Chapter 13.20


13.20.010    Intent and purpose.

13.20.020    Definitions.

13.20.030    Street tree management plan.

13.20.040    Owners’ responsibilities.

13.20.050    Prohibited activities.

13.20.060    Permits for removal, pruning or planting.

13.20.070    Enforcement—Remedies for violation.

13.20.010 Intent and purpose.

The intent of this chapter is to define the city’s responsibilities for the maintenance of street trees and to establish regulations for private property owners’ landscaping activities in the public right-of-way next to the street, such as planting, pruning, and removal. The city shall have control of all street trees, as herein defined, including planting, pruning, and removal. (Ord. 951 § 1 (part), 2006).

13.20.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section, as follows:

(1)    "City" means the city of Menlo Park;

(2)    "Person" means individuals, firms, associations and corporations, and agents, employees or representatives thereof;

(3)    "Owner" means any individual person, partnership or corporation (or the agent or representative of any individual person, partnership or corporation) holding record title to any parcel of real property posted under this chapter or holding the beneficial interest in such parcel;

(4)    "Sidewalk area" means the area between the property abutting the street and the back of the curb, or if no curb, the edge of the paved street;

(5)    "Street" means and includes all land lying between the boundaries of property abutting on all public streets, boulevards, alleys and walks;

(6)    "Street tree" means and includes any woody perennial plant having a single main axis or stem commonly achieving ten feet (10’) in height and capable of shaping and pruning to develop a branch-free trunk at least nine feet (9’) in height, not including fruit trees and vines. Includes any tree planted by the city, the owner or original developer that is accepted by the city as a street tree. Street trees are trees located in the area between the property line and the curb, valley gutter or edge of street pavement. (Ord. 951 § 1 (part), 2006).

13.20.030 Street tree management plan.

The street tree management plan shall be the plan approved by the environmental quality commission on March 1, 2006, and Resolution No. 5695 adopted by the City Council on August 1, 2006, and shall further include any amendment hereafter approved by resolution of the City Council. All actions, policies, and procedures of the city shall be in accordance with the street tree management plan. (Ord. 951 § 1 (part), 2006).

13.20.040 Owners’ responsibilities.

Owners are required to maintain landscaping, such as plants and shrubs, in the sidewalk area adjacent to their property. Plants, shrubs and hedges must not obstruct or impair visibility of drivers, or cause damage to sidewalks, curbs, gutters, sewers, or other utility equipment. Property owners shall water street trees appropriately, and report any street tree problems to the city. (Ord. 951 § 1 (part), 2006).

13.20.050 Prohibited activities.

No person shall:

(1)    Plant, remove, or prune a street tree without permission from the city;

(2)    Cause injury or negative health impacts to, or mutilate, a street tree;

(3)    Fasten any sign, wire, or injurious material to any street tree;

(4)    Excavate any ditch or tunnel, place additional new concrete or other pavement, or prune roots within a distance of ten feet (10’) from the center of the trunk of any street tree, or five (5) times the diameter of the tree, whichever is greater, without written permission from the city. (Ord. 951 § 1 (part), 2006).

13.20.060 Permits for removal, pruning or planting.

Any person may apply for a permit to remove, prune or plant a street tree at his or her own expense. The city will have discretion as to whether to issue a permit, depending on such factors as the condition of the tree, the need for removal, the suitability of the site for a new tree, and the possibility that removal or planting might create a hazardous condition or public nuisance, or might negatively affect nearby street trees. The city will also consider whether the proposed activity is consistent with the street tree management plan. If an owner applies for a permit to remove a heritage-sized street tree, all provisions of the Heritage Tree Ordinance (Chapter 13.24) shall also apply. (Ord. 951 § 1 (part), 2006).

13.20.070 Enforcement—Remedies for violation.

As part of a civil action brought by the city, a court may assess against any person who commits, allows, or maintains a violation of any provision of this chapter a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) per violation. Where the violation has resulted in removal of a tree, the civil penalty shall be in an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500) per tree unlawfully removed, plus the replacement value of each such tree. Such amount shall be payable to the city. Replacement value for the purposes of this section shall be determined utilizing the most recent edition of the Guide for Plant Appraisal, published by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers. Regarding injunctive relief, a civil action may be commenced to abate, enjoin, or otherwise compel the cessation of such violation. In any civil action brought pursuant to this chapter in which the city prevails, the court shall award to the city all costs of investigation and preparation for trial, the costs of trial, reasonable expenses including overhead and administrative costs incurred in prosecuting the action, and reasonable attorney fees. (Ord. 951 § 1 (part), 2006).