Thursday, February 22, 2007

Everything About Oak Tree Permits

Here's information regarding the trimming and removal of oak trees. It's a bit long, but paragraphs A and B provide the regulations.


A. For any activity that may result in an impact to the oak resource. Impacts include cutting, destroying, removing, relocating, inflicting damage or encroaching into the protected zone of any tree of the oak genus that is 25 inches or more in circumference or eight (8") inches in diameter as measured four and one-half feet above mean natural grade, or in the case of multi trunks whose combined circumference of any two trunks is at least 12" in diameter.

B. For any activity that may impact any oak tree, regardless of size, which was provided as a replacement tree pursuant to the Los Angeles County Oak Tree Ordinance.

There are a few exemptions to the Oak Tree Permit process. Routine maintenance and pruning of an oak tree required to protect life and property while maintaining tree health is allowed and an Emergency Oak Tree Permit may be issued under certain situations. Live limbs up to 2" in diameter may be pruned and dead limbs removed. Removal of limbs within 10 feet of a chimney is allowed to maintain fire clearances. An Emergency Oak Tree Permit may be issued upon inspection and approval of a county forester when a tree poses an immediate threat to life or property. Proper filing procedures will be discussed during your appointment with the county zoning and permit counselor.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Your first step is to contact the Department of Regional Planning’s Land Development Coordinating Center to obtain the form for an oak tree permit. Their phone number is (213) 974-6411. A zoning and permit counselor is available between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday in Room 1360 in the Hall of Records, 320 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. There, you can discuss your plans and obtain pertinent facts about land use, zoning, and permits, that may affect your property and oak resource. You also may call the Environmental Review Unit of the County of Los Angeles Fire Department’s Forestry Division, for an assessment of your projects potential impact to the oak resource or emergency request. Their phone number is (818) 890-5719, Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

APPLICATION PROCESSING: When you have completed the application forms and assembled all of the required materials including an oak tree report prepared by an approved expert, you should call for an appointment to file your application. A planner will review the materials to insure that all necessary items are submitted and the necessary fees paid. When the filing has been deemed complete, you may be set for public hearing before a Hearing Officer or the Regional Planning Commission depending on the circumstances of your case. A combined hearing will be held by the Regional Planning Commission or Hearing Officer for an Oak Tree Permit filed concurrently with other types of applications on the same property.

Before the public hearing, your Oak Tree Permit Application and Oak Tree Report, if required by the Director, will be reviewed by foresters of the County of Los Angeles Fire Department. They shall review the report for accuracy and make physical inspections of the project site. Such inspections shall determine the health of all oak trees and other factors as may be needed to complete their review. A copy of the forester's comments on the report will be submitted in writing to the Director or Commission within 15 days of receipt of the application from the Director. The foresters may at their option suggest mitigating conditions for use by the Hearing Officer, Director, or Commission. There are additional fees for the review, field inspection, and field monitoring for use of the permit. The fees are paid directly to the County of Los Angeles Fire Department and are based on the number of oaks involved and complexity of the project.

Notices of public hearing are sent to the applicant and surrounding property owners advising them of your application and the time and place of the public hearing. A legal advertisement is also placed in a local newspaper. A staff report is prepared containing an analysis of the impact and preliminary recommendations. This report is available for public review the day of the public hearing. Either a Hearing Officer or on more complex / controversial cases the Regional Planning Commission, will hear the Oak Tree Permit request.

PUBLIC HEARING: When concurrent consideration for other required permits ( ie. zone changes, land divisions, variances) requiring a public notice and a public hearing exists, the Oak Tree Permit shall be considered in the same public notice and public hearing. When no concurrent consideration is noted by the Hearing Officer, the Director shall conduct a public hearing subject to the public notice of an Oak Tree Permit filing. The public hearing will be within 30 to 45 days of the public notice. The public notice of an Oak Tree Permit filing shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation within the County of Los Angeles and available in the community in which the Oak Tree Permit is proposed.

The applicant or his representative should attend the public hearing and be available to present and explain the request. You may bring all materials and other people you feel are necessary to assist you in presenting your request. Owners of adjacent property and other interested persons will also be allowed to testify. However, neither a public notice nor public hearing, is required when removal or relocation of only one tree is proposed in conjunction with a single-family residence listed as a permitted use in the zone.

No comments: