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Chapter 12.28, Street Trees, Shrubs and Plants
City of Carpinteria, California
12.28.120 Prohibitions and penalties.
12.28.130 Duty of utility to protect
12.28.140 Duty to maintain and trim trees.
12.28.180 Permits--City trees.
12.28.210 Removal of trees.
12.28.220 Appeals to the city council.
12.28.230 Removal of stumps.
12.28.240 Tree removal businesses--Insurance
and bond requirements.
Any violations of these provisions will require the violator to
pay the cost of maintaining, removing or replacing of such plantings,
and violators shall also be responsible for the repair of any damage
they may cause. These shall be in addition to any other penalties
for violation of this chapter.
- Violations of chapter. It shall be unlawful and a public
nuisance for any person to plant, remove, prune, injure or destroy
any street tree except in conformance with the provisions of
- Interference with Work or Enforcement.
- No person shall interfere with or cause any person to
interfere with any work being done under the provisions
of this chapter by the director or any employee of the city,
or by any person or firm doing work on a contract basis
for the city or under a permit granted by the city, nor
interfere with or cause any person to interfere with or
delay the authorized representatives of the city from the
execution and enforcement of this chapter, except as provided
- No person shall interfere with or cause anyone to interfere
with or damage any overhead wires or underground pipes or
conduits while removing, trimming or cutting any street
trees. The owner of such facilities shall be notified when
such work may interfere with or cause damage to the facilities.
The cost of repair of the damage to overhead wires, underground
pipes or conduits shall be the responsibility of the person,
firm or corporation doing or causing the work to be done.
The city and its officers and employees shall be exempt
from the provisions of this subsection.
- Nonpermitted Plantings. No person shall plant or install
in a parkway or public area:
- Any nonconforming tree;
- Any other plant the ultimate growing height of which
is over eight inches;
- Any nonliving ground cover not included within the street
12.28.130 Duty of utility
to protect trees -- Excavations.
- Damage to Street Trees.
- Unlawful to Damage Trees. It shall be unlawful for any
person to cause damage to any street tree by any act or
omission, whenever such act or omission is prohibited by
or not authorized by this chapter. Willful injury to or
disfigurement of any street tree shall be a violation of
this chapter. Any person or persons who accidentally or
willfully damage, disfigure or destroy any street tree shall
be charged for all replacement or repair costs in an amount
to be determined by the director upon the advice of the
tree advisory board. The determination shall take into consideration
such factors as age of tree, size, species, monetary value,
etc., and shall also include all legal, administrative and
other costs incurred by the city as a result of such violation.
- Unlawful Damage. Unlawful damage includes injuring, defacing,
breaking, abusing, killing or destroying by any means any
street tree including, but not limited to, the following:
- Constructing a sidewalk or driveway or otherwise filling
up the ground in the vicinity of any street tree so as
to shut off air and water from its roots;
- Piling building materials, equipment, or other substance
around any street tree;
- Pouring or applying any gaseous, liquid or solid deleterious
matter or substance on any street tree or on the ground
near any street tree;
- Posting any sign, poster, notice, leaflet, handbill
or other printed material or object on, or fastening any
guy wire, cable, rope, nails, screws or other device to,
any street tree, tree stake or guard;
- Causing or encouraging any fire or burning near or
around any street tree;
- Using any mechanical weeding device against a street
- Constructing retaining walls, fences, or other similar
improvements which prohibit the planting or maintaining
of street trees or otherwise affect their growth;
- Operating construction equipment in such a manner to
cause it to make contact with a street tree;
- Disrupting the anchorage of, or changing the grade
around, any street tree.
- Nesting Season. No street tree shall be removed, trimmed,
pruned or sprayed within the city during the period of March
15th to July 15th of any year, when wild
birds are nesting and raising their young, unless:
- In the opinion of the director, removal of a tree is
essential to the protection of human life and/or property;
- It can be certified by the director that no wild birds
are nesting in the subject tree.
12.28.140 Duty to maintain
and trim trees.
- Duty to Prevent Damage. It shall be the duty of any person
owning or operating any utilities within any public street (including
but not limited to water, sewer, gas, telephone and cable television
services) to maintain such utilities in a manner to prevent
damage to street trees.
- Roots. Any person excavating, trenching or otherwise engaged
in subsurface works within any public street shall not cut any
root exceeding three inches in diameter unless specifically
authorized to do so by the director. In addition to the penalties
otherwise prescribed by this chapter for violation of the terms
thereof, any person who, without authorization, cuts a street
tree root in excess of three inches in diameter shall be liable
for the cost of removal and replacement of said tree or the
costs of remedial pruning should such be necessary in the sole
and exclusive determination of the director.
