In June 2015, the city adopted Sec.46 Division 2 – Tree Preservation and Protection Ordinance in June 2015 to provide better tree preservation and protection. The ordinance requires mitigation in the form of replanting, and when no possible contribution to the Tree Preservation Trust Fund. Prior to the adoption of our code, all tree removals would adhere to the requirements of the county and mitigation was based on the requirements of the county code. The county code is less stringent and did not guarantee that mitigation would take place within the city limits.
In 2016, the Urban Forestry Division initiated the Tree Preservation Program Tree Information Tag as a requirement of the General Permit Conditions. Permit holders are required to attach tree removal tags to trees being removed and or relocated as part of a tree removal permit prior to the approved work being completed. At the time of this policy change, no action was taken to provide extended notification requirements for larger trees such as those defined as specimen trees. Following the removal of the Melaleuca trees in Flamingo Park, the Urban Forestry Division instituted through the permitting process a ten-day notification period for all tree removals or relocations.
It should be noted that the removal or relocation of non-specimen, specimen, and heritage trees as defined within the code are progressively more stringent. Specimen trees are defined as trees with 12” diameter at breast height (DBH). Heritage trees are those trees with the highest level of preservation and mitigation requirements and need to be nominated, reviewed and approved. Currently no trees have been designated as heritage trees, however, a discussion item will be brought before the Finance and Citywide Projects Committee in June together with proposed amendments to the city code to improve tree protection.