10.132 Tree Removal Applications with DIA Waivers


(a) Tree removal application and posting.

(1) Except as provided in this subsection, a responsible party must post either an approved tree removal application in accordance with this section or a building permit in a conspicuous place at the entrances to the tree removal property, before removing or seriously injuring a protected tree on that tree removal property.

(2) A tree removal application must be posted in a conspicuous place at the entrance to the tree removal property in conjunction with a demolition permit or a grading permit.

(3) For trees removed from public right-of-way, posting of the required tree removal application is not required.

(b) Application for review.

An application required under this section must be filed with the building official on a form furnished by the city for that purpose. The application must include the following:

(1) General. The name, address, telephone number, and signature of the applicant. The applicant may be the owner of the tree removal property or a contracted agent acting for the owner

(2) Owner information. The name, address, and telephone number of each tree removal property owner.

(3) Tree removal property information. The street address, zoning district, and any overlay district of the tree removal property.

(4) Tree survey or forest stand delineation. One of the following must be provided.

(A) A tree survey that shows the location, diameter, and name (both common and scientific) of all trees on the tree removal property (trees in close proximity that all have a diameter of less than eight inches may be designated as a "group of trees" with only the number noted), or an estimate of the total diameter inches of protected trees, calculated and documented using a tree sampling method determined by the building official to be reasonably accurate. The survey does not have to be prepared by a registered surveyor, architect, or landscape architect. Trees not proposed for removal or serious injury, or located further than 20 feet from proposed construction activity need not be shown on the survey unless the building official determines it would help evaluation of the application.

(B) A forest stand delineation (“FSD”) used for the purpose of calculating the total square footage of forest canopy coverage of building sites and providing an ecological assessment of a property. An FSD must be approved by the building official. The building official shall determine the information required to be provided in an FSD. The FSD is applicable to and may be used to calculate:

(i) Tree canopy cover assessment for old-field tree stands and undeveloped lots, two acres or larger, in early succession stages when:

(aa) a stand, or partial stand, with a minimum of 60 percent Class 3, eastern red cedar, or unprotected trees is located in a proposed development impact area;

(bb) the forest stand delineation excludes areas within 50 feet of a 100-year floodplain, 50 feet of a wetland, 50 feet of an escarpment zone, or 150 feet of a stream bank;

(cc) the trees in the stand, or partial stand, is designated in an age class of 60 years or less by the building official based on site and historical data; and

(dd) the stand is assessed and surveyed using tree sampling methods which provide general species quantity and tree size determinations based on the use of quadrat plots, a transect line sampling method, point-quarter sampling method, or other method approved by the building official. (REVIEW: FIREMON sampling methods for information on Tree Data sampling.)

(ii) Tree canopy cover credit for single family and duplex construction.

(iii) Tree canopy cover assessment of development impact areas in conjunction with sustainable development incentives.

(iv) Tree canopy cover assessment on properties five acres or larger with institutional and community service uses or recreation uses when the measured tree canopy coverage is the baseline for determining the number of trees required for replacement when using the canopy cover replacement calculation for legacy trees in Section 51A-10.134(c)(7).

(v) Forest analysis for baseline documentation to create a conservation easement.

(vi) Tree canopy cover assessment where trees are removed without authorization.

(5) All permits and approvals related to floodplain, wetland, or escarpment regulations required by city departments or other agencies.

(6) Any other reasonable and pertinent information that the building official determines to be necessary for review.

(c) Form of approval of tree removal application.

A tree removal application is not approved until it has been signed by the building official.

(d) Separate offense for each tree removed or seriously injured without a permit.

A responsible party commits a separate violation of this section for each tree removed or seriously injured without authorization by a building permit or approved tree removal application.

(e) Decision of the building official.

The building official shall deny a tree removal application if the removal or serious injury is not in the public interest. This decision must be based on the following factors:

(1) The feasibility of relocating a proposed improvement that would require the removal or serious injury of the tree.

(2) The cost of preserving the tree.

(3) Whether the lot or tract would comply with this article after the removal or serious injury.

(4) Whether the removal or serious injury is contrary to the public health, safety, or welfare.

(5) The impact of the removal or serious injury on the urban and natural environment.

