks and the ocean and is bounded on the immediate west side by a residential area and El Salto Resort. To the east is a residential area. The gulch is a steep sided, deeply incised ravine with a small intermittent stream. A dense stand of eucalyptus trees with some Monterey pines and Monterey cypress completely fills the gulch. There is little native vegetation except for poison oak. The understory is overgrown with nonnative vines.

B. Development in areas adjacent to the butterfly groves shall be sited and designed to prevent impacts which would significantly degrade the areas.

C. The applicant shall be required to retain a qualified professional to determine the location of the outer edge of the Monarch habitat and to report to the city potential impacts and mitigation measures for proposed development.

D. Removal of trees within the perimeter of the habitat areas shall be prohibited unless it is determined by the community development director that such removal is necessary by reason of good forestry practice, disease of the tree, or safety considerations. Any such determinations, including tree maintenance or trimming, shall be accompanied by a written evaluation of the impacts of the proposed action on habitat resources by a qualified expert on the Monarch butterfly. Such report and investigations shall be arranged by the city and paid for by the applicant as part of environmental review.

E. Construction within or on properties contiguous to the designated butterfly groves shall be prohibited during fall and winter months when the Monarch butterflies are present. Removal or modification of trees within the groves shall not be permitted during these periods except when determined by the community development director to be a necessary emergency to protect human life or property.

F. Coastal development permit applications within or adjacent to the Soquel Creek-Escalona Gulch Monarch butterfly habitats shall contain landscaping plans which set forth the location and extent of any proposed modifications to existing vegetation and the locations, kinds, and extent of new landscaping. The emphasis of such landscaping plans shall be on the maintenance and enhancement of the butterfly habitats.

G. Conformance to the Capitola erosion control ordinance shall be required. Grading shall be minimized within the riparian setback area. Grading shall not be permitted to damage the roots of trees within the butterfly habitat areas. Grading shall only take place during the dry season. (Ord. 677 § 7(F), 1989; Ord. 634 § 1, 1987)

17.95.061 Escalona Gulch Monarch Butterfly Habitat – Additional regulations.

The following are additional regulations regarding the Escalona Gulch Monarch Butterfly Habitat:

On the Escalona Gulch properties (APNs 26-141-13 through 18) development shall be confined to Lots 2, 3 and 4 shown on Exhibit “A” attached to the ordinance codified in this section and found on file in the office of the city clerk (derived from Figure 3 of EIR for Residential Development on Robert Blodgett Property, March 1991).

To provide for the least environmentally damaging alternative, future construction of buildings, driveways and Escalona Drive shall minimize removal of trees and site coverage. Total building square footage shall be limited to six thousand square feet and building coverage shall not have a total footprint of more than four thousand square feet. The building(s) shall be located and designed so that they do not have a significant adverse impact on the Monarch butterfly habitat. The habitat, and area around it necessary to preserve the habitat, shall be placed in a conservation easement at the time of development.

Up to an additional six hundred square feet of footprint for driveway only may be allowed if a redesigned site plan, e.g., fewer buildings, relocated building(s) (including the six hundred square feet of driveway coverage), results in reduced impacts to the monarch grove habitat.

Prohibit development and removal of trees, understory and other vegetation on all lands outside the identified roadway and building envelopes through use of a conservation easement(s). The easement should be held by a government agency or organization authorized to monitor and enforce easement restrictions. Other trees and ground vegetation adjacent to the building envelopes shall not be trimmed or altered in any way unless reviewed by a qualified arborist and Monarch butterfly expert and approved by the city community development director.

Trees and vegetation within the Escalona Drive right-of-way, but outside any planned paved area, should be retained in their existing condition.

Building pads and driveways shall be designed to avoid removal of large trees. Large trees to be protected immediately adjacent to buildings should be evaluated by an arborist to assure that they will not pose a hazard in the future. Trees which are seriously diseased or hazardous should be trimmed or removed during the building process, rather than having to disturb the habitat during some future winter season when falling limbs are the most likely to occur. If removal is deemed necessary, replanting shall be implemented in conjunction with the site replanting program.

Implement a tree replanting program for replacement of trees removed for construction developed in consultation with a qualified monarch butterfly expert and the California Department of Fish and Game. The trees shall be sited in strategic locations as identified by the replanting program.

Limit landscaping at future homesites to areas within identified building envelopes. Shrubs which flower in the early fall and could provide a good source of flower nectar for the butterflies should be planted based on a list of landscape suggestions written by a qualified Monarch butterfly biologist. Such a list shall be made available to homeowners.

Due to lack of a quantified data base and some disagreement among butterfly specialists, microclimatic measurements shall be taken before and after construction to help develop a data base regarding environmental parameters associated with butterfly behavior. Such monitoring shall be funded by the applicant and be conducted by a qualified Monarch butterfly expert. Monitoring shall include measurements of wind direction and velocity, temperature and humidity profiles and light intensity. Monitoring shall be conducted for three years after final construction on the property. Measurements of height, diameter, and age of cluster trees shall be taken the first year.

Utilize barrier fencing around large trees, especially cluster trees, for protection during construction.

Limit structure heights as needed to prevent shading of cluster sites.

Prohibit wood-burning fireplaces in structures built on site where Monarch butterflies may be disturbed due to chimney smoke.

No construction involving heavy equipment that might bump into the cluster trees or produce heavy plumes of exhaust smoke should take place during the months in which the Monarchs are in residence (October 1st to March 1st).

Prepare and implement a drainage and erosion control plan which incorporates drainage devices (e.g., subsurface pipes, energy dissipators) to prevent long-term erosion of side slopes leading to Escalona Gulch, as well as erosion control during construction. Erosion control measures should include limiting removal of vegetation, minimizing exposure of bare soils, replanting disturbed soils with suitable native species, controlling runoff, preventing sedimentation from entering drainages, and limiting construction to dry season. All areas outside immediate construction areas should not be disturbed. Require measures for temporary drainage retention during construction, mulching, erosion control seeding, and other measures as needed to prevent any sediment from reaching Escalona Gulch. (Ord. 752, 1993)