Texas Tree Ordinance Workshop, October 4, 2006

Questions asked at workshop (those in red were not addressed due to lack of time)



1.        Jurisdiction

a.       Does your ordinance or code also prescribe parkland dedication? How does the ordinance work with that?

b.      Are you ordinances enforced equally on public and private property? Is public property exempt?

c.       San Antonio – what gives SA the authority to require tree protection in the ETJ?

d.      How do some cities pass tree ordinances in the ETJ, yet others say it’s illegal to enforce there?

2.        Planning & Zoning

a.       Southlake – is there no regulation on existing residential areas, just new development?

b.      Does P&Z approve the Tree Conservation Plan, along with site plans and plat approval, or separately?

3.        Platting

a.       Southlake – who chooses colors (red, orange, green) on final approved plat?

4.        Site Plans

a.       Does your ordinance set maximum numbers of parking spaces, or does it allow the forester to save trees in parking lots by eliminating spaces?

5.        Variances/Appeals/Exceptions

a.       Are other public entities (schools, universities, city, county, etc.) exempt from tree protection?

6.        Permitting

a.       San Antonio/Round Rock – Both cities have classes of trees that are not to be removed.  What happens in each city when the inevitable strikes (i.e. someone who is uninformed removes a tree?)?

7.        Vesting/State & Local Laws/Property Rights

a.       How does each municipality deal with vested rights?

8.        Tree Sizes

a.       Austin – Is a 19” or larger Chinese tallow tree protected by the City of Austin?

b.      Why have heritage/monarch tree designations?

c.       San Antonio – How did SA arrive at 6” DBH for “protected” status, if any tree can be taken down?

d.      Round Rock– Is designating a monarch tree voluntary? Does the tree owner have the right to NOT list their tree?

9.        Mitigation (second most popular topic)

a.       Is any permitting/mitigation required for homeowners to remove trees of protected size?

b.      How long after project completion do you monitor trees that have been mitigated for?

c.       Austin - Is there a system to check trees after construction to see if they have survived (a year, etc. later)? If the trees fail is mitigation required at that time?

d.      Is there a standard formula that will allow the monetary value of mitigation to increase with inflation?

e.       Round Rock – You stated that removing trees >20” is a 3:1 penalty, but some trees may be overmature or in decline and NEED removal, how do you deal with this?  Does tree survey show trees that are weak/dead/dying?

f.        San Antonio – expand on the formula aspect of SA vs. Austin ordinance?

g.       Round Rock – if 30% of trees can be removed without mitigation, can a developer remove the largest 30%?

h.       On tree replacement plantings, what % of any species is allowed in the planting mix?

i.         Round Rock – why don’t people move trees (especially live oaks) on site, in lieu of mitigation?

10.    Tree Species

a.       Austin – what do you do with invasive “junk” trees (i.e. tallow)? Why count these in the tree preservation ordinance?

b.      How do cities select species to retain or exempt?

c.       Southlake – are you succeeding in saving post oaks?

11.    Tree Surveys (third most popular topic)

a.       Aerial Photos – do aerials work all right for you in the preliminary planning stage?  Are you happy with what you get from them?

b.      Canopy cover survey – are multiple layers of canopy surveyed?  How?

c.       San Antonio – how do know that small trees exist if a site plan is not required?

d.      On new residential development sites (i.e. 1300 acres) do you require a full tree survey?

e.       Is it required that a certified professional complete a tree survey?

f.        Round Rock – you don’t protect hazardous trees do you?

12.    Preservation Standards (most popular topic)

a.       Much of the tree protection ordinance deals with construction.  On construction sites, the best planning is lost by poor site maintenance.  What is the best system to ensure that the development of the site does not disturb the root zones of highly impacted trees?

b.      What do you do when neighborhood associations (HOA) standards conflict with tree preservation and proper care? (I.e. mulch for mature trees under stress vs. turf requirements in yard)

c.       Austin – please identify how the tree ordinance protects private trees on inner-city sites vs. newly plated sites?

d.      Austin – what are survival rates like on trees subject to 4” cut/fill, plus allowing 50% disturbance of CRZ?

e.       Do you permit wrapping the trunks of protected trees with 2 X 4’s and wire?

f.        What type of protective barriers do you use?  Would you allow plastic fencing?

g.       Austin – does the city make additional allowances for mitigation of impacts to trees if construction options like pervious concrete are used? Is that by ordinance or practice & would it be better by ordinance? Is the use of pervious concrete increasing?

h.       Round Rock - What is the size of a monarch tree in Round Rock – 46”? What about canopy protection (i.e. topped trees at Hester’s Crossing)?

i.         San Antonio – Why is there no root protection for residential development?

j.        San Antonio – are you developing using the “tree bank system” (moving trees on site temporarily during construction then moving them back)?

13.    Tree Canopy Cover

a.       San Antonio – Only 25% of the canopy cover is required to be preserved if uderstory is also preserved.  Are there problems with sites that have large amounts of invasive in the understory?

b.      Does any city use American Forests canopy cover standards? Why, why not?

14.    Technical manuals (no questions)

15.    Allies (no questions)

16.    Utility Issues (no questions)

17.    Watershed Protection & Trees (no questions)

18.    Other Topics not Listed

a.       San Antonio – why no residential tree protection?

b.      San Antonio – why did SA want a tree protection ordinance NOT like Austin’s? What were the complaints about Austin’s?

c.       Austin – is pier & beam better than slab? Stem wall cuts roots also

d.      Southlake – Earth Disturbance Ordinance – does this pertain to areas without trees?  What is protected or preserved?


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