§ 22.46.2100. Oak Tree Regulations  


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  • A. Removal Permitted. Oak Trees may be removed, or the Protected Zone (as defined below) encroached upon, in accordance with the requirements of this Section. Removal or encroachment upon the Protected Zone of Oak Trees may be requested by filing a Substantial Conformance Review application in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 22.46.2190 of this Specific Plan. Removal of Oak Trees shall include cutting, destroying, removing, relocating, inflicting Damage (as defined below) or encroaching into the root zone or grading/filling within the drip line area of an Oak Tree; provided however, that pruning of branches up to two (2) inches in diameter, deadwood, stubs, and no more than 15 percent of the tree canopy of any one (1) tree, conducted under the supervision of a registered consulting arborist shall not be considered a removal or encroachment and shall not require a Substantial Conformance Review.

    B. Definitions. Whenever the following terms are used in this Section, they shall be construed as defined in this Section. To the extent that other terms used in this Section are not defined herein or in Section 22.46.2030 of this Specific Plan, but are defined in the County Code, those definitions shall apply.

    Damage. Any act causing or tending to cause injury to the root system or other parts of a tree, including, but not limited to, burning, application of toxic substances, operation of equipment or machinery, or by paving, changing the natural grade, trenching or excavating within the Protected Zone of an Oak Tree.

    Protected Zone. That area within the drip line of an Oak Tree and extending there from to a point at least five (5) feet outside the drip line, or 15 feet from the trunks of a tree, whichever distance is greater.

    C. Oak Trees Subject to this Specific Plan.

    1. Removal or encroachment upon the Protected Zone of those Oak Trees indicated on the Master Oak Tree Maps, dated February 2013, and included in the County file, and identified in the NBC Universal Evolution Plan Tree Report dated September 2010 (Oak Tree Report), and any trees identified per Section 22.46.2100.C.2 below, shall be subject to this Specific Plan and shall not be otherwise subject to oak tree regulations contained in the Zoning Code.

    2. Exemptions.

    a. Cases of emergency caused by an Oak Tree being in a hazardous or dangerous condition, or being irretrievably Damaged or destroyed through flood, fire, wind or lightning as determined after visual inspection by a Forester with County Forester or the County Fire Marshall;

    b. Emergency or routine maintenance by a public utility necessary to protect or maintain an electric power or communication line or other property of a public utility;

    c. Trees, including tree canopies, within existing road rights-of-way where pruning is necessary to obtain adequate line-of-sight distances and/or to keep street and sidewalk easements clear of obstructions or to remove or relocate trees causing damage to roadway improvements or other public facilities and infrastructure within existing road rights-of-way as required by the Director of Public Works.

    d. All trees, other than those identified on the Master Oak Tree Map or as provided in Section 22.46.2100.D.2 and D.6 below, shall be exempt from the Oak Tree requirements of this Specific Plan and shall not be subject to any other tree regulations established by the Zoning Code. Trees that are exempt may be removed by the Universal Studios Specific Plan area property owner without any review or approval by the County.

    D. Requirements. Prior to the removal or encroachment upon the Protected Zone of any Oak Tree indicated on the Master Oak Tree Maps, dated February 2013, the Applicant shall provide a map, which corresponds to the Master Oak Tree Map, indicating the specific Oak Tree and its tag number to be removed. Copies of the original Oak Tree Report, Master Oak Tree Map, and Oak Tree Substantial Conformance Review application and approval shall be kept on the Project site and available for review, and all individuals associated with the Project as it relates to the oak resource shall be familiar with said documents. The Applicant shall suitably guarantee, to the satisfaction of the Director and County Forester, compliance with Section 22.46.2100.D.1.a, D.1.b, D.1.c, or D.1.d below in connection with the removal of an oak tree or an encroachment upon the Protected Zone that results in Damage to an oak tree.

    1. The Applicant shall either:

    a. Provide and plant two (2) replacement oak trees at an on-site location for each single Oak Tree removed within one (1) year of the Oak Tree removal unless otherwise specifically stated or extended by the County Forester. The replacement tree(s) shall be a minimum of fifteen gallon in size, measure at least one (1) inch in diameter one (1) foot above the base, and shall consist exclusively of indigenous oak trees and certified as being grown from a seed source collected from an indigenous oak woodland within valley regions of Los Angeles County where feasible; or

    b. Provide and plant two (2) replacement oak trees at an off-site location within one (1) year of the Oak Tree removal unless otherwise specifically stated or extended. The off-site replacement tree location shall be approved by the Director and County Forester. The replacement tree(s) shall be a minimum of fifteen gallon in size, measure at least one (1) inch in diameter one (1) foot above the base, and shall consist exclusively of indigenous oak trees and certified as being grown from a seed source collected from indigenous oak woodland within valley regions of Los Angeles County where feasible; or

    c. Pay an in lieu fee of $2,700 for each removed Oak Tree. This fee shall be adjusted by the County Forester consistent with the Consumer Price Index for the Los Angeles-Long Beach metropolitan statistical area on the annual anniversary of the effective date of this Specific Plan. If the Applicant provides an in lieu fee, it shall be deposited into a segregated trust fund maintained or selected by the County for the planting of replacement oak trees and the deposit shall be made prior to issuance of a grading or building permit involving construction within the area of any Oak Tree removal; or

    d. Any combination of Subsections (a), (b) and (c) above.