- Emergency. In an emergency when a street tree is interfering
with and interrupting service, a public utility company providing
gas, water, sewer, electricity, telephone, telegraph or cable
television service within the city may, without first obtaining
a permit, trim or remove branches of trees to the extent necessary
to restore service.
- Prevention of Utilities Not Intended. This section shall
not prevent any person, firm or public utility from installing
and maintaining any overhead wires or underground pipes or conduits
lawfully on, over or under public streets, subject to other
provisions of this code as may apply. The director, when maintenance
or removal of street trees, shall consider the effect upon existing
overhead wires or underground pipes or conduits in order to
avoid any unnecessary disturbance of or relocation of such facilities,
in accordance with the street tree management plan.
12.28.170 Permits -- General.
- Property Owners Responsible. With the exception of pruning
and trimming, property owners are responsible for the proper
maintenance of parkways abutting their property. Such maintenance
shall include irrigation, keeping the parkways free from weeds
or other obstructions inimical to public safety and/or contrary
to the street tree management plan, and otherwise maintaining
such areas in a neat, clean orderly manner. The placing of tarpaper,
plastic or other material over the ground, or the use of materials
or chemicals intended to permanently sterilize the soil in these
area, is prohibited.
- Duty to Trim Trees. Notwithstanding other provisions of this
chapter, it is made the duty of every person owning or occupying
any land or lots of land within the city to keep all private
trees which extend over any public street trimmed up to height
of not less than fourteen feet, except that a height of not
less than eight feet shall be permitted over a sidewalk area,
and also to keep the parkway free of debris.
- Director May Remove Limbs. The director may remove overhead
limbs from any tree or shrub, regardless of its location, if
in his opinion such removals are necessary in the interest of
public safety and the limb constitutes a nuisance.
- Request that Maintenance Work be Privately Undertaken. Upon
approval by the director, any person requesting such street
tree service as trimming, pruning, root pruning or spraying,
but desiring to have it undertaken sooner than the city is able
to schedule work, may obtain a permit to undertake it privately
or by agreement with a qualified, licensed contractor proficient
in arboriculture if, in the determination of the director:
- There is sufficient assurance that such work will be
properly undertaken and, except in cases of removal, will
not irrevocably damage the street tree.
- There is sufficient assurance public safety will not
be impaired. To this end the director may require a public
liability and property damage insurance policy, permit and
12.28.180 Permits -- City
- Director Shall Supervise. The director shall supervise all
work done under a permit issued in accordance with the provisions
of this chapter.
- Permit Revocation. Any work undertaken by the permittee or
his agent may be stopped immediately and the permittee’s permit
may be revoked by presentation of a written order of revocation
by the director when, in his opinion, the program of work or
conditions outlined in the permit are not being complied with.
- One Permit. If a person obtains a building permit or other
permit from the city and street work is required or authorized
under that permit, the person need not obtain a separate street
tree permit. Under the general supervision of the director,
the appropriate department shall supervise street work done
under a permit issued by that department.
- Posting and Hearing. The posting and public hearing requirements
provided for in this chapter shall apply to all applications
for tree removal permits.
- Bond. If, in the judgment of the director, the nature, extent
and/or benefit to the public health and safety of any proposed
work is considered significant, as a condition of the issuance
of any permit the posting of a bond pursuant to Chapter 2.17
of this code may be required guaranteeing the completion of
such work to the satisfaction of the director.
12.28.200 Permits -- Utilities.
- Permit Required for Planting, Removing, or Performing Certain
Maintenance on Any Tree in a Public Street. Whenever a property
owner desires to plant, prune, trim, root prune, remove or do
anything else to any tree planted in a parkway or public area,
an application shall be filed with the director for a permit
to take such actions. If the director finds that such action
is to the advantage of a tree, or removal is imperative due
to safety considerations, and upon the approval of the tree
advisory board, a permit may be issued, but only for such work
that will not create, continue or aggravate any hazardous condition
or public nuisance, will not prevent or interfere with the growth,
location or planting of approved street trees, and is consistent
with the street tree management plan.
The director may waive the permit requirement for minor trimming
or pruning activities, such as the removal of palm fronds. If
a permit is denied, within five days of board action a written
denial shall be given the applicant setting forth the reasons
therefor and a copy of such denial shall be delivered to the tree
advisory board. Such decision shall be made within forty days
after the application is filed, and may be appealed to the city
council, the decision of which would be final.
