Tree Removal - Property Owner (Prohibited Trees)

A. Introduction

Tree removal is an acceptable management option in parks and other city property when required for health, safety, protection of infrastructure and ensuring that the right sized tree and species is planted in correct locations.  City Council is looking to approve a Property Owner Requested Tree Removal and Replacement Policy.  The policy would authorize staff to approve requests from property owners to have a tree in the planting strip adjacent to their property removed.  Trees eligible for removal must be a City street tree and one of the species identified on our “Prohibited Trees” list in the Urban Forest Management Plan.  The policy is a one to one removal and replacement program so that it has a neutral effect on the urban forest population.  

The cost for the removal of the trees are borne by the city. Purchasing a replacement tree is not optional and the applicant is responsible for the cost of the replacement tree and the associated materials and labor related to the planting of the replacement.  The replacement cost is set at a total of $300 and both the request and the payment must be submitted prior to removal. The funds are placed in a dedicated tree account and are used exclusively for the costs associated with the purchase and planting of the new tree.

B. Requests

Property owners may request a Tree Removal and Replacement Application from the Longview Parks Department. If the resident applicant is not the property owner, he/she must have approval in writing from the property owner allowing for the removal and submit such along with the application. The requesting party must be the adjacent resident or property owner. The form will explain the removal program and give alternative options to removing the tree. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Parks Manager prior to submitting the request should they have any questions or concerns. The form along with the tree replacement fee must be received by the parks department in order to activate the scheduling of the tree removal.

C. Process & Priorities

The Parks Department will begin taking requests on a quarterly basis starting January 1 – March 31, April 1 – June 30, July 1 – September 30, and October 1 – December 31.  Annually the department will grant a total of 30 removals each year from property owner requests.

The restriction on the number of property owner requested removals allows the tree crew to continue to maintain the health of the urban forest through required maintenance and other removals and replacements.  If all 30 requests have been granted, property owners will need to reapply the following January.

At the end of each quarter, the department evaluate the requests received.  They will reviewed in the order in which they were submitted.  During each quarter’s submittal, priority will be given to tree request removals that are causing most hardscape damage (i.e. curb and sidewalk).

D. Prohibited Trees


Trees on the unlawful to plant and approved for removal:

Poplar

Conifers

Mulberry

Sycamore

Weeping Willow

Box Elder

Ginko (Female)

Flowering Plum

Cottonwood

Catalpa

Hawthorn

Crabapple

Kwansan Cherry

Birch

Horse Chestnut

Sweet Gum

E. Procedure for Tree Removal

Within five (5) days of receiving the “Tree Removal Request Form – Property Owner” and the tree replacement fee, the Parks Manager or his/her designee will contact the applicant to discuss the removal process and any applicable alternatives. A site inspection will take place to determine if there is any health or safety related issue with the tree that would warrant its removal regardless of the request. Finding such would release the applicant from having to pay for the replacement tree.

The removal will consist of the following steps:

Initial:

  1. Determine if the tree is a Prohibited Tree Specie
  2. Evaluate for hardscape damage
  3. Fall under the 30 tree removals per year

Removal

  1. Downing of the tree
  2. Removal of the stump
  3. Adding any required soil and grass seed to the old tree site.
  4. Planting of a new tree adjacent to the old tree site. Should this not be possible due to the proximity to other existing trees or hardscape, or due to site distance problems, the replacement tree will be planted at another site on city property.
  5. The homeowner will be expected to water the tree as needed during the twelve months following its planting. The replacement tree species will be selected from the approved street tree list as designated in the tree management plan. The applicant may request a specific tree from this list, and the Parks Manager will grant the request if possible and only if a specific species has not already been determined for the particular street. Planting of street trees only takes place from late fall to early spring therefore a delay from the time the requested tree is removed to the time a replacement tree is planted may occur.