Chapter 12.10


12.10.010    Purpose.

12.10.020    Findings.

12.10.030    Definitions.

12.10.040    Applicability, conflicts, and other requirements.

12.10.050    Authority and responsibility.

12.10.060    Enforcement.

12.10.010 Purpose.

(a) The purpose of this title is to facilitate the protection, preservation, and restoration of Pacific Grove’s urban forest; and enhance the visual and aesthetic uniqueness of Pacific Grove, in accordance with the city of Pacific Grove General Plan.

(b) Accordingly, this title provides regulations relating to the Removal and Pruning of Trees in public and private areas, to safeguard life, limb, health, property, and public welfare, by managing the urban forest pursuant to these regulations and the Urban Forestry Standards, and by developing programs for the urban forest of the city of Pacific Grove.

(c) This code is adopted pursuant to the authority granted by Section 7 of Article XI of the State Constitution to a city to make and enforce such local, police, sanitary, and other regulations as are not in conflict with the general laws of the state. [Ord. 13-013 § 3, 2013; Ord. 12-017 § 6, 2012].

12.10.020 Findings.

The city council makes the following general findings regarding the relationship between health, safety, and general welfare, and the selection, planting, conservation, protection, and maintenance of Trees in public and private areas as addressed in this chapter. These shall be the same findings as required to be made for a permit application for Protected Tree Removal and replacement.

(a) Trees are a valuable long-term community asset, and tend to increase property values.

(b) Trees protect us from climatic extremes. They recycle air and water, absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, provide shade and windbreak protection, and can potentially moderate temperatures for an entire neighborhood or community.

(c) Trees can improve human health by absorbing air pollution and trapping dust. In addition, they buffer noise from traffic and other sources.

(d) Trees diffuse the effects of rain that weather houses, erode topsoil, and cause flooding. They provide enrichment of the soil for more plant growth.

(e) Trees reduce the volume and slow the velocity of storm drainage and dry weather flows. They also are able to filter out many contaminants that would otherwise end up in the ocean.

(f) Trees provide habitat for wildlife.

(g) Trees contribute to the pleasantness and serenity of neighborhoods.

(h) The presence of Trees can do much to reduce the stress of modern living.

(i) Trees may enhance the architectural character of a neighborhood, accent or soften the effect of structures, promote visual formality and aesthetic interest, and screen undesirable views.

The above general findings are applicable when the health of Trees is preserved and the safety and general welfare of the public are observed. Healthy Trees are achieved when the right Trees are planted in the right location and are properly maintained. [Ord. 13-013 § 3, 2013; Ord. 12-017 § 6, 2012].

12.10.030 Definitions.

For the purposes of this title, the definitions in the Urban Forestry Standards shall be the same as for the following regulations issued to implement this title. Terms defined in the Urban Forestry Standards are indicated with initial capital letters when used in this title. See\UFS-Definitions. [Ord. 13-013 § 3, 2013; Ord. 12-017 § 6, 2012].

12.10.040 Applicability, conflicts, and other requirements.

(a) Applicability. This title applies to all Trees within the city of Pacific Grove, except on Federal lands exempt from these standards.

(b) Conflicts. If conflicts occur between this title and PGMC Title 18 (Buildings and Construction) or Title 23 (Zoning), or the Local Coastal Program, the more protective requirements shall prevail. If conflicts occur between this title and other titles of the PGMC, the Urban Forestry Standards, or other city regulations, this title shall prevail.

(c) Liability. Nothing contained in this title, within the adopted Urban Forestry Standards, other management programs, an adopted Street Tree landscaping plan, or other city document shall be deemed to impose any liability for duty of care or for damages upon the city, its officers, or employees, nor shall it relieve the owner of private property from the duty to keep a Protected Tree on his property or under his control, in such condition as to prevent it from constituting a hazard or an impediment to travel or vision upon any Street, park, boulevard, alley, or public place within the city.