- Costs Borne by Permittee. All costs incurred by a property
owner for maintaining or removing a street tree as permitted
by the director shall be borne by the permittee. Whenever a
tree is removed under permit, the director, upon the advice
of the tree advisory board, may require a replacement tree of
a designated kind and size to be planted, and all costs related
to the replacement tree shall be borne by the permittee. For
reasons of expediency in certain circumstances, the director
may require an equivalent in-lieu fee for this purpose. Whenever
any tree is planted in conflict with the provisions of this
chapter, it shall be lawful for the director to remove or cause
removal of the same, the cost of which may be charged to the
property owner responsible for the planting thereof in accordance
with Section 12.28.120F.
- Criteria. The determination for city tree removal permits
shall be based on the criteria outlined in Section 12.28.210
of this chapter.
Any person doing business as a public utility subject to the
jurisdiction of the public utilities commission of the state and
any constituted public agency authorized to provide and providing
utility service, shall be given a permit by the director, valid
for one year from the date of issuance, permitting such person
to trim, prune, brace or perform other acts, except removal, with
respect to trees growing on parkways or on public areas of the
city as may be necessary to comply with the safety regulations
of said commission and as may be necessary to maintain the safe
operation of its business. Before any tree is removed, under the
above provisions, a permit must be obtained from the city in accordance
with, and subject to, the street management plan.
12.28.210 Removal of
12.28.220 Appeals to the
- Criteria for Removal. Subject to the provisions of this chapter,
the director shall be responsible for inspection, maintenance,
removal and replacement of street trees, and may cause street
trees to be removed by the city if they are deemed by the director
to be unhealthy, hazardous, undesirable or causing excessive
damage to existing public improvements or other street trees.
Acceptable reasons for any removal of a tree shall include a
tree that is:
Dying, decayed or hazardous, or so weakened
by age, disease, storm, fire, excavation, removal of adjacent
trees or any injury so as to cause imminent danger to
persons or property;
Diseased beyond reclamation, or the condition
of which is a source of present danger to healthy trees
in the immediate vicinity, providing that a certificate
attesting to such fact has been filed with the city clerk
by a state-licensed pest control advisor, or state-licensed
contractor with a proficiency in arboriculture, authorized
to do business within the city;
Obstructing curb, gutter or sidewalk
repair, or in the way of a new curb, gutter or sidewalk
for which an exception to standard design is determined
by the director to be inconsistent with established policies
and standards for street tree planting and maintenance;
In dangerous proximity to existing structures,
or interfering with existing utilities;
Constituting a hazard to property or
persons using the adjoining streets;
Because of its root system, causing excessive
damage to curbs, gutters, sidewalks or driveways;
Obstructing proposed improvement so as
to restrict economic enjoyment of the adjacent property,
including the construction or safe use of a driveway or
parking space for which a permit has been issued, unless
such tree has been designated as an historic or specimen
Crowded by other trees, and good horticultural
practices dictate removal of some of them;
Otherwise healthy, but the removal of
which is considered desirable because it is a proven nuisance
species and/or in order to achieve a properly staged tree
replacement schedule which enables several generations
of trees to exist simultaneously.
- Removal of Street Trees.
- Except in instances of immediate public danger, removal
of street trees in public rights-of-way and easements will
take place in the fall of each year.
- Whenever any street tree is determined by the director
to require removal, legal public notice shall be published
in the newspaper thirty days prior to the posting of the
tree. It shall thereafter be posted with a conspicuous notice
indicating the intent to remove the tree and providing ten
additional days within which written protests may be filed
with the city clerk. A public hearing shall be held thereafter
before the tree advisory board, which shall make a decision
on the tree’s removal. The board’s decision may be appealed
to the city council, the decision of which would be final.
- Written requests from adjacent property owners for removal
of street trees may be submitted throughout the year, but
trees so requested for removal will all be legally noticed
and posted as provided by this section at approximately
the same time in accordance with the regular annual removal
schedule. The director shall evaluate each requested removal
and recommend to the tree advisory board removal or whatever
other remedial action such as pruning, root pruning, concrete
or asphalt repairs should be considered. It shall be determined
whether or not such tree is required to be retained in order
to preserve the intent and purpose of the street tree management
plan, and take into consideration its condition, age, desirability
of species (whether or not a conforming tree), location,
and the extent of any inconvenience or hardship which the
retention of the tree would cause the property owner. If
the tree poses no threat to public safety, public or private
property (including aboveground or underground utilities)
or if removal is not required to allow the construction
of public or private improvements, or if the potential or
continued damage to curbs, gutters, sidewalks or driveways
may be mitigated by pruning, root pruning, irrigation, feeding
or other maintenance procedures, the city shall not remove
nor permit removal of the tree. Following the noticing and
posting period, a public hearing shall be held before the
tree advisory board, which shall make a decision on the
tree’s removal. Its decision may be appealed to the city
council, the decision of which shall be final.
