Leon Valley
TX

Ordinance
Ordinance 17-062

Discussion, Presentation, and Possible Action to Approve an Ordinance Amending Chapter 13 Tree Preservation, Article 13.01 General Provisions, Article 13.02 Tree Preservation Ordinance, Division 3. Requirements and Restrictions, Section 13.02.074 Preservation Requirements, 1) Small Trees, 2) Medium Trees, 3) Large Trees; and 6) Mitigation maximum; Section 13.02.077 Mitigation in Lieu of Replacement (b) and (d); and Section 13.02.078 Penalties for Unauthorized Removal of Small, Medium, and Large Trees.

Information

Department:Public WorksSponsors:
Category:Amendment

Item Discussion

PURPOSE

 

To consider amending Chapter 14 Tree Preservation, Article 13.01 General Provisions, Article 13.02 Tree Preservation Ordinance, Division 3. Requirements and Restrictions, Section 13.02.074 Preservation requirements, 1) Small trees, 2) Medium trees, 3) Large trees; and 6) Mitigation maximum; Section 13.02.077 Mitigation in lieu of replacement (b) and (d); and Section 13.02.078 Penalties for Unauthorized Removal of Small, Medium, and Large Trees, to allow a lesser number of replacement trees, allow a higher percentage of tree mitigation by “fee in lieu of”, to increase the diameter of trees that are to be preserved; and to correct a conflict in the code.

 

#1 - Division 3. Requirements and Restrictions, Section 13.02.074 Preservation requirements, 1) Small trees, 2) Medium trees, 3) Large trees; and 6) Mitigation maximum:

 

This section establishes the minimum diameter of small, medium, large, and heritage trees that must be preserved or mitigated. It currently requires that for each small or medium tree being removed at least two trees must be replaced. For large trees, it states that at least three trees must be replaced (definitions state a small tree is one that is between 4” and 7” in diameter, a medium tree is between 8” and 12”, and a large tree is between 12” and 24” in diameter).

 

This creates a problem on an already heavily treed vacant lot. For example, a developer of a vacant lot needed to remove fifty-four (54) trees from the center of his lot to construct a building and related parking areas. He was able to leave seven (7) trees around the perimeter. According to the code, he would have to replace these trees, based on their size, with 121 trees. There was no room on the lot for this many trees. While we don’t want a developer to be able to clear cut the land, we can’t make it impossible for any development to occur.

 

Other city codes only require replacement of trees that are over eight (8) inches in diameter. In addition, research has shown that these codes only require a replacement ratio of one replacement tree for each one removed. The proposed amendment would remove the requirement to mitigate trees under eight (8) inches in diameter and lower the replacement ratio to one tree for each medium or large tree being removed.

 

Number 6) of this section allows mitigation of up to 20% of medium and large trees and up to 25% of small trees. The recommendation is to remove the reference to small trees and allow up to 25% mitigation for the medium and large trees, unless the site contains insufficient land area to accommodate this many trees, then up to 50% could be mitigated.

 

#2 - Section 13.02.077 Mitigation in lieu of replacement (b) and (d)

 

Section (b) mandates that only 20% of trees may be mitigated by paying a fee in lieu of planting. Several ordinances allow between 50% - 80% of trees to be mitigated by paying a fee. The proposed amendment would allow for up to 25% of trees to be mitigated, unless the site contains insufficient land area to plant the required total number of replacement trees, then the “cash in lieu” amount could be increased up to 50% of the required replacement amount. The revision also includes that a certified arborist would make a written determination of the maximum number of replacement trees that may be planted on any given lot. This would allow a developer more room to develop a lot, but also assure a healthy city-wide tree canopy, as they would be allowed to pay a fee per diameter inch of tree otherwise required to be replanted. The money would be used to plant trees on City-owned properties. This revision also removes the conflict between this and the previous section.

 

Section (d) sets the per diameter inch cash value of replacement trees at $50. It is proposed to increase this amount to $100.

