4-4-130 TREE RETENTION AND LAND CLEARING REGULATIONS:

A. PURPOSE:

This Section provides regulations for the clearing of land and the protection and preservation of trees, shrubs, and ground cover plants. The purposes of these regulations are to:

1. Preserve and enhance the City’s physical and aesthetic character by minimizing indiscriminate removal or destruction of trees, shrubs and ground cover;

2. Implement and further the goals and policies of the City’s Comprehensive Plan for the environment, open space, wildlife habitat, vegetation, resources, surface drainage, watersheds, and economics;

3. Promote land development practices that result in minimal adverse disturbance to existing vegetation and soils within the City while at the same time recognizing that certain factors such as condition (e.g., disease, danger of falling, etc.), proximity to existing and proposed structures and improvements, interference with utility services, protection of scenic views, and the realization of a reasonable enjoyment of property may require the removal of certain trees and ground cover;

4. Minimize surface water and groundwater runoff and diversion, and aid in the stabilization of soil, and minimize erosion and sedimentation, and minimize the need for additional storm drainage facilities caused by the destabilization of soils;

5. Retain clusters of trees for the abatement of noise and for wind protection, and reduce air pollution by producing pure oxygen from carbon dioxide;

6. Protect trees during construction activities from damage to tree roots, trunks, and branches; and

7. Recognize that trees increase real estate values.

B. APPLICABILITY:

The regulations of this Section apply to any developed lot, and property where land development or routine vegetation management activities are undertaken or planned.

C. ALLOWED TREE REMOVAL ACTIVITIES:

Tree removal and associated use of mechanical equipment is permitted as follows, except as provided in subsection D3 of this Section, Restrictions for Critical Areas – General, and in RMC 4-3-110E5b, Urban Separator Overlay Regulations. Except as stated in subsection C9 of this Section, no Routine Vegetation Management Permit is required for the following activities/work:

1. Emergency Situations: Removal of trees and/or ground cover by the City and/or public or private utility in emergency situations involving immediate danger to life or property, substantial fire hazards, or interruption of services provided by a utility.

2. Dangerous Trees: Removal of a dangerous tree, as defined in RMC 4-11-200, Definitions T, that has been certified as such by a City approved, licensed landscape architect or certified arborist.

3. Maintenance Activities/Essential Tree Removal – Public or Private Utilities, Roads and Public Parks: Maintenance activities including routine vegetation management and essential tree removal for public and private utilities, road rights-of-way and easements, and public parks.

4. Installation of SEPA Exempt Public or Private Utilities: Installation of distribution lines by public and private utilities; provided, that such activities are categorically exempt from the provisions of the State Environmental Policy Act and RMC 4-9-070, Environmental Review Procedures.

5. Existing and Ongoing Agricultural Activities: Clearing associated with existing and ongoing agricultural activities as defined in RMC 4-11-010, Definitions A.

6. Commercial Nurseries or Tree Farms: Removal of only those trees which are planted and growing on the premises of a licensed retailer or wholesaler.

7. Public Road Expansion: Expansion of public roads, unless critical areas would be affected (refer to subsection C12 of this Section, Utilities, Traffic Control, Walkways, Bikeways Within Existing, Improved Right-of-Way or Easements).

8. Site Investigative Work: Site investigative work necessary for land use application submittals such as surveys, soil logs, percolation tests, and other related activities including the use of mechanical equipment to perform site investigative work, provided the work is conducted in accordance with the following requirements:

a. Investigative work should not disturb any more than five percent (5%) of any protected sensitive area described in subsection D3 of this Section, Restrictions for Critical Areas – General, on the subject property. In every case, impacts shall be minimized and disturbed areas restored.

b. In every location where site investigative work is conducted, disturbed areas shall be minimized, and immediately restored.

c. A notice shall be posted on the site by the property owner or owner’s agent indicating that site investigative work is being conducted, and that the work must minimize disturbance to the critical areas identified in subsection D3 of this Section, Restrictions for Critical Areas – General.

d. No site investigative work shall commence without first notifying the Administrator. (Ord. 5976, 8-3-2020; Ord. 5676, 12-3-2012)

9. Minor Tree Removal Activities: Except as provided in subsection D3 of this Section, Restrictions for Critical Areas – General, removal of trees and associated use of mechanical equipment is permitted at the rates specified within the table below, provided subsections C9a through e of this Section are satisfied. A Routine Vegetation Management Permit is required for removal of trees in excess of the rates listed below for all properties. A Routine Vegetation Management Permit is required for the removal of any trees within shoreline jurisdiction if the removal is not included in another land use permitting process.

