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Chapter 11.30 Tree Permit Procedures


11.30.010 Purpose.

This Chapter establishes application requirements and procedures for all tree permits required by this Title to ensure that the legal rights of individual property owners and the public are protected. Tree permits are generally required for specific tree related activity when not associated with development.


11.30.020 Description of Tree Permits.

A.  Generally. Tree permits are required for tree-related activities not associated with:

1.  Heritage Trees (see Chapter 11.20);

2.  Programmatic Permits (see Chapter 11.45); or

3.  Tree plans or activities that require a development permit (see Chapter 11.50).

B.  Types of Permits.   There are two types of tree permits, A and B. This Chapter sets out the procedures for each permit type, including when public notice and opportunity for public appeal are required. Applications for activities subject to both a Type A and Type B permit will be processed as a Type B permit. The type of permit may be modified during the course of the review when the City Forester finds that the standards or review factors are not met or when the approved scope of the tree activity is changed. For example, a Type A tree permit application to remove a dangerous tree may be modified to a Type B removal request when the City Forester finds the tree is not dangerous. Conversely, the City Forester may modify a Type B request to remove a Street Tree by granting a Type A pruning permit instead of allowing the removal. The standards and review factors for granting Type A or B permits are in Chapter 11.40.   Table 30-1 summarizes the public notice and appeal procedures applicable to a Type A or Type B permit.

 

Table 30-1 Public Notice and Appeal requirements for City, Street and Private Trees

Permit

Type

Proposal City/Street or Private Tree Public Notice/Public May Appeal [1]
A Any Type A request City/Street/Private No
B Up to four healthy <20" diameter nuisance and non-nusance species trees City/Street No
≥ 20” diameter, healthy nuisance or non-nuisance species tree City/Street Yes
More than four healthy ≥ 12" diameter nuisance and non-nuisance species trees  City/Street
≥ 20” diameter, healthy non-nuisance species tree [2] Private
More than four healthy ≥12” diameter non-nuisance species trees Private
Note [1] The applicant may appeal any Type A or B permit decision.
Note [2] No public notice or opportunity for public appeal is required for removal of one healthy non-nuisance species tree >20” diameter per lot per calendar year in any residential zone.

 

 


11.30.030 Applications.

A.  Applications for Tree Permits shall:

1.  Be made in writing or electronically upon forms furnished by the City;

2.  Be legible, accurate, and contain sufficient information in order to evaluate the request; and

3.  Be accompanied by the correct fee.

B.  A separate application is required for each site, but each application may address multiple trees and multiple types of activities, such as planting, pruning, or removal.

C.  Marking trees to be removed. Applicants for permits for tree removal shall mark each tree proposed for removal by tying or attaching yellow tagging tape around the trunk of the tree at 4.5 feet above ground level.

D.  Consent to site access. By submitting an application for a tree permit, the owner and applicant agrees that authorized City representatives may enter the site during business hours for the purpose of conducting inspections related to the tree permit request.

E.  Authority. An applicant will be authorized to apply for the Tree Permit, as described below:

1.  City Trees. For City Trees, only the Bureau that owns the site may submit an application. Where the City is managing trees on lands not owned by the City, the Bureau assigned to manage or care for trees, the owner or the agent authorized to represent the property owner may submit the application.

2.  Street Trees. The applicant shall be the owner of the adjacent property or be authorized by the owner of the adjacent property where the Street Tree will be planted, pruned or removed. Exceptions to this requirement include:

a.  The Bureau of Environmental Services shall act as applicant for permits for Street Trees in greenstreet facilities.

b.  The Bureau of Transportation shall act as applicant for permits for Street Trees in center medians.

c.  The City Forester may plant, prune or remove Street Trees without obtaining the authorization of the adjacent property owner.

d.  Public agencies operating under the conditions of a Programmatic Tree Permit are not required to obtain the adjacent owner’s consent for tree-related work on streets.

3.  Private Trees. The applicant shall be the owner of property where the tree is located or be authorized by the owner. For trees that straddle property lines, the owners of all properties where the tree is located shall authorize the application. For commonly held tracts such as open space or private street tracts, the application shall be submitted by the agent or parties authorized to represent the shared ownership interest in the tract. It is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain the appropriate consent for tree permit applications.

