Chapter 19.04


19.04.010    Purpose and intent.

19.04.020    Word construction.

19.04.030    Definitions.

19.04.040    Conserving public trees.

19.04.050    City responsible for public trees.

19.04.060    Public utilities and easements.

19.04.070    Public tree permits.

19.04.080    General regulations.

19.04.090    Tree stumps prohibited.

19.04.100    Clearance requirements.

19.04.110    Exemption of city from Solar Shade Control Act.

19.04.120    Public nuisances.

19.04.130    Violations.

19.04.140    Enforcement.

19.04.150    Appeals and abatement procedures.

19.04.160    Interference with authorized personnel.

19.04.010 Purpose and intent.

In order to promote health and safety and enhance the beauty and general welfare of Rancho Cordova, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the city to plant, maintain, protect, preserve, and to regulate the planting, maintaining, protecting and preserving of all public trees growing on public property; to eliminate dangerous conditions caused by trees, shrubs and tree stumps that may result in injuries to persons or property; and to protect all public trees within the city from the spread of disease or pests. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.020 Word construction.

Unless the provisions or the context otherwise requires, the following rules of construction and definitions shall govern the construction of this chapter. The singular number includes the plural, and the plural, the singular. The masculine gender includes the feminine. The present tense includes the past and future tenses, and the future, the present. “Shall” is mandatory and “may” is permissive. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.030 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter the following words and terms have the following meanings:

A. “Certified arborist” means an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture with current certification standing, meeting all current renewal requirements and continuing education requirements; or an ASCA registered consulting arborist with current membership standing, meeting all continuing education requirements; or a Society of American Foresters (SAF) certified urban forester in good standing.

B. “City” means the city of Rancho Cordova.

C. “City council” means the city council of the city of Rancho Cordova.

D. “Easement” means any utility easement, drainage easement, sanitary sewer easement or other legal easement within the city boundaries.

E. “Maintain” or “maintenance,” when used in reference to public trees, shall mean and include pruning, spraying, mulching, fertilizing, cultivating, supporting, treating for disease or injury, promoting public safety, or any other similar act which promotes the life, growth, health or beauty of public trees.

F. “Permittee” means a person who has been granted a public tree permit as provided in this chapter.

G. “Person” includes a natural person, legal owner, firm, association, corporation, co-partnership, trustee, receiver, utility, or an agent or employee thereof.

H. “Planning director” means the planning director of the city of Rancho Cordova, or his or her designee.

I. “Planting easement” means an area of land, usually a strip of land adjoining a street right-of-way, which has been dedicated for the purpose of growing trees, shrubs, or other vegetation.

J. “Public nuisance tree” means any tree or shrub that is maintained in violation of this chapter.

K. “Public premises” includes city-owned properties, including but not limited to properties in the right-of-way and owned or managed by the city.

L. “Public tree” means a tree or shrub whose trunk is planted in a street, planting easement, public premises, public sidewalk, median, traffic island or any other right-of-way owned or controlled by the city through an easement, license, fee title, or other permissive grant of use and maintained by the city.

M. “Public works director” means the director of the department of public works of the city of Rancho Cordova, or his or her designee.

N. “Street” includes the right-of-way width of any city-maintained street, avenue, boulevard, line, walk, road, parkway, alley, or other right-of-way for highway purposes, as determined by the department of public works.

O. “Tree” includes shrub.

P. “Tree permit” means an authorization by the public works director for the planting, pruning, treatment, or removal of a public tree.

Q. “Tree protection plan” shall be submitted for approval by the public works director for protecting trees during any site development as requested by the planning director. A plan shall be prepared by a certified arborist stating the protection, steps required and approved work within the dripline or other designated protected areas near protected trees. The tree protection plan shall be included on all construction documents, specification documents, and explained to all contractors and subcontractors working on the subject project.

R. “Tree stump” means any portion of the base or trunk of a tree and its roots that remain after a tree is removed. For purposes of this chapter, a “tree stump” must be have a diameter of at least six inches or greater. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.040 Conserving public trees.

The public works director, in his or her discretion, may modify standard street sections and make changes in street alignment to avoid the removal or damage of public trees. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.050 City responsible for public trees.

The planting, maintenance, and removal of public trees shall be under the supervision and control of the public works director.

A. The planting, maintenance and removal of all trees and shrubs, on all public premises, planting easements, or streets are under the supervision and control of the public works director.

B. No person shall plant, transplant, move, separate, trim, prune, cut above or below the ground, disrupt, alter or take any other action upon any public tree or other plant life on all public premises unless a tree permit is obtained pursuant to RCMC 19.04.070 that authorizes the action.

C. In selecting plantings for public premises, the public works director may select any trees or shrubs that he or she determines to be appropriate for such areas.

D. Architects and others preparing plans for the landscaping of public premises, including city buildings, shall consult with the public works director during the preparation of such plans for review and approval prior to advertising for bids. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.060 Public utilities and easements.

The public works director may prohibit and otherwise regulate the planting of trees upon any city utility easement, drainage or sanitary sewer right-of-way if he or she considers such planting detrimental to their use. Trees shall not be planted upon any such right-of-way or easement without first obtaining a permit from the public works director as provided in RCMC 19.04.070. Each permit of this type shall be subject to the condition that if on any future date the public works director determines that a tree planted pursuant to the permit is detrimental to the use of the right-of-way or easement, the tree shall be considered a public nuisance and be subject to abatement as provided in RCMC 19.04.150. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.070 Public tree permits.