Lot Size

Maximum number of significant trees* allowed to be removed in any twelve (12) month period

Maximum number of significant trees* allowed to be removed in five (5) years

Lots up to 10,000 sq. ft.

2

4

Lots 10,001 to 20,000 sq. ft.

3

6

Lots 20,001 sq. ft. or greater

6

12

*Except landmark trees (greater than a thirty inch (30") caliper) shall not be removed without a Routine Vegetation Management Permit. Within shoreline jurisdiction, tree removal shall occur outside of the buffer, except when necessary to remove dangerous trees or if part of an approved shoreline vegetation conservation buffer enhancement plan.

a. There is not an active land development application for the site;

b. The trees proposed for removal are not protected trees;

c. The tree is not a landmark tree; and

d. Minimum Tree Density:

i. A minimum tree density shall be maintained on each residentially zoned lot, as specified in the table below. The tree density may consist of existing trees, replacement trees, trees required pursuant to RMC 4-4-070F1, Street Frontage Landscaping Required, or a combination. If the number of trees required includes a fraction of a tree, any amount equal to or greater than one-half (1/2) shall be rounded up; and

Type of Residential Development

Minimum Tree Density

Multi-family development (attached dwellings)3

Four (4) significant trees1 for every five thousand (5,000) sq. ft.

Single family development (detached dwellings)2

Two (2) significant trees1 for every five thousand (5,000) sq. ft.

1Or the gross equivalent of caliper inches provided by one or more trees.

2Lots developed with detached dwellings in the R-10 and R-14 zones are exempt.

3Development in the RMF zone is exempt.

ii. Property owners are responsible for maintaining these trees in a healthy condition. (Ord. 5841, 6-12-2017)

e. Rights-of-Way Unobstructed: In conducting minor tree removal activities, rights-of-way shall not be obstructed unless a right-of-way use permit is obtained. (Ord. 5976, 8-3-2020)

10. Landscaping or Gardening Permitted: Land clearing in conformance with the provisions of subsection C9 of this Section, Minor Tree Removal Activities, and subsection D3 of this Section, Restrictions for Critical Areas – General, is permitted for purposes of landscaping or gardening; provided, that no mechanical equipment is used.

11. Operational Mining/Quarrying: Land clearing and tree removal associated with previously approved operational mining and quarrying activities.

12. Utilities, Traffic Control, Walkways, Bikeways within Existing, Improved Rights-of-Way or Easements: Within existing improved public road rights-of-way or easements, installation, construction, replacement, operation, overbuilding, or alteration of all natural gas, cable, communication, telephone and electric facilities, lines, pipes, mains, equipment or appurtenances, traffic control devices, illumination, walkways and bikeways. If activities exceed the existing improved area or the public right-of-way, this exemption does not apply. Restoration of disturbed areas shall be completed.

13. Land Development Permit Required: Tree removal authorized by a Land Development Permit. (Ord. 5650, 12-12-2011)

D. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES:

1. Tree Cutting in Advance of Issuance of Land Development Permit: There shall be no tree removal or land clearing on any site for the sake of preparing that site for future development unless a Land Development Permit, as defined in RMC 4-11-120, Definitions L, for the City approved site. (Ord. 5450, 3-2-2009)

2. Tree Cutting or Vegetation Management without Required Routine Vegetation Management Permit:

a. Tree cutting in excess of the limits established in subsection C9 of this Section, Minor Tree Removal Activities, is prohibited unless a Routine Vegetation Management Permit has been granted.

b. Routine vegetation management on an undeveloped property without a Routine Vegetation Management Permit is prohibited.

c. Use of non-exempt mechanical equipment (mechanical equipment with more than twenty seven (27) horsepower) without a Routine Vegetation Management Permit is prohibited.