(d) Severability. Should any part or provision of this title be declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the same shall not affect the validity of this title as a whole or any part thereof other than the part held to be invalid.

(e) Adoption of Standards. The city hereby adopts the Urban Forestry Standards, which may be amended from time to time.

(f) Adoption of Management Programs. The city may also adopt management programs, lists of appropriate Tree species, Public or Street Tree landscaping plans, and other standards for the planting, maintenance, and Removal of Trees on public lands. All work performed under this title shall be performed in accordance therewith. [Ord. 13-013 § 3, 2013; Ord. 12-017 §  6, 2012].

12.10.050 Authority and responsibility.

(a) Generally. The Person in possession of Public Property and the owner of any private property shall have a duty to keep the Protected Trees upon the property and under their control in a safe and healthy condition.

The city shall be responsible for the maintenance of all Public and Street Trees. Pruning, other maintenance, and the replacement of Street Trees shall generally be the responsibility of the city and shall be at city’s expense. Property owners may maintain, at their initiative, Street Trees on their property. Such maintenance shall be in full conformance with the Urban Forestry Standards.

Pruning, condition assessment, and other maintenance by a Qualified Professional, and replacement of Trees on private property shall generally be the responsibility of the property owner(s) and shall be at property owner’s expense. Any Person who determines that a Tree located on property possessed, owned, or controlled by them is a danger to the safety of themselves, others, or structural improvements on site or off site shall have an obligation to secure the area around the Tree, support the Tree, or Remove the Tree, as appropriate, to safeguard both Persons and improvements from harm. In determining the level of risk and urgency to address a potential danger, the requirements under Chapter 12.40 PGMC shall also apply.

It is the responsibility of all Persons owning any land within the city to keep all private Trees that extend over any public Street or walkway Pruned so as to Remove any foliage encroaching into space above a Street to a height of 14 feet, and above sidewalk areas to a height of eight feet. The city holds the same responsibility for Street Trees and other Public Trees.

Any person claiming both financial and physical inability to perform the duties set out in this section may petition the city manager for relief. If the city manager concurs that such inability exists, the city manager shall direct city crews to perform the required work.

(b) City Staff. The city manager, through the departments of public works and community development, shall be responsible for the establishment and maintenance of standards necessary for implementation of this title, known as the Urban Forestry Standards. The city arborist and public works director, among other duties, shall issue Tree maintenance and Removal permits, oversee implementation of the Urban Forestry Standards and other management activities, and monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of this title.

(c) Beautification and Natural Resources Commission. The beautification and natural resources commission shall develop and maintain lists of Trees recommended for or discouraged for use as described in Landscape Trees for Pacific Grove. The commission shall make recommendations to the city council after consultation with city staff, arborists, and nursery operators familiar with the subjects of such plantings.

The beautification and natural resources commission shall prepare a Street Tree landscaping plan setting forth the types and kinds of Trees, especially recommending native species that are Suitable and desirable for planting along public Streets within the city.

Thereafter, the commission shall from time to time recommend to the city council updates covering the same subjects, each of which shall be complete in itself. Such lists shall be made available at city hall and shall be posted on the city’s website.

(d) Utilities. Public and private utilities that have easements within the city-owned right-of-way shall be responsible for Tree management and appropriate Pruning consistent with this title and the Urban Forestry Standards in order to protect critical infrastructure, by obtaining a city-wide permit, in consultation with the city arborist.

(e) California Department of Transportation Right-of-Way. Within the State Highway 68 corridor, the California Department of Transportation shall have authority to manage Trees within the state-owned right-of-way, and is encouraged to implement Tree management programs consistent with this title and the Urban Forestry Standards. [Ord. 13-013 § 3, 2013; Ord. 12-017 § 6, 2012].

12.10.060 Enforcement.

Enforcement of this title shall be in accordance with PGMC Title 1. [Ord. 13-013 § 3, 2013; Ord. 12-017 § 6, 2012].