- In the event that the recommended removal of a nonconforming
street tree is protested by the adjacent property owner,
but the director has determined that preservation of the
tree no longer justifies continued public expense for repair
of the damage it is causing, the city may enter into an
agreement transferring the responsibility for future repairs
and maintenance and the costs thereof to the adjacent property
owner. In the event of the failure by the adjacent property
owner to carry out any of his obligations under such an
agreement, it shall become void and cause for removal by
the city of the nonconforming tree.
- a. Considerations. The following considerations shall
be taken into account in acting upon a tree removal request
made pursuant to this chapter.
- Whether such tree is designated as an historic, specimen
or otherwise protected tree;
- The size of the building site in relation to the
size of the proposed or existing improvements;
- The number and size of other trees which would remain
upon the building site after the requested removal;
- The number and location of adjacent trees on city
property and the possibility of maintaining desirable
tree density in the area through additional planting
on city property;
- Any beneficial effects upon adjacent trees to be
expected from the proposed removal;
- Whether the tree sought to be removed was planted
by or with the permission of the applicant at the time
such tree was planted.
- Findings. As a prerequisite to granting a tree removal request,
the board may impose conditions and shall make one or more of
the following findings:
- That the principles of good urban forest management will
best be served by the proposed removal;
- That a reasonable and practical development of the property
on which the tree is located requires removal of the tree
or trees the removal of which is sought;
- That the character of the immediate neighborhood with
respect to forestation will not be materially affected by
the proposed removal;
- That regard for the safety of persons or property dictates
- Removal of Private Trees or Other Plants.
- The director may inspect any tree, or other plant on
private property in the city to determine whether the same
or any portion thereof is in such a condition as to constitute
a public nuisance and, in addition, for the purpose of abating
or correcting any condition or thing declared to be a public
nuisance under this chapter. The director shall have the
authority to require property owners to remove or prune
any private tree or other plant if it is determined by the
director to be seriously interfering with the growth and
health of any street tree.
- The following are declared public nuisances:
- Any private tree or other plant or part thereof growing
on private property but overhanging the street or interfering
with the use of any street which, in the opinion of
the director, endangers the life, health, safety or
property of the public, or which unduly interferes with
or in any way endangers the usefulness of a public utility;
- The continued existence of any private tree or other
plant that is dead, diseased or infested or infected
with insects, any other disease organisms or growths
which constitute a threat or may be injurious to trees
or other plants in the surrounding area;
- Any private tree or other plant which interferes
with required minimum sight visibility between a public
street and its intersection with another public street
as provided for in the street tree management plan;
- Any branches or foliage of private trees which interfere
with visibility on, free use of, or access to, any portion
of any street improved for vehicular and pedestrian
travel, or which interfere with the visibility of any
traffic-control device or sign;
- Any private tree or plant which interferes with,
impairs or destroys any street improvement, sidewalk,
curb, gutter, sewer, street trees or other public improvements;
- Vines or climbing plants growing on private property
which encroach on or over any street tree or any public
hydrant, pole or electrolier;
- Hedges or dense thorny shrubs and plants growing
on private property which encroach onto any public street
or public area or part thereof.
Except in the case of an historic, specimen or otherwise protected
tree, failure of the tree advisory board to act upon an application
within ninety days after it is filed shall be deemed approval
thereof. Unless an appeal is filed by the applicant with the city
clerk within ten days of the mailing of notice of board action,
its action shall be final. An appeal of the action of the board
shall be in writing and clearly state the reasons for which a
hearing before the city council is requested. The city council
may continue the hearing but shall vote within forty-five days
of the filing of the appeal or the removal shall be deemed approved.
The city council may impose conditions and shall, as a prerequisite
to approval, make one or more of the findings set forth in Section
12.28.210C3d. In the absence of a majority vote for approval of
a tree removal, the application is denied.
12.28.230 Removal of
When trees are removed, all stumps, including underground portions
to a depth specified by the director in accordance with the street
tree management plan, shall be removed below the surface of the
ground so that the top of the stump shall not project above the
surface of the ground.
12.28.240 Tree removal
businesses -- Insurance and bond requirements.
Any person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of removing
city trees shall carry public liability and property damage insurance
in an amount to be determined by the city council and policies
or certificates thereof shall be filed with the city clerk. Where
deemed advisable, the director may require the posting of a performance
bond pursuant to Chapter 2.17 of this code to guarantee the completion
of any job in accordance with adopted city standards, rules and
regulations. Pursuant to state law, all tree contracting services
must provide evidence of a state contractor’s license (either
C-27 or C-61 subsection D-49.)
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