3. Restrictions for Critical Areas – General: Unless exempted by critical areas, RMC 4-3-050C5 or Shoreline Master Program Regulations, RMC 4-3-090, no tree removal, or land clearing, or ground cover management is permitted:

a. On portions of property with:

i. Critical areas, pursuant to RMC 4-3-050B, Applicability; and

ii. Buffers associated with shorelines of the State, pursuant to RMC 4-3-090, Shoreline Master Program Regulations. Allowed tree removal and vegetation management activities within the Shoreline buffer can be found in RMC 4-3-090F1i, Vegetation Management. (Ord. 5976, 8-3-2020)

b. On protected slopes except as allowed in this Section or in the Critical Areas Regulations, RMC 4-3-050; or

c. Areas classified as very high landslide hazards, except as allowed in this Section or in the Critical Areas Regulations, RMC 4-3-050.

4. Restrictions for Native Growth Protection Areas: Tree removal or land clearing shall not be permitted within a native growth protection area except as provided in RMC 4-3-050G3, Native Growth Protection Areas. (Ord. 5976, 8-3-2020; Ord. 5650, 12-12-2011)

5. Tree Topping: Tree topping shall be prohibited unless the City has approved the tree for removal.

6. Removal of Landmark Tree: The removal of a landmark tree (a tree with a caliper of thirty inches (30") or greater) is prohibited without an approved Routine Vegetation Management Permit or a Land Development Permit.

E. REVIEW AUTHORITY:

1. Authority and Interpretation: The Community and Economic Development Administrator is authorized and directed to interpret and enforce all the provisions of this Section when no other permit or approval requires Hearing Examiner review. The Administrator may require retention above the minimum standards, to require phasing of tree retention plans, or to require any other measures to meet the purpose of this Section.

2. Independent Secondary Review: The Administrator may require independent review of any land use application that involves tree removal and land clearing at the City’s discretion. An evaluation by an independent qualified professional regarding the applicant’s analysis on the effectiveness of any proposed removal, retention, or replacement measures, to include recommendations as appropriate. This review shall be paid for by the applicant and the City shall select the third-party review professional. (Ord. 5676, 12-3-2012)

F. PERMITS REQUIRED:

1. Land Development Permit Required for Site Preparation: An approved land development permit, as defined in RMC 4-11-120, Definitions L, is required in order to conduct tree removal or land clearing on any site for the sake of preparing that site for future development.

2. Routine Vegetation Management Permit Required for the Following Activities:

a. Routine Vegetation Management on Undeveloped Properties: Any person who performs routine vegetation management, as defined in RMC 4-11-180, Definitions R, on undeveloped property in the City must obtain a Routine Vegetation Management Permit prior to performing such work.

b. Use of Mechanical Equipment: Except where mechanical equipment is twenty seven (27) horsepower or less, any person who uses mechanical equipment for routine vegetation management, land clearing, tree removal, landscaping, or gardening must obtain a Routine Vegetation Management Permit prior to performing such work.

c. Tree Removal in Excess of Maximum Allowance: A Routine Vegetation Management Permit shall be required for tree cutting in greater amounts than specified under subsection C9 of this Section, Minor Tree Removal Activities, where tree cutting is proposed without an associated Land Development Permit. Any tree cutting activities shall be the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose, and shall be consistent with subsection D3 of this Section, Restrictions for Critical Areas – General. Trees removed in excess of the maximum amount allowed under subsection C9 of this Section, Minor Tree Removal Activities, shall be subject to RMC 4-4-130H1e, Replacement Requirements, unless determined by the Administrator to be unfeasible in the specific case.

d. Removal of Landmark Tree: A Land Development Permit or Routine Vegetation Management Permit, which explicitly approves the removal of a landmark tree, as defined by RMC 4-11-200, Definitions T, from any property. Replacement trees are required if the minimum tree density for the subject property is not maintained upon removal of the tree. Removal of a landmark tree may be granted for situations where:

i. The tree is determined to be a dangerous tree; or

ii. The tree is causing obvious physical damage to structures including but not limited to building foundations, driveways or parking lots, and for which no reasonable alternative to tree removal exists. Routine maintenance of roofs that is required due to leaf fall does not constitute obvious physical damage to structures; or

iii. Removal of tree(s) to provide solar access to buildings incorporating active solar devices. Windows are solar devices only when they are south-facing and include special storage elements to distribute heat energy; or

iv. The Administrator determines the removal is necessary to achieve a specific and articulable purpose or goal of this Title.

