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    22.    
City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 01/14/2020  

SUBJECT:
MUNICIPAL CODE AMENDMENT 19MCA10 - CHAPTER 16.90 TREE PRESERVATION; AND TREE REMOVAL, RELOCATION, OR REPLACEMENT FOR PROTECTED TREES ON PRIVATE AND CITY OWNED PROPERTY ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY
RECOMMENDATION:
  1. Introduce Ordinance entitled:
    AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHINO HILLS, CALIFORNIA AMENDING (19MCA10) TITLE 16 (DEVELOPMENT CODE) OF THE CHINO HILLS MUNICIPAL CODE CHAPTER 16.90 TREE PRESERVATION AND DETERMINING THAT THE MUNICIPAL CODE AMENDMENT IS EXEMPT FROM REVIEW UNDER THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT.  
     
  2. Approve the updated Removal, Relocation, or Replacement of Protected Trees on Private and City Owned Property Administrative Policy and determine that is it not a "project" under CEQA
BACKGROUND/ANALYSIS:
Chapter 16.90 Tree Preservation
 
On September 11, 2012, the City Council adopted Chapter 16.90, Tree Preservation, an ordinance that addresses the preservation and protection of native and heritage trees on private undeveloped property. This ordinance defines protected trees and outlines the required process for removing or relocating a protected tree.
 
Based on staff’s experience in implementing the tree ordinance and processing tree removal permit applications, staff proposes minor revisions to the ordinance to provide clarity within the chapter. The proposed code revisions are redlined and attached as Exhibit “B”. Exhibit “A” is a clean version of the proposed chapter. Additionally, attached as Exhibit “C”, is the current adopted Chapter 16.90 Tree Preservation. The proposed minor revisions include:
  • Add definition to clarify Fire Hazard Overlay District is a City adopted map;
  • Include a “Destroy” definition to address excessive tree pruning which may risk the health of a protected tree;
  • Clarify Tree Permit Application requirement of showing the location of all trees within the proposed development area of a project site; and
  • Clarify existing provisions of the ordinance and make minor adjustments to its language, as shown in Exhibit "B".
 

Tree Removal, Relocation, or Replacement of Protected Trees on Private and City Owned Property Administrative Policy
 
In 1994, the City of Chino Hills adopted an Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual to reflect the City's organizational structure that existed at that time. Policies within the manual generally describe the roles of various City officials and departments in implementing various City functions and responsibilities. Examples of Administrative Policies include: Conduct for Public Hearings; Computer and Network Use; Street Naming; and Debt Management.

The proposed updated administrative policy regarding tree removal, relocation, or replacement, further clarifies guidance and is attached as Exhibit “D” to this staff report.
 
PLANNING COMMISSION REVIEW
 
On November 19, 2019, staff presented to Planning Commission the code amendment to Chapter 16.90 and the updated Removal, Relocation, or Replacement of Protected Trees on Private and City Owned Property Administrative Policy. The Planning Commission had minor comments and edits for further clarification of the amendment and administrative policy. One public speaker, Al Matta, raised concerns about fire risk of City-owned dead trees. The Planning Commission adopted a resolution recommending that the City Council adopt Municipal Code Amendment 19MCA10, by a unanimous vote, 5-0.

PUBLIC COMMENTS
 
Notice of the public hearing was published in the Chino Hills Champion on January 4, 2020. As of the writing of this report, staff has not received any public comments concerning the proposed Municipal Code Amendment.
ENVIRONMENTAL (CEQA) REVIEW:
In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (California Public Resources Code §§ 21000, et seq., “CEQA”) and CEQA regulations (14 California Code of Regulations §§ 15000, et seq.), the proposed Ordinance has been determined to be exempt from CEQA for the following reasons: (1) it will not result in a direct or reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment (14 Cal. Code Regs. § 15060(c)(2)), (2) there is no possibility that the ordinance may have a significant effect on the environment (14 Cal. Code Regs. § 15061(b)(3)), and (3) the Ordinance does not constitute a “project” as defined in the CEQA Guidelines (14 Cal. Code Regs. § 15378). 

In accordance with CEQA Guidelines Section 15378(b)(5), the proposed update to the Removal, Relocation, or Replacement of Protected Trees on Private and City Owned Property Administrative Policy is not a “project” under CEQA as it is an administrative activity of government and will not result in a direct or indirect physical change to the environment.
FISCAL IMPACT:
There is no fiscal impact with this item.
 
REVIEWED BY OTHERS:
The City Attorney has reviewed this item. 
Attachments
Ordinance
Exhibit A - Proposed Ch 16.90 Tree Preservation
Exhibit B - Proposed Chapter 16.90 Tree Preservation (redlined version)
Exhibit C - Current Chapter 16.90 Tree Preservation
Exhibit D - Admin Policy 3.5 Tree Removal, Relocation, Replacement Policy

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