4.  City, Street and Private Trees within easements, or addressed by deed restrictions or other agreements. Any person having or asserting the right to remove trees under the terms of an easement, deed restriction or other agreement shall comply with the provisions of this Title. An easement holder, beneficiary of a deed restriction, or other person seeking to remove a tree on the property of another under an agreement is authorized to apply for permits or approvals required by this Title. The owner of a servient tenement, the grantor of a deed restriction or other person who by agreement has authorized another to possess, occupy or use property owned by the person is authorized to apply for permits or approvals required by this Title. The presence of an easement, deed restriction or other agreement does not change the type of tree. A tree remains either a City Tree, a Street Tree or a Private Tree.


11.30.040 Procedure for Type A Permits.

Type A permits are technical determinations regarding the facts of a particular request, and applications of city standards to ensure that work is performed in accordance with best management practices to protect trees, the public, or public infrastructure, and to ensure tree replacement. Type A permits are reviewed administratively by the City Forester. There is no public notice, and only the applicant may appeal the decision.

A.  Application.

1.  Generally. Applications for a Type A Tree Permit shall meet the requirements of Section 11.30.030, Applications.

2.  Additional information required.

a.  If the City Forester requires additional information to review an application, the City Forester will send a notice to the applicant requesting the additional information.

b.  The applicant will have a maximum of 30 days from the date of the City Forester’s notice to submit the additional information.

c.  If the additional information is not received by the City Forester within 30 days from the date of the City Forester’s notice, the application will be voided on the 31st day. The City will not refund the filing fee.

B.  Decision by the City Forester.

1.  The City Forester’s decision shall be based on an evaluation of the facts and applicable standards and review factors in Chapter 11.40.

2.  The City Forester may issue the permit, deny the permit, or may apply conditions of approval to the permit to ensure the request complies with the applicable review factors and standards. Type A permits may be self issued for Street Tree pruning. The applicant must agree that such pruning will be conducted in accordance with proper arboricultural practices. Self-issued permits are not subject to Subsection B.4. and may not be appealed.

3.  Any work done under a permit shall be performed in strict accordance with the terms and provisions of this Title and conditions of approval of the permit.

4.  The City Forester shall notify the applicant of the decision in writing.

5.  If the applicant does not file a timely appeal as specified in Subsection C., below, the decision is final.

C.  Appeal. The applicant may appeal the City Forester's decision on a tree permit. Appeals shall be:

1.  Filed with the City Forester on forms prescribed by the City;

2.  Filed within 14 days from the date on the City Forester's decision; and

3.  Specifically identify how the City Forester erred in applying the standards or review factors.

D.  Appeal process.

1.  Scheduling the appeal hearing. The appeal hearing will be scheduled within 45 days of the City Forester's decision. However, the applicant may request the hearing at a later time.

2.  Notice. Notice of the appeal hearing will be sent to the applicant at least 14 days before the hearing.

3.  Hearing.

a.  Appeals are heard by the Urban Forestry Appeals Board (Appeals Board).

b.  The Appeals Board will consider the application against the applicable standards or review factors, taking into consideration information provided by the applicant, appellant and City staff, and any observations made by members of the Appeals Board if they visit the site.

E.  Appeals Board Decision.

1.  The Appeals Board may affirm or reverse the City Forester's decision.

2.  The Appeals Board will give due deference to the professional judgment of the City Forester, and will reverse or remand the City Forester's decision only upon a finding that the City Forester's decision is not supported by substantial evidence, or upon a finding that the City Forester's decision was arbitrary or capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise was not in accordance with the provisions of this Title.

3.  The appeal decision of the Urban Forestry Appeals Board is final and may not be appealed to another review body within the City.


11.30.050 Procedure for Type B Permits.

Type B permits involve the consideration of relevant technical and qualitative factors to prevent risks to public health and safety or significant undue impacts on neighborhood character, and to ensure that the impacts of tree removal are mitigated. Type B permits are reviewed administratively by the City Forester, and the decision may be appealed to the Urban Forestry Appeals Board by the applicant and any person adversely affected or aggrieved by the decision.

A.  Application.

1.  Generally. Application for a Type B Tree Permit shall meet the requirements of Section 11.30.030, Applications.

2.  Additional information required.

a.  If the City Forester requires additional information to review an application, the City Forester will send a notice to the applicant requesting the additional information.

b.  The applicant will have a maximum of 30 days from the date of the City Forester’s notice to submit the additional information.

c.  If the additional information is not received by the City Forester within 30 days from the date of the City Forester’s notice, the application will be voided on the 31st day. The City will not refund the filing fee.

