Tree Protection Ordinance
Please attend the Hearing in person if possible.
WHEN: August 3rd, 1:00 pm
WHERE: Planning Commission Room, 2550 Ventura Avenue
Staff will be bringing back a draft Tree Protection Ordinance for public comment, and for the county Planning Commission to review and adopt.
The staff has done a lot of good and important work. We support their important work and dedication. Please review the draft Tree Protection Ordinance. The stated goal is to avoid removal of protected trees. This is strong, but it gets weakened in a few important areas.
11 acre oak destruction in uplands of the Laguna de Santa Rosa – legal under old policy and needs to be avoided in the new draft ordinance.
SUGGESTED COMMENTS TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION
1. New language requiring drawings of the site to be submitted showing tree removal, paying some amount of in lieu fees, or replanting trees on site or off will likely not deter deter the worst offenders. Action: We recommend that the county tighten the language around mitigations and in lieu fees so they do not perpetuate the “clearing” loop hole for large land owners and speculators. And we urge county find that removal of o.5 acres or more triggers a discretionary review (initial study and Public Notice).
2. There appears to be an exemption for building affordable housing in “spheres of influence” around urban areas. The risks to trees in urban areas is minimal, but exempting tree removal in “spheres of influence” of urban areas allows the removal of many more trees without mitigation or protection. Action: We recommend tree removal in “speheres of influence” be subject to the Tree Protection Ordinance.
3. Fees that are being contemplated by the county must reflect the reality of the value of trees especially as they are important climate regulators. Tree values are exponentially more than old ordinance stated. Action: Please adopt true mitigation values of trees as currently valued and will be valued in the future using a true value calculator: https://8billiontrees.com/trees/tree-value-calculator/
In conclusion, tree removal, wherever it occurs adds to our shared climate crisis. Tree preservation helps us all. Sonoma County needs to move quickly in the direction of tree preservation.
Draft Ordinance: https://share.sonoma-county.org/link/kexTIs3GKBA/Item%202%20-%20ORD21-0001/PC%20Staff%20Report%20Ordinance%20Updates.pdf
The Staff Report: https://share.sonoma-county.org/link/kexTIs3GKBA/Item%202%20-%20ORD21-0001/PC%20Staff%20Report%20Ordinance%20Updates.pdf
Link for zoom and more information: https://permitsonoma.org/planningcommissionmeetingaugust32023
(Please be aware there is a separate Oak Protection Ordinance that will be an additional separate process and will come back to the Planning Commission in September).
• Attend in person at the above address.
• Attend by zoom at the above link.
• Email before August 3rd your support and concerns.