3. Conditional Use Permit Required for Timber Stand Thinning: While timber harvesting shall not be permitted until such time as a valid land development is approved, a request may be made for maintenance and thinning of existing timber stands to promote the overall health and growth of the stand. Permits allowing thinning beyond the limits allowed in subsection C9 of this Section, Minor Tree Removal Activities, shall be considered as a Conditional Use Permit by the Hearing Examiner according to the following criteria:

a. Appropriate approvals have been sought and obtained with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources; and

b. The activity shall improve the health and growth of the stand and maintain long-term alternatives for preservation of trees; and

c. The activity shall meet the provisions of subsections H4, Applicability, Performance Standards and Alternates, and H5, General Review Criteria, of this Section; and

d. Thinning activities shall conform to the basal area density recommendations of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, but shall not reduce the volume of tree canopy by more than forty percent (40%); and

e. A Tree Retention/Land Clearing (Tree Inventory) Plan, as defined in RMC 4-8-120D, Definitions T, shall be required. (Ord. 5650, 12-12-2011)

G. ROUTINE VEGETATION MANAGEMENT PERMIT REVIEW PROCESS:

Permits for routine vegetation management shall be processed consistent with RMC 4-9-195, Routine Vegetation Management Permits.

H. PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR LAND DEVELOPMENT/BUILDING PERMITS:

1. Protected Trees – Retention Required: Significant trees required to be retained pursuant to subsection H1a of this Section, Percentage of Tree Retention Based on Zones, are considered “protected trees.” Protected trees may contribute to each residential lot’s required minimum tree density, but any trees that are in excess of an individual lot’s minimum tree density shall not contribute to the total number of trees that are required to be retained for the Land Development Permit. Protected trees that do not contribute to a lot’s required minimum tree density shall be held in perpetuity within a tree protection tract pursuant to subsection H2 of this Section, Tree Protection Tract; protected trees on an individual lot are the responsibility of the lot owner and may only be removed if in compliance with subsection C of this Section, Allowed Tree Removal Activities. Significant trees shall be retained as follows:

a. Percentage of Tree Retention Based on Zones: Properties subject to an active Land Development Permit or building permit shall retain the following percentages of significant trees based on the property’s zone. Trees within critical areas and proposed public rights-of-way shall not contribute to the number of significant trees required to be retained.

i. RC, R-1, R-4, R-6 and R-8 Zones: At least thirty percent (30%) of the significant trees shall be retained in a residential or institutional development.

ii. R-10, R-14, RMF and RMH: At least twenty percent (20%) of the significant trees shall be retained in a residential or institutional development.

iii. All Other Zones: At least ten percent (10%) of the significant trees shall be considered protected and retained in commercial or industrial developments.

iv. Utility Uses and Mineral Extraction Uses: Such operations shall be exempt from the protected tree retention requirements of this Section if the applicant can justify the exemption in writing to the Administrator’s satisfaction. (Ord. 5676, 12-3-2012; Ord. 5759, 6-22-2015)

b. Priority of Tree Retention Requirements: Significant trees shall be retained in the following priority order:

Priority One

i.

Landmark trees;

 

ii.

Significant trees that form a continuous canopy;

 

iii.

Significant trees on slopes greater than twenty percent (20%);

 

iv.

Significant trees adjacent to critical areas and their associated buffers; and

 

v.

Significant trees over sixty feet (60') in height or greater than eighteen inches (18") caliper.

Priority Two

i.

Healthy tree groupings whose associated undergrowth can be preserved;

 

ii.

Other significant native evergreen or deciduous trees; and

 

iii.

Other significant non-native trees.

Priority Three

Alders and cottonwoods shall be retained when all other trees have been evaluated for retention and are not able to be retained, unless the alders and/or cottonwoods are used as part of an approved enhancement project within a critical area or its buffer.

c. Calculating Tree Retention: Tree retention standards shall be applied to the developable area of a property (i.e., land within critical areas and their buffers, public rights-of-way, private PUD streets, shared driveways, and public trails shall be excluded). If the number to be retained includes a fraction of a tree, any amount equal to or greater than one-half (1/2) tree shall be rounded up.

d. Minimum Tree Density: Pursuant to subsection C9e of this Section, Minimum Tree Density, each residential lot to be created by subdivision shall have retained, or newly planted, trees that satisfy the lot’s minimum tree density requirement. Any protected tree, whether retained or newly planted, that is in excess of the individual lot’s minimum tree density shall not contribute to the total number of trees that are required to be retained for the Land Development Permit.