(6) Whether an economically viable use of the property will exist if the application is denied.

(7) Whether the tree is worthy of preservation, is a significant tree, or a historic tree.

(8) Whether the tree is diseased or has a short remaining life expectancy.

(9) The effect of the removal or serious injury on erosion, soil moisture retention, flow of surface waters, and drainage systems.

(10) The need for buffering of residential areas from the noise, glare, and visual effects of nonresidential uses.

(11) Whether a landscape plan has been approved by the board of adjustment, city plan commission, or city council.

(12) Whether the tree interferes with a utility service.

(13) Whether the tree is near existing or proposed structures.

(14) Whether the proposed mitigation for tree removal or serious injury is sufficient.

(f) Development impact area waiver.

Except as provided in this section, if tree removal is authorized by a building permit for construction of a main structure, a property owner may apply for a waiver of the tree replacement requirements in Section 51A-10.134. The waiver applies to protected trees in the development impact area on properties not listed in Sections 51A-10.131 and 51A-10.134(b), all single family and duplex permits, and properties excepted from Article X landscape requirements in Section 51A-10.121.

(1) Qualifications. The owner must demonstrate a good faith effort to design the building project to preserve the most, the biggest, and the best trees, by providing the following:

(A) a tree survey and a tree protection plan implemented as required by this division; and

(B) proof of consultation with a qualified consulting arborist or landscape architect for planning and implementing best management practices to reduce the negative impacts of construction on protected trees before submitting the building permit for approval.

(2) Tree removal property waiver requirements.

(A) Tree removal properties two acres and larger. All tree removal properties two acres and larger must:

(i) meet the qualification requirements of Section 51A-10.135(d)(1) for sustainable development incentives;

(ii) reduce mitigable inches of protected trees on the tree removal property by a minimum of 50 percent through application of tree canopy coverage credit using Sustainable Development Incentives procedures; and

(iii) develop and implement the sustainable landscape plan and tree preservation plan in Section 51A-10.135(d)(4).

(B) Tree removal properties less than two acres. The owner must meet all qualifications in Section 51A-10.132(f)(1).

(3) Waivers. The building official shall waive tree replacement requirements for protected trees within the development impact area if the building official determines that all requirements in this subsection are met.

(A) Limitations. Except as provided in this subsection, the waiver is limited to protected trees in the development impact area on the tree removal property growing within the building footprint, minimum required parking areas, driveways, sidewalks, utility easements, detention areas, areas of grading, excavation areas, and staging areas necessary for construction.

(B) Waiver calculations. Except as provided in this subparagraph, the number of inches to be waived is determined by providing the total number of inches of protected trees in the applicable locations in the development impact area.

(i) The building official shall not waive mitigation of protected trees for non-required off-street parking spaces. The number of inches waived must be reduced on a pro-rata basis determined by the percentage of non-required parking spaces provided in the parking area. (Example: If the number of parking spaces required is 450; and 521 spaces are being provided on the lot, then the tree mitigation requirements shall not be waived for the 71 excess parking spaces. [71/450=15.78%]).

(ii) The building official shall not waive mitigation of protected trees for an area greater than 70 percent of the tree removal property. Trees must be mitigated on a pro-rata basis if the development impact area exceeds 70 percent of the tree removal property. (Example: If the development impact area is 85 percent of the tree removal property, 15 percent of the trees removed must be mitigated, [0.85-0.70=0.15].

(C) Significant trees. Any significant tree on the tree removal property removed or seriously injured must be replaced and is not eligible for this mitigation waiver.

(D) Primary natural area. The development impact area waiver may not include trees within a primary natural area.

(E) Special exception. A tree removal property with a waiver must fully comply with the minimum landscape requirements without a special exception.

(F) Completion. No waiver is complete until the tree removal property passes a final tree mitigation inspection or landscape inspection and obtains a permanent certificate of occupancy.

(G) Denial. The building official shall deny a development impact area waiver if the building official determines that the owner is in violation of any of the applicable requirements of this division during the period between initial review and final tree mitigation or landscape inspection. If a waiver is denied, the required tree replacement must be completed in accordance with Section 51A-10.134.