The overall goal of the Heritage Tree Ordinance’s replacement requirement is to ensure continued canopy cover is maintained or increased. Ideally, the replacement tree(s) should replace the removed canopy cover in a period of approximately 15 to 20 years.
The City provides a list of recommended trees in the administrative guidelines, but here are other options:
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Multi-trunk trees, also known as multi-stemmed trees, with a union above the existing grade is measured by the following steps:
Multi-stemmed trees with a union occurring below the existing grade shall be considered individual trees and diameter measurements will be taken for each individual stem to determine trunk diameter – independent of the other stem diameters.
Up to one fourth of canopy and/or roots.
Please refer to the City of Menlo Park Master Fee Schedule for current permit fees.
Yes, but there is no fee. An arborist report is not required if the application is submitted with pictures to show evidence the heritage tree is dead.
In addition to the heritage tree permit application, the applicant must submit a complete arborist report which must be written by a consulting arborist from the City-approved list. A complete arborist report includes:
No. The arborist will evaluate your tree after the application has been submitted. Exception: if the tree is a street tree, the City takes responsibility for the removal.
The City will provide an approved list of qualified consulting arborists, which will be available in July. Permit applications are required to be accompanied by an arborist report prepared by one of those approved arborists. The only exception is under Criterion 1 (the heritage tree is dead) if the application is submitted with pictures, then when no arborist report is required.
The decision making criteria described in Menlo Park Municipal Section 13.24.050(a) are closely tied to industry standards and require the provision of evidence to demonstrate a heritage tree is: dead, dying or poses a significant risk, significantly restricts reasonable economic enjoyment of the property, or interferes with utilities.
Who can appeal is dependent on how the city arborist makes his decision and the appeal period is 15 days after the decision date.
Please refer to the heritage tree ordinance for more details on the decision making criteria or the City website and refer to the Master Fee Schedule for the appeal fee.
Applicants must submit a written statement to explain why they are unable to meet the tree replacement requirement. The city arborist may have to inspect the property and determine whether there is space for the replacement tree. If the written statement is approved, applicants may pay an in lieu fee. For development-related removals, the in lieu fee will be the appraised value of the heritage trees. For non-development projects, the in lieu fee is based on the monetary value of the replacement tree, which correlates with the size of the heritage tree truck diameter. For more information, please review the administrative guidelines.
To the extent permitted by law, the City shall make publicly available all heritage tree permit removal and pruning applications, replacement tree requirements and appeals. Applicants shall submit pictures of the replacement trees once they has be planted in the ground.
For development projects, the appraised value (calculated by City-approved certified arborist) of all heritage trees on site shall be submitted with the arborist report prior to the issuance of any building permit. The tree replacement and trunk formula are common tree appraisal methodologies as described in the most recent edition of the Guide for Plant Appraisal. The appraised values will be used to evaluate the value of replacement trees and any potential violation fees.
A notice of removal posting is not required and nearby property owners will not be noticed. This is because only the permit applicant may appeal the decision.