e. Replacement Requirements: As an alternative to retaining trees, the Administrator may authorize the planting of replacement trees on the site if it can be demonstrated to the Administrator’s satisfaction that an insufficient number of trees can be retained.

i. Replacement Ratio: When the required number of protected trees cannot be retained, replacement trees, with at least a two-inch (2") caliper or an evergreen at least six feet (6') tall, shall be planted at a rate of twelve (12) caliper inches of new trees to replace each protected tree removed. Up to fifty percent (50%) of trees required pursuant to RMC 4-4-070, Landscaping, may contribute to replacement trees. The City may require a surety or bond to ensure the survival of replacement trees.

ii. Prohibited Types of Replacement Trees: Unless replacement trees are being used as part of an approved enhancement project in a critical area or buffer, they shall not consist of the following species:

(a) All Populus species including cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), lombardy poplar (Populus nigra “Italica”), etc.;

(b) All Alnus species, which includes red alder (Alnus oregona), black alder (Alnus glutinosa), white alder (Alnus rhombifolia), etc.;

(c) Salix species, which includes weeping willow (Salix babylonica), etc.; and

(d) All Platanus species, which include London plane tree (Platanus acerifolia), American sycamore, buttonwood (Platanus occidentalis), etc.

iii. Fee in Lieu: When the Administrator determines that it is infeasible to replace trees on the site, payment into the City’s Urban Forestry Program fund may be approved in an amount of money approximating the current market value of the replacement trees and the labor to install them. The City shall determine the value of replacement trees.

2. Tree Protection Tract: Trees required to be retained (i.e., protected trees), and/or Administrator approved replacement trees (excluding required street trees pursuant to RMC 4-4-070F, Areas Required to be Landscaped), that are not necessary to provide the required minimum tree density for residential lots, shall be preserved by establishing a tree protection tract that encompasses the drip line of all protected trees; however, multiple tree protection tracts may be approved if it can be demonstrated, to the Administrator’s satisfaction, that multiple tracts provide a better site design and/or support other adopted goals and purposes of this Title.

a. Applicability: Tree protection tracts shall be required for any protected trees that are not located on an individual lot. Tree protection tracts may contribute to open space requirements, if applicable.

b. Standards:

i. Tree protection tracts should consist of an aggregation of trees occupying a specific area and sufficiently uniform in species composition, size, age, arrangement, and condition as to be distinguished from adjoining areas;

ii. Trees shall be retained and maintained pursuant to the recommendations of a City approved certified arborist or licensed landscape architect, as stated within the required Tree Retention/Land Clearing (Tree Inventory) Plan;

iii. Amenities, as approved by the Administrator, may be installed to facilitate passive recreation within the tract. Such amenities might include, but are not limited to, benches, picnic tables, and soft surface (semi-permeable) trails.

c. Tract Creation and Deed Restriction: The permit holder shall establish and record a permanent and irrevocable deed restriction on the property title of any tree protection tract or tracts created as a condition of a permit. Such deed restriction(s) shall prohibit development, alteration, or disturbance within the tract except for purposes of installing Administrator approved amenities, or habitat enhancement activities as part of an enhancement project, which has received prior written approval from the City. A covenant shall be placed on the tract restricting its separate sale.

d. Fencing: The City shall require permanent fencing of the tree protection tract. This shall be accomplished by installing a wood, split-rail fence with applicable signage. The Administrator may approve pedestrian-sized openings for the purpose of facilitating passive recreation within the tract for the benefit of the community. The Administrator may authorize alternate styles and/or materials for the required fencing.

e. Signage Required: The common boundary between a tree protection tract and the abutting land must be permanently identified. This identification shall include permanent wood or metal signs on treated wood, or metal posts. Sign locations and size specifications are subject to City review for approval. Suggested wording is as follows: “Protection of these trees is in your care. Alteration or disturbance is prohibited by law.”

f. Responsibility for Ownership and Maintenance: The relevant homeowners’ association, abutting lot owners, the permit applicant or designee, or other City approved entity shall have ownership and responsibility for maintaining the tree protection tract(s) and protected trees.

g. Maintenance Covenant and Note Required: The following note shall appear on the face of all plats, short plats, PUDs, or other approved site plans containing at least one tree protection tract, and shall also be recorded as a covenant running with the land on the title of record for all affected lots on the title: “MAINTENANCE RESPONSIBILITY: All owners of lots created by or benefiting from this City action are responsible for maintenance and protection of the tree protection tract. Maintenance includes ensuring that no alterations occur within the tract and that all vegetation remains undisturbed unless the express written authorization of the City has been received.”