A public tree permit shall be required before any person shall plant, transplant, move, separate, trim, prune, cut above or below the ground, disrupt, alter or do surgery upon any public tree located on a planting easement, street, or public premises, irrespective of whether the tree is alive or dead. The public tree permit shall also include the following:

A. The public works director shall prescribe the form of the permit, which shall be valid for a period of six months;

B. The fee for the issuance of the permit shall be set by council by resolution and may be amended from time to time;

C. Permits shall be signed by the public works director, or his or her designee, and shall be subject to such conditions as he or she determines to be necessary taking into consideration the safety, health and general welfare of the public, the location of utilities, driveways, traffic and street lights and other characteristics of the area;

D. The public works director may require that a permittee plant one or more trees in place of the one removed, in the same location or vicinity;

E. If the tree or shrub is to be removed, grinding out the stump to a depth of four inches below grade or removal of the entire tree stump shall be required;

F. The public works director may require a permittee to furnish a satisfactory bond, cash deposit or other security to ensure that the conditions of the permit will be fulfilled;

G. Except where public safety is involved, a permit shall not be issued to trim or remove a public tree for the singular purpose of providing better visibility;

H. Permits shall not be issued for the planting of any tree which is not in accordance with the master tree list unless the public works director determines that the characteristics of the substituted tree are substantially the same as those of a tree permitted by the plan;

I. Each tree or shrub planted pursuant to a permit shall be designated a public tree. The permit shall contain a statement to this effect; and

J. It is unlawful for a permittee to fail, refuse, or neglect to plant a tree required by a permit or to fail to fulfill any condition imposed by the director when issuing the permit. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.080 General regulations.

No person shall, without a written permit from the public works director, do or cause to be done by others any of the following acts:

A. Secure, fasten or run any rope, wire, sign, unprotected electrical installation or other device or material to, around, or through a public tree;

B. Break, injure, deface, kill or destroy a public tree or permit any fire to burn where it will injure any public tree;

C. Permit any chemical, gas, smoke, salt brine, oil or other injurious substance to seep, drain or be emptied upon, above or below any public tree;

D. Excavate any ditch, tunnel, or trench or lay any drive within a radius of 10 feet from any public tree;

E. Erect, alter, repair or raze any building or structure without placing suitable guards around all nearby public trees which may be injured by such operations; or

F. Remove any guard, stake or other device or materials intended for the protection of a public tree or close or obstruct any open space about the base of a public tree designed to prevent soil compaction or physical damage. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.090 Tree stumps prohibited.

Any tree stump that is visible from the public right-of-way is hereby declared a public nuisance and maintenance of a tree stump is prohibited. Any tree stump shall be ground down to a depth of four inches below grade or the entire tree stump shall be removed one year from the date of adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter and thereafter. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.100 Clearance requirements.

No tree or shrub shall be planted or maintained contrary to the provisions of Chapter 12.12 RCMC to preserve appropriate clearance and sight distance. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.110 Exemption of city from Solar Shade Control Act.

The city of Rancho Cordova shall be exempt from the provisions of the Solar Shade Control Act pursuant to Section 25985(a) of the California Public Resource Code, or as amended. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.120 Public nuisances.

Any violation of the provisions of this chapter is unlawful and a public nuisance and the fully constituted authorities of the city shall immediately commence an action proceeding for the abatement and enjoinment thereof and shall take other steps in the manner provided by law. The city may pursue any and all legal and equitable remedies related to the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, including criminal, civil, and administrative remedies and penalties pursuant to RCMC 1.01.190. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.130 Violations.

Each person shall be guilty of a separate offense for each and every day during any portion of which any violation of any provision of this code is committed, continued or permitted by any such person, and he or she shall be punished accordingly. A violation of this chapter is a misdemeanor and is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a period up to six months or by a fine of up to $1,000 or both. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.140 Enforcement.

The department of public works, or its designee, is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of this chapter. The remedies provided for herein shall be cumulative and not exclusive. The public works director, or his or her designee, may upon the presentation of his or her credentials go upon any premises at any reasonable time for the investigation and inspection of any tree which is suspected to be in violation of this chapter, after having given the owner or occupant thereof at least five days’ prior notice of the date of inspection or sooner if the owner or occupant consents to said inspection. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.150 Appeals and abatement procedures.

The following procedures shall be followed when abating or correcting a condition relative to a public nuisance tree:

A. The owner or occupant of property on which the tree is located shall be notified in writing by certified mail that the tree and tree stump shall be removed, pruned, treated or otherwise abated;

B. The owner or occupant of property on which the tree is located shall have the right to appeal the determination of the public works director;

C. The owner or occupant of such premises shall have 15 days from the time of the mailing of the aforesaid notice to either comply with the terms of the notice of abatement or corrective action or to file an appeal with the city concerning the contemplated action of the public works director. The city manager, or his or her designee, shall appoint a hearing officer. The appeal hearing shall be conducted pursuant to RCMC 16.18.205(F)(8), or as may be amended;

D. If the owner of such premises or his agent refuses or neglects to comply with the notice or to appeal the order of the public works director within the time specified, the public works director shall cause the tree to be treated, pruned, removed or otherwise abated;

E. The public works director shall keep an account of the cost of abatement and shall recover delinquent fees, penalties, charges and costs by lien or special assessment pursuant to RCMC 1.01.200. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].

19.04.160 Interference with authorized personnel.

It is unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with any work being done under the provisions of this chapter whether the work is done by an employee of the city or a person or firm performing work for the city pursuant to contract, hire or assignment. [Ord. 12-2017 § 2].