Tree maintenance and removals are a complex topic. There is an important safety need to remove aging and dying trees, and the City’s tree ordinance/policy needs to be updated to reflect the current state of the urban forest. The trees planted throughout Pacifica are managed in accordance with the city's current ordinances and policies, including the Heritage Tree Ordinance and the Tree Maintenance and Preservation Ordinance. These have been in effect since 1990 and 2006, respectively.

The City of Pacifica contracted with Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) to evaluate and draft recommendations for updating these ordinances to reflect the current state of the urban forest and community values. The process will evaluate the definition and preservation requirements for heritage trees, tree removal policies and processes, and mitigation policies. Community engagement will help guide the development of revised policies, processes, and ordinance revision. In addition, the City does not have a vegetation management or urban forest management plan, which would help the City obtain grants from California state agencies to fund tree program components, such as tree inventories or urban reforestation. This is also important for better understanding fuel management, which is associated with fire safety. 

DRG will be analyzing the City’s current tree ordinances and benchmarking these with at least eight (8) other cities. This comparison will help the City determine what updates could be incorporated into the existing ordinances. The update to the ordinances will require public engagement of all stakeholders. During these meetings, DRG will provide presentations and will share recommendations and expected outcomes for the updated ordinances. These meetings will include public meetings, combined Parks, Beaches, and Recreation (PB&R) Commission, Beautification Advisory Commission (BAC), Planning Commission meetings, and City Council meetings. During these public meetings, DRG will also compile any comments and validate them for incorporation into an initial draft of the updated ordinances. These public engagement events will be interactive (continue scrolling for meeting information). 

Following the public engagement process, the initial draft of the updated Heritage Tree Ordinance and Tree Maintenance and Preservation Ordinance will be reviewed by the City staff and City Attorney’s office. The draft will be presented to the City Council and a staff report prepared to introduce an ordinance to amend the applicable sections of the Pacifica Municipal Code. DRG will also ensure the process complies with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 

An inventory of public trees was completed in Spring 2021 and the project includes developing a framework for the maintenance and management of public street trees, including best practices for maintaining different tree species, work planning, and enhancing tree canopy within available resources based on this inventory. All recommendations will be supported by best management practices of the International Society of Arborculture, the Tree Care Industry Association, and other safety organizations, such as Cal-OSHA. DRG will analyze and assesses the trees and the canopy to inform the City of the condition of the street trees, allowing DRG to develop a focus on the structure, function, and value of Pacifica’s street trees.

The right sidebar shows the tentative schedule of the project. 


 

Question title

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Community Meeting Poll Questions

Question title

Should the definition of "heritage tree" be more specifically defined?

Yes
87%
Not sure
13%
No
0%
Closed to responses | 15 Responses

Question title

Should there be an additional definition for a "protected tree"?

Yes
77%
Not sure
15%
No
8%
Closed to responses | 13 Responses

Question title

Should the City adopt the industry standard for measuring tree diameter at 54-inch above ground?

Yes
69%
Not sure
23%
No
8%
Closed to responses | 13 Responses

Question title

Should an arborist report be required when a request for removal of a protected tree is based on health, pest/pathogen, and/or when a tree is a heritage tree?

Yes
76%
Not sure
18%
No
6%
Closed to responses | 17 Responses

Question title

What revisions should be made (if any) to the notification process?

Website notification
67%
300-foot notification radius
47%
Other
20%
No revisions are needed
13%
Closed to responses | 15 Responses

Question title

Should staff study ways to de-incentivize illegal tree removals?

Yes
94%
No
6%
Not sure
6%
Closed to responses | 17 Responses

Question title

Should staff review establishment of a Tree Fund?

Yes
88%
No
6%
Not sure
6%
Closed to responses | 17 Responses

Question title

Should Pacifica require a 2:1 replacement for the removal of an otherwise healthy heritage/protected/City tree?

Yes
73%
No
13%
Not sure
13%
Closed to responses | 15 Responses

Question title

Should staff review establishing a process for maintenance of replacement trees?

Yes
88%
No
6%
Not sure
6%
Closed to responses | 16 Responses

Question title

Should staff review establishing in-lieu fees for trees not replaced on-site?

Yes
88%
No
6%
Not sure
6%
Closed to responses | 16 Responses

Question title

What is your level of satisfaction with the current care of street trees?

Somewhat dissatisfied
59%
Unsure/Need more information
18%
Somewhat satisfied
12%
Completely dissatisfied
12%
Completely satisfied
0%
Closed to responses | 17 Responses
complete
complete
Spring 2021

Benchmarking Tree Ordinances: Tree ordinances from comparison cities are being reviewed to benchmark with Pacifica's existing tree ordinances. 

Public Tree Inventory: An inventory of all public trees along streets, in parks, and at city facilities will be collected by certified arborists in May and June 2021.

 

live
live
Summer 2021 - Winter 2022

Community Engagement: Pacifica's community members and other stakeholders will have opportunities to participate in discussion about ordinance revisions and street tree maintenance. More information will follow on these upcoming events: 

  • Public meetings
  • Community pop-ups
  • Online survey 

Public Tree Resource Analysis: Davey Resource Group will provide a summary report highlighting the structure, composition, and benefits provided by the public tree resource.

complete
complete
September 28, 2021 - Joint Study Session: Planning Commission; Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission; and Beautification Advisory Committee Meeting Joint Study Session: Beautification Advisory Committee

This meeting was held via Zoom on Tuesday, September 28th, 2021 at 6:00 pm. The meeting included a report regarding the Heritage Tree Ordinance update, questions and discussion with Commissions/Committees, public comment on the study sessio, and final comments from Commissions/Committees. 

planned
planned
Fall 2021 - Winter 2022

Heritage Tree Ordinance (revised) DRAFT - review period

Tree Mainenance and Preservation Ordinance (revised) DRAFT - review period

Framework for Street Tree Maintenance: Policy document for managing and maintaining the City's street trees to enhance tree canopy.

planned
planned
Spring 2022

The project completion date is scheduled for Spring 2022. Deliverables include: 

  • Updated Ordinance language for Heritage Tree Ordinance and Tree Maintenance and Preservation Ordinance
  • Public tree inventory and resource analysis
  • Framework for Street Tree Maintenance

In the future, the City of Pacifica's goal is to continue enhancing the urban forest programming with an Urban Forest Master Plan.