    2. Removal of any oak tree, which is 8 inches, or more, in diameter as measured four (4) and one-half feet above mean natural grade or in the case of oaks with multiple trunks a combined diameter of twelve inches or more of the two (2) largest trunks, that is not identified on the Master Oak Tree Map shall comply with Section 22.46.2100.D.1 above. In addition, the Master Oak Tree Map shall be amended to include the subject tree(s) including the additional tag number and tree data.

    3. In addition to the Substantial Conformance Review application requirements set forth in Section 22.46.2190 of this Specific Plan, each application for Substantial Conformance Review for removal of an Oak Tree shall include:

    a. The location of all Oak Trees proposed to be removed and/or relocated, and/or within 200 feet of proposed construction and/or grading activity. Each tree shall be identified by the corresponding permanent identifying tag as listed on the Master Oak Tree Map. The Protected Zone shall be shown for each plotted tree;

    b. Where a change in grade is proposed, the change in grade within the Protected Zone of each Oak Tree within the grading area;

    c. Location and size of all proposed replacement trees or statement of the in-lieu fee amount to be paid calculated based on Section 22.46.2100.D.1.c, above;

    d. Proposed and existing land uses in the immediate vicinity of the proposed Oak Tree to be removed and location of proposed replacement trees;

    e. A letter from the Applicant to the Director and the County Forester stating that a registered consulting arborist has been retained to perform or supervise the Oak Tree work; and

    f. Other information that the Director deems necessary to process the application.

    4. The registered consulting arborist shall monitor the replacement trees for a minimum of seven (7) years, to evaluate the growth, health and condition of the replacement trees. The seven-year maintenance period will begin upon receipt of a letter from the Applicant or registered consulting arborist to the Director and the County Forester indicating that the replacement trees have been planted.

    5. The Applicant shall properly maintain each replacement tree and shall replace any tree failing to survive due to a lack of proper care and maintenance with a tree meeting the specifications set forth in Section 22.46.2100.D.1 above. If a new replacement tree is required, the new replacement tree shall also be monitored for a period of seven (7) years commencing upon the receipt of a letter from the Applicant or registered consulting arborist to the Director and the County Forester indicating that the new replacement tree has been planted.

    6. The removal or encroachment into the Protected Zone of any replacement trees located within the Universal Studios Specific Plan area, regardless of size, shall be subject to the requirements of Section 22.46.2100.D.1 above.

    7. The Applicant shall design landscapes and irrigation systems that are adjacent to the replacement trees in a manner that is compatible for the survival of the replacement trees.

    8. The Applicant shall remove mistletoe infestations, insect infestations and other pathogens within existing Oak Trees as directed by a registered consulting arborist.

    9. No planting or irrigation system shall be installed within the drip line of any Oak Tree.

    10. Trenching, excavation, or clearance of vegetation within the Protected Zone of an Oak Tree shall be accomplished by the use of hand tools or small hand-held power tools. Any major roots encountered shall be conserved to the extent possible and treated as recommended by the registered consulting arborist.

    11. Oak Trees which are determined to be healthy, structurally sound, and located on accessible terrain shall be considered as candidates for relocation, to the extent feasible, as determined by a registered consulting arborist retained by the Applicant.

    E. Mitigation Banking. The Applicant may plant blocks of trees either on- or off-site to the satisfaction of the Director and the County Forester as provided in Section 22.46.2100.D.1.a and D.1.b above, which may be used as mitigation for future removals. This would create a more efficient and consolidated monitoring effort for both the Applicant and the County Forester. Any replacement trees planted pursuant to this Subsection shall meet the minimum requirements outlined in Section 22.46.2100.D.1.a and/or D.1.b above, as applicable.

    F. Forester Inspection and Monitoring Fee. In addition to the Substantial Conformance Review fee required pursuant to Section 22.46.2190.C, the Applicant shall, prior to commencement of the use of the Substantial Conformance Review approval under this Section, deposit with the County Fire Department, Forestry Division an inspection and monitoring fee in a manner and amount as determined by the County Forester.

    G. Violations and Enforcement. If the provisions of this Section are violated, the County Forester may issue a notice of correction. A reasonable time frame within which deficiencies must be corrected shall be indicated on the notice of correction. Should an inspection disclose the removal or encroachment upon the Protected Zone of an Oak Tree in violation of this Specific Plan, the Universal Studios Specific Plan area property owner shall pay $2,700 (as may be adjusted for inflation annually from the effective date of this Specific Plan based upon Section 22.46.2100.D.1.c above) for each such removed or Damaged Oak Tree and shall reimburse the County of Los Angeles Fire Department, Forestry Division for all enforcement efforts necessary to bring the subject property into compliance with this Specific Plan.

(Ord. 2013-0010 § 11, 2013.)