Council approves tree ordinance

May 9, 2017 by  

On April 26, the Encinitas City Council adopted the first reading of a new municipal ordinance regarding the city’s trees. The vote was unanimous.

The ordinance, if adopted permanently, will put regulations in place to protect the city’s publicly planted trees, as well as other venerable trees.

The ordinance would also give additional protection to ‘heritage trees’, which are those that have cultural or historical significance, or are the largest or oldest of their species. The new regulations would mean such trees could be removed only with the planning commission’s approval. They would also mean that removing any trees on a public right-of-way would have to be approved by the city’s arborist. The position is currently vacant, but Encinitas is recruiting for one.

The ordinance also establishes what is being called an urban forest advisory committee. This body would have at least five members with the necessary experience to advise city officials on issues related to managing the city’s trees.

The ordinance would prohibit ‘topping’ city trees, which is the practice of removing large branches from the tree tops, and any pruning would have to be done in accordance with established standards. The city’s arborist would need to approve pruning of the heritage trees.

The ordinance will take effect if the council approves it on a second reading. Communities like this can benefit if officials work with a newsletter printing company to create an informative letter for residents.