 

#3 - Section 13.02.078 Penalties for Unauthorized Removal of Small, Medium, and Large Trees

 

This section requires that a person pay a penalty for the removal or injury to small, medium, and large trees, due to a failure to follow required tree protection measures such that the tree dies. It is recommended to remove “small” trees from this section.

 

 

SEE LEON VALLEY

 

Social Equity - Allowing for responsible and reasonable development benefits all citizens by assuring a healthy economy, while preserving as much of the city-wide tree canopy as possible.

 

Economic Development - Recognizing the need for a viable and strong economy and providing for variances allows the City to continue to build a healthy business community, while still providing an aesthetic appeal to its citizens and to potential customers by requiring the planting of trees.

 

Environmental Stewardship - Preserving existing trees is critical to our survival as they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen - trees also reduce surface temperatures by breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves.

 

FISCAL IMPACT

 

The per-diameter-inch cash value for replacement trees would be $100.00 per caliper inch tree. The amount collected will depend on how many and what size of tree is being mitigated. The funds must be used to:

 

·              Pay for the planting and maintenance of trees, the funding of tree preservation and planting programs within the city; and/or

·              To support supplemental landscape plantings in public areas of the city; and/or

·              Acquire wooded property that shall remain in a naturalistic state in perpetuity

 

Document Comments

RECOMMENDATION

 

On September 11, 2017, the Tree advisory Board recommended approval of the proposed amendments to Chapter 13 Tree Preservation.

 

Body

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE LEON VALLEY CODE OF ORDINANCES CHAPTER 13 TREE PRESERVATION, ARTICLE 13.01 GENERAL PROVISIONS, ARTICLE 13.02 TREE PRESERVATION ORDINANCE, DIVISION 3. REQUIREMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS, SECTION 13.02.074 PRESERVATION REQUIREMENTS, 1) SMALL TREES, 2) MEDIUM TREES, 3) LARGE TREES, AND 6) MITIGATION MAXIMUM; SECTION 13.02.077 MITIGATION IN LIEU OF REPLACEMENT (b) AND (d); AND SECTION 13.02.078 PENALTIES FOR UNAUTHORIZED REMOVAL OF SMALL, MEDIUM, AND LARGE TREES, TO ALLOW A LESSER NUMBER OF REPLACEMENT TREES, ALLOW A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF TREE MITIGATION, TO INCREASE THE DIAMETER OF TREES THAT ARE TO BE PRESERVED, AND TO CORRECT A CONFLICT IN THE CODE.

 

WHEREAS, it is the overall goal of the City of Leon Valley to promote environmental sustainability, while maintaining a healthy economy; and 

 

WHEREAS, the Code’s current tree mitigation requirements make it impossible to develop an already heavily treed vacant lot; and

 

WHEREAS, it is necessary to resolve the conflict between the mitigation maximum of Section 13.02.074 and Section 13.02.077; and 

 

WHEREAS, it is necessary to remove "small trees" from Section 13.02.078 to remain consistent with the Code as amended; and

 

WHEREAS,  it is now City Council's desire to amend Sections 13.02.074, 13.02.077 and 13.02.078 to allow a lesser number of replacement trees and a higher percentage of tree mitigation, increase the diameter of trees that are to be preserved, and to correct a conflict in the Code; NOW THEREFORE,

 

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LEON VALLEY, TEXAS: 

 

Section 1.              That Chapter 13 Tree Preservation, Article 13.01 General Provisions, Article 13.02 Tree Preservation Ordinance, Division 3. Requirements and Restrictions, Section 13.02.074 Preservation requirements, 1) Small trees, 2) Medium trees, 3) Large trees; and 6) Mitigation maximum are hereby amended as follows:

 

1) Small trees: This subsection is deleted in its entirety.

 

2) Medium trees: For each tree removed, one tree of six (6) or more inches in diameter must be planted within each platted lot, excluding right of way and easements

 

3) Large trees: For each tree removed, one tree of eight (8) or more inches in diameter must be planted within each platted lot, excluding right of way and easements

 

6) Mitigation maximum: Up to 25% of all required trees may be mitigated rather than preserved, unless insufficient land area exists to plant the required total caliper width of replacement trees as defined in this section, then the “cash in lieu” amount described above may be increased up to 50% of the required tree replacement amount. A certified arborist shall make a written determination of the maximum total caliper width of replacement trees that may be planted on the site.