3. Plan Required: When a Land Development Permit, as defined in RMC 4-11-120, is submitted to the City it shall be accompanied by a Tree Retention/Land Clearing (Tree Inventory) Plan as defined in RMC 4-8-120D20, Submittal Requirements – Specific to Application Type.

4. Applicability, Performance Standards and Alternates: All land clearing and tree removal activities shall conform to the criteria and performance standards set forth in this Section unless otherwise recommended in an approved soil engineering, engineering geology, hydrology, or forest management plan and where the alternate procedures will be equal to or superior in achieving the purposes of this Section. All land clearing and tree removal activities may be conditioned to ensure that the standards, criteria, and purposes of this Section are met.

5. Review Criteria: All land clearing and tree removal activities shall comply with RMC 4-4-060, Grading, Excavation, and Mining Regulations, and shall meet the following criteria:

a. The land clearing and tree removal will not create or contribute to landslides, accelerated soil creep, settlement or subsidence, flooding, erosion, or increased turbidity, siltation or other form of pollution in a watercourse.

b. Land clearing and tree removal will be conducted to maintain or provide visual screening and buffering between land uses of differing intensity, consistent with applicable landscaping and setback provisions of the Renton Municipal Code.

c. Land clearing and tree removal shall be conducted so as to expose the smallest practical area of soil to erosion for the least possible time, consistent with an approved build-out schedule and including any necessary erosion control measures.

d. Land clearing and tree removal shall be consistent with subsection D3 of this Section, Restrictions for Critical Areas – General, and RMC 4-3-050, Critical Areas Regulations.

e. The land clearing and tree removal shall not create or contribute to a hazardous condition, such as increased potential for blowdown, pest infestation, disease, or other problems that may result from selectively removing trees and other vegetation from a lot.

f. Land clearing and tree removal shall be conducted to maximize the preservation of any tree in good health that is an outstanding specimen because of its size, form, shape, age, color, rarity, or other distinction as a community landmark. (Ord. 5840, 6-12-2017)

6. Timing: The City may restrict the timing of the land clearing and tree removal activities to specific dates and/or seasons when such restrictions are necessary for the public health, safety and welfare, or for the protection of the environment.

7. Restrictions for Critical Areas: See subsection D3 of this Section, Restrictions for Critical Areas – General, and RMC 4-3-050, Critical Areas Regulations.

8. Tree/Ground Cover Retention: The following measures may be used in conditioning a land development permit or building permit proposal, to comply with the general review criteria of subsection H5 of this Section, General Review Criteria:

a. Trees shall be maintained to the maximum extent feasible on the property where they are growing. Modification of the tree retention and land clearing plan, or the associated Land Development Permit, may be required to ensure the retention of the maximum number of trees.

b. The applicant may be required to replace trees, provide interim erosion control, hydroseed exposed soils, or other similar conditions which would implement the intent of this Section.

c. Trees that shelter interior trees or trees on abutting properties from strong winds that could otherwise cause them to blow down should be retained. (Ord. 5676, 12-3-2012)

9. Protection Measures During Construction: Protection measures in this subsection shall apply for all trees that are to be retained on site and off site. Off-site trees containing drip lines that encroach onto the site under construction shall be considered protected trees unless it is determined the abutting property owner is in compliance with subsection C of this Section, Allowed Tree Removal Activities. All of the following tree protection measures shall apply:

a. Construction Storage Prohibited: The applicant may not fill, excavate, stack or store any equipment, dispose of any materials, supplies or fluids, operate any equipment, install impervious surfaces, or compact the earth in any way within the area defined by the drip line of any tree to be retained.

b. Fenced Protection Area Required: Prior to development activities, the applicant shall erect and maintain six-foot (6') high chain link temporary construction fencing around the drip lines of all retained trees or at a distance surrounding the tree equal to one and one-quarter feet (1-1/4') for every one inch (1") of trunk caliper, whichever is greater, or along the perimeter of a tree protection tract. Placards shall be placed on fencing every fifty feet (50') indicating the words, “NO TRESPASSING – Protected Trees,” or on each side of the fencing if less than fifty feet (50'). Site access to individually protected trees or groups of trees shall be fenced and signed. Individual trees shall be fenced on four (4) sides. In addition, the applicant shall provide supervision whenever equipment or trucks are moving near trees.

