Trees in Ojai

A resident’s guide to the preservation, cutting, and removal of Oak, Sycamore, Heritage, and other designated mature trees in Ojai.

Click on the links below to access the following:

City of Ojai Community Forest Management Plan City Council Resolution No. 13-48 Designating a Heritage Tree Inventory List
Living Among the Oaks article Ojai Municipal Code Section 4, Chapter 11 Preservation, Cutting, and Removal of Oak, Sycamore, Heritage and Other Designated Mature Trees
Tree Permit Application Find a Certified Arborist
Tree Risk Assessment form

 

Trees Protected Under The Ordinance – Section 4-11.03

  • Heritage Trees: Refers to any tree of any genus, whether a species or hybrid of any size, which is designated as such by a resolution of the City Council based on its historical, cultural, or other value as determined by the City Council. A listing of such trees is available at City Hall.
  • Mature Tree: Refers to any tree species designated as such by a resolution of the City Council based on its historical, cultural or other value as determined by the City Council, and which is equal to or greater than twelve (12″) inches in diameter as measured four and one-half (4-½′) feet above the root crown or, in the case of a tree with more than one (1) trunk, any such tree for which the sum of its two (2) largest trunks equals or is greater than fourteen and one-half (14-½″) inches as measured four and one-half (4-½′) feet above the root crown.
  • Oak Tree: Refers to any single trunked tree of the Quercus genus equal to or greater than eight inches in diameter as measured four and one-half feet above the root crown or, in the case of an oak with more than one trunk, any such tree for which the sum of its two largest trunks equals or is greater than eleven inches as measured four and one-half feet above the root crown.
  • Sycamore Tree: Refers to any tree of the platanus genus equal to or greater than eight inches in diameter as measured four and one-half feet above the root crown or, in the case of a sycamore with more than one trunk, any such tree for which the sum of its two largest trunks equals or is greater than ten inches as measured four and one-half feet above the root crown.

When Permits Are Required – Section 4-11.04

Single-family zoned properties with an existing dwelling:

Under the ordinance a permit shall be required when performing the following on property which is zoned single-family residential:

  • Remove, cut down, destroy or relocate an oak or a sycamore or heritage tree
  • Prune live limbs over four (4″) inches in diameter of an oak or a sycamore or heritage tree
    • If the pruning work is performed by an ISA-certified arborist or under the direct field supervision of an ISA-certified arborist, no arborist’s report shall be necessary and permit fees shall be waived. However, the certified arborist shall complete and submit a permit application with proof of current ISA certification. The certified arborist shall state on the application whether active birds nests are present.
    • If the pruning work is to be performed by a certified tree worker or similar certification deemed acceptable to the Director, a report from a certified arborist is required. The applicant shall  submit the tree report with the application fee. The arborist’s report shall include the number and location of affected trees and the standards to which the pruning shall be conducted to promote the health of the tree. The standards may include, but are not limited to, the maximum size of the limb or branch which may be pruned and the percentage of the tree limbs and branches which may be removed. The report should note if active birds nests are present.
  • Trench, grade, fill, compact or place construction material of any type in the drip line of an oak or a sycamore or heritage tree
  • Remove more than twenty-five (25%) percent of the canopy of an oak, sycamore, or heritage tree

All other vacant and developed properties (other than property which is zoned single-family residential):

In addition to the above all other vacant and developed properties (other than property which is zoned single-family residential) require a permit for:

  • Remove, cut down, destroy or relocate an oak or a sycamore, heritage or mature tree
  • Trench, grade, fill, compact or place construction material of any type in the drip line of an oak or a sycamore, mature or heritage tree
  • Prune live limbs over four (4″) inches in diameter of an oak or a sycamore or heritage tree
  • Remove more than twenty-five (25%) percent of the canopy of an oak, sycamore, heritage or mature tree

Enforcement of Ordinance – Section 4-11.13

Violation; Penalty: Any person who cuts, damages, moves or removes any oak, sycamore, heritage or other designated mature tree within the City, or encroaches into the dripline of such tree, in violation of the ordinance shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction may be punished.

Violation; Restitution: Oak, sycamore, heritage, and other designated trees within the City are valuable assets to the citizens of the Ojai Valley and, as a result of the loss or damage to any of these trees, the public should be recompensed. In addition to penalties, any person who cuts, damages, or removes any tree, in violation of the ordinance, is responsible for property restitution and may be required to do any or all of the following:

  • Replace the oak, sycamore, heritage or other designated mature tree or trees so removed or damaged by the donation of or by replanting two (2) or more of such trees of reasonably equivalent size and value to the tree damaged or removed. The number, size and location of said equivalent replacement tree shall be determined by the Director.
  • Pay double the customary tree permit application fee and provide for replacement of the damaged or removed trees in an amount that is double their value using the appraisal standards of the ISA or other method of valuation acceptable to the Director.

Why The City of Ojai Has A Tree Ordinance

The City of Ojai adopted a Tree Ordinance in order to recognize oak, sycamore, heritage, and other mature trees as having significant historical, aesthetic, and ecological importance, and to create favorable conditions for the preservation and propagation of this unique, irreplaceable plant heritage for the benefit of current and future residents of the City. The City’s General Plan Conservation and Land use Elements specifically calls for the preservation of oaks and sycamores “within and adjacent to the community.”

What Trees Are Protected By The Ordinance?

Oak, Sycamore, Heritage, and Mature Trees. A permit is required for removal and relocation, or for trenching, grading, and construction activities in the dripline, of any of the above mentioned trees. In some cases, a permit is also required for pruning. Mature Trees on residential properties are not protected under The Ordinance.

To obtain a complete copy of The City’s Tree Protection Ordinance (Ordinance No. 738), please contact The City of Ojai directly at: Community Development Department, 401 S. Ventura Street, Ojai or call (805) 646-5581.