 

Section 2. That Chapter 13 Tree Preservation, Article 13.01 General Provisions, Article 13.02 Tree Preservation Ordinance, Division 3. Requirements and Restrictions, Section 13.02.077 Mitigation in lieu of replacement (b) and (d), are hereby amended as follows:

 

(b) This provision is limited to 25% of the required tree replacement, unless insufficient land area exists to plant the required total caliper width of replacement trees as defined in this section, then the “cash in lieu” amount described above may be increased up to 50% of the required tree replacement amount. A certified arborist shall make a written determination of the maximum total caliper width of replacement trees that may be planted on the site.

 

(d) The per-diameter-inch cash value for replacement trees and plantings is $100 per caliper inch tree. The city shall maintain a record of the current cash value of replacement trees and plantings.

 

Section 3. That Chapter 13 Tree Preservation, Article 13.01 General Provisions, Article 13.02 Tree Preservation Ordinance, Division 3. Requirements and Restrictions, Section 13.02.078 Penalties for Unauthorized Removal of Small, Medium, and Large Trees, is hereby amended as follows:

 

Section 13.02.078 Penalties for unauthorized removal of medium, large, and heritage trees

 

If any medium, large, or heritage trees are removed from any real property, or injured due to failure to follow required tree protection measures such that the tree (s) die or may be reasonably expected to die, the city shall have authority to enact any or all of the following administrative and civil penalties on the developer and/or owner of the property:

 

Section 4.              This ordinance is effective immediately upon passage by four (4) affirmative votes; otherwise it is effective on the tenth day after passage hereof.

Meeting History

Sep 19, 2017 6:00 PM  City Council Regular Meeting

Interim Director of Community Development Melinda Moritz presented this item for Council consideration to amend Chapter 14 Tree Preservation, Article 13.01 General Provisions, Article 13.02 Tree Preservation Ordinance, Division 3. Requirements and Restrictions, Section 13.02.074 Preservation requirements, 1) Small trees, 2) Medium trees, 3) Large trees; and 6) Mitigation maximum; Section 13.02.077 Mitigation in lieu of replacement (b) and (d); and Section 13.02.078 Penalties for Unauthorized Removal of Small, Medium, and Large Trees, to allow a lesser number of replacement trees, allow a higher percentage of tree mitigation by “fee in lieu of”, to increase the diameter of trees that are to be preserved; and to correct a conflict in the Code.

Interim Director of Community Development Moritz concluded the presentation adding that the fiscal impact would be that the per-diameter-inch cash value for replacement trees would be $100.00 per caliper inch tree. The amount collected will depend on how many and what size of tree is being mitigated. The funds must be used to: Pay for the planting and maintenance of trees, the funding of tree preservation and planting programs within the city; and/or to support supplemental landscape plantings in public areas of the city; and/or acquire wooded property that shall remain in a naturalistic state in perpetuity.

A motion was made by Council Member Belinda Ealy and seconded by Council Member David Jordan to approve the ordinance Amending Chapter 13 Tree Preservation, Article 13.01 General Provisions, Article 13.02 Tree Preservation Ordinance, Division 3. Requirements and Restrictions, Section 13.02.074 Preservation Requirements, 1) Small Trees, 2) Medium Trees, 3) Large Trees; and 6) Mitigation maximum; Section 13.02.077 Mitigation in Lieu of Replacement (b) and (d); and Section 13.02.078 Penalties for Unauthorized Removal of Small, Medium, and Large Trees as presented.

RESULT:ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:David Edwards, Council Place 1
SECONDER:David Jordan, Council Place 5
AYES:Benny Martinez, David Edwards, Belinda Ealy, David Jordan
EXCUSED:Monica Alcocer

Discussion