c. Protection from Grade Changes: If the grade level adjoining to a tree to be retained is to be raised, the applicant shall construct a dry rock wall or rock well around the tree. The diameter of this wall or well must be equal to the tree’s drip line.

d. Impervious Surfaces Prohibited within the Drip Line: The applicant may not install impervious surface material within the area defined by the drip line of any tree to be retained, unless otherwise approved by the City. (Ord. 5958, 12-9-2019)

e. Restrictions on Grading within the Drip Lines of Retained Trees: The grade level around any tree to be retained may not be lowered within the greater of the following areas: (i) the area defined by the drip line of the tree, or (ii) an area around the tree equal to one and one-half feet (1-1/2') in diameter for each one inch (1") of tree caliper. A larger tree protection zone based on tree size, species, soil, or other conditions may be required. (Ord. 5676, 12-3-2012)

f. Mulch Layer Required: All areas within the required fencing shall be covered completely and evenly with a minimum of three inches (3") of bark mulch prior to installation of the protective fencing. Exceptions may be approved if the mulch will adversely affect protected ground cover plants. (Ord. 5676, 12-3-2012)

g. Monitoring Required during Construction: The applicant shall retain a certified arborist or licensed landscape architect to ensure trees are protected from development activities and/or to prune branches and roots, fertilize, and water as appropriate for any trees and ground cover that are to be retained.

h. Alternative Protection: Alternative safeguards may be used if determined to provide equal or greater tree protection. (Ord. 5676, 12-3-2012; Ord. 5841, 6-12-2017)

10. Maintenance:

a. All retained and replacement trees, including protected trees, shall be maintained in perpetuity from the date of the final Land Development Permit issued for the project, unless tree removal is authorized pursuant to this Section;

b. All retained trees and vegetation shall be pruned and trimmed to maintain a healthy growing condition or to prevent limb failure;

c. With the exception of dangerous trees specifically retained to provide wildlife habitat, any protected tree that becomes a dangerous tree, as defined in RMC 4-11-200, or any protected or replacement tree that is stolen, shall be replaced within three (3) months or during the next planting season if the loss does not occur in a planting season.

I. RESERVED. (Ord. 5981, 10-12-2020)

J. VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES:

1. Penalties: Penalties for any violation of any of the provisions of this Section shall be in accordance with RMC 1-3-2, Code Enforcement and Penalties. In a prosecution under this Section, each tree removed, damaged or destroyed will constitute a separate violation, and the monetary penalty for each violation shall be no less than the minimum penalty, and no greater than the maximum penalty of RMC 1-3-2P, Penalties.

2. Additional Liability for Damage: In addition, any person who violates any provision of this Section or of a permit shall be liable for all damages to public or private property arising from such violation, including the cost of restoring the affected area to its condition prior to such violation.

3. Restoration Required: The City may require replacement of all improperly removed ground cover with species similar to those which were removed or other approved species such that the biological and habitat values will be replaced. Restoration shall include installation and maintenance of interim and emergency erosion control measures that shall be required as determined by the City.

4. Replacement Required: The City may require, for each tree that was improperly cut and/or removed in violation of this Section, replacement planting with one or more trees of equal quality and species at a ratio of one-to-one (1:1) caliper inches. The replacement trees will be of sufficient caliper to adequately replace the lost tree(s), and be a minimum of two (2) caliper inches. The City may require a bond to ensure the survival of replacement trees. If the Administrator determines that it is infeasible to replace trees on the site, payment into the City’s Urban Forestry Program fund may be approved in an amount of money approximating the current market value of the replacement trees and the labor to install them. The City shall determine the value of replacement trees. (Ord. 5867, 12-11-2017)

5. Stop Work: For any parcel on which trees and/or ground cover are improperly removed and subject to penalties under this Section, the City shall stop work on any existing permits and halt the issuance of any or all future permits or approvals until the property is fully restored in compliance with this Section and all penalties are paid. (Ord. 4219, 6-5-1989; Amd. Ord. 4835, 3-27-2000; Ord. 4851, 8-27-2000; Ord. 4963, 5-13-2002; Ord. 5132, 4-4-2005; Ord. 5137, 4-25-2005; Ord. 5304, 9-17-2007; Ord. 5748, 1-12-2015)