Public Hearing to be Held on Tree Plan – Submitted by Newport City Hall
The City Council will hold a public hearing on an ordinance and resolution regarding the process for tree planting and removal at its meeting 6:00 P.M. on September 3.
Since 2011, the City of Newport has been recognized as a “Tree City, USA” from the National Arbor Day Foundation. Initial efforts to address various tree issues were initiated with Ordinances No. 2031 and No. 2054.
Ordinance No. 2154 and Resolution No. 3869 address elements of the original tree city effort that were never completed previously. The ordinance and resolution provide for two separate processes to address requests for pruning and removal of trees from the right-of-way. The first process allows City staff to approve permits administratively if a tree needs to be removed because of disease, a safety hazard, impediment to an allowable improvement, (such as a driveway), or because it is dying. All other requests will be referred to a Tree Board for a decision.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee will serve as the Tree Board, with their decisions able to be appealed to the City Council. The ordinance continues to hold property owners responsible for costs related to maintenance and removal of trees within the public right-of-way adjacent to their property. Abatement provisions have been cleaned up to provide for a process to notify property owners when trees need to be removed. If the property owner does not remove the tree, the City can remove the tree and charge the property owner for actual costs, including administrative expenses and costs for posting notice or holding a hearing, when property owners do not address a nuisance or dangerous tree. The ordinance includes a rewrite of Chapter 9.10, which outlines the basic structure of how tree issues will be handled. It will be required that a permit be obtained for tree removal and major pruning of trees within the right-of-way or public property. There will be a process for a private property owner to request permission from the City to remove trees in the right-of-way or public property, with the Engineering Department authorized to act on a request to remove a tree, if it is clearly diseased, blighted, insect-infested, dead, or dying. It also allows the removal of a tree to build allowable improvements in the right-of-way, such as driveway access.
If tree removal is for other reasons, such as maintaining view sheds, solar access and other similar purposes, the City Tree Board will review that request. If it is determined that a tree is being removed for reasons other than safety, disease, or blight by the Engineering Department, and a permit is not issued, property owners within 200 feet of the property would be notified of the Tree Board meeting. This will give adjacent property owners an opportunity to either support or reject the proposed tree removal from City-owned property and/or City right-of-ways. A decision would be made by the Tree Board as to whether the tree could be removed following this public meeting.
Resolution No.3869 contains the City of Newport Tree Manual. This manual addresses where trees can be planted in public right-of-ways, trees that are prohibited from being planted, and the list of acceptable street trees for planting based on small, medium, and large trees. There are also trees that are suitable west of Highway 101, where weather conditions limit the tress that will be successful.
The draft Resolution can be found at https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/attachment/412557/Res._No._3869_-_Adopting_a_Tree_Manual.pdf & https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/attachment/412559/City_of_Newport_-_Tree_Manual_Draft.pdf
The draft Ordinance can be found at https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/attachment/413780/Ordinance_No._2154.pdf & https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/attachment/412551/Exhibit_A_Ordinance_No._2154.pdf