B.  Decision by the City Forester.

1.  The City Forester’s decision shall be based on an evaluation of the facts and applicable standards and review factors in Chapter 11.40.

2.  The City Forester may issue the permit, deny the permit, or may apply conditions of approval to the permit to ensure the request complies with the applicable review factors and standards.

3.  Any work done under a permit shall be performed in strict accordance with the terms and provisions of this Title and conditions of approval of the permit.

4.  If the application is denied, the City Forester shall notify the applicant of the decision in writing.

5.  If the application is tentatively approved, and public notice is required per Table 30-1, the City Forester shall send notice of the pending approval to the applicant and the neighborhood association. The applicant shall post a copy of the notice on the site in a location clearly visible from the street nearest the tree.

6.  If no appeal is filed within a timely manner as specified in Subsection C., below, the decision is final. The City Forester shall notify the applicant that the decision is final.

C.  Appeal. The applicant may appeal the City Forester's decision. In addition, when public notice is required per Table 30-1, the neighborhood association or any other person may also appeal the decision. Appeals shall be:

1.  Filed with the City Forester on forms prescribed by the City;

2.  Filed within 14 days from the date of the City Forester's decision; and

3.  Specifically identify how the City Forester erred in applying the standards or review factors.

D.  Appeal process.

1.  Scheduling of the appeal hearing. The appeal hearing will be scheduled within 45 days of the City Forester's decision. However, for good cause shown by any party, the Appeals Board may extend the hearing deadline.

2.  Notice. Notice of the appeal hearing will be sent to the applicant, the appellant, and the neighborhood association at least 14 days before the hearing. The applicant shall post a copy of the appeal hearing notice on the site in a location clearly visible from the street nearest the tree.

3.  Hearing.

a.  Appeals are heard by the Urban Forestry Appeals Board (Appeals Board).

b.  The Appeals Board will consider the application against the applicable standards or review factors, taking into consideration information provided by the applicant, appellant, and City staff, or observations made by members of the Appeals Board if they visit the site.

c.  Additional testimony and evidence may be introduced at the hearing, and the Appeals Board may delay its decision to provide adequate time for other parties to respond.

d.  If additional hearings are scheduled, the Appeals Board may, at its discretion, choose to not allow new evidence after the initial hearing.

E.  Appeals Board Decision.

1.  The Appeals Board may affirm or reverse the City Forester's decision, or remand the decision to the City Forester to determine appropriate mitigation.

2.  The Appeals Board will give due deference to the professional judgment of the City Forester, and will reverse or remand the City Forester's decision only upon a finding that the City Forester's decision is not supported by substantial evidence, or upon a finding that the City Forester's decision was arbitrary or capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise was not in accordance with the provisions of this Title.

3.  The appeal decision of the Urban Forestry Appeals Board is final and may not be appealed to another review body within the City.


11.30.100 Regulations That Apply After Permit Approval.

A.  Posting tree removal permits. Permits for tree removal shall be posted while the approved tree removal work is underway. The permit shall be posted in a location visible to pedestrians and motorists.

B.  Certifying compliance with replacement requirements. Applicants shall certify that they have complied with the tree replacement and any other requirements or conditions stipulated on a permit, as applicable.

C.  Permit expiration. Tree Permits expire 90 days from the date of issuance, unless a specific expiration date has been added to the permit by the City Forester or Urban Forestry Appeals Board. The reviewing authority may require a performance guarantee as described in Section 11.10.060, when replacement planting is allowed to be deferred beyond the permit expiration date.

D.  Permit suspension or revocation. The City Forester may suspend or revoke a tree permit. The permit holder shall be notified of the suspension or revocation in writing. Permits may be suspended or revoked when:

1.  The permit is issued in error;

2.  The permit is issued on the basis of incorrect information supplied by the owner or applicant;

3.  The permit is issued in violation of any of the provisions of City code or an approved land use decision; or

4.  The applicant, owner, or contractor listed on a permit is the subject of a pending violation of this Title for the site where the work is proposed or occurring. In such cases, the permit may be suspended until the alleged violation has been resolved.