OAK TREE PRESERVATION
Oak tree removal requires submittal of an Arborist Report (view list of City Council Approved Arborists) and City Council Approval. Download an Oak Tree Removal Permit Application or obtain one from the Planning Division. The application and an Arborist Report (Oak Evaluation Guidelines) are required when a property-owner is proposing to remove an oak tree that is 6 inches or greater in diameter as measured at 4.5 feet above ground level. Call (805) 237-3970 for further information.
Oak tree trimming requires a permit from the Public Works Department whenever trimming oak tree branches 6 inches or greater in diameter on vacant, undeveloped sites in conjunction with a building permit. A permit is not required for developed private property trimming IF there is no new construction or other development planned or occurring. For a trimming permit or questions, contact Public Works at (805) 237-3861.
Why does the City have regulations regarding oak trees?
The regulations are intended to promote preservation of oak trees to maintain the heritage and character of the City of El Paso de Robles (The Pass of the Oaks) as well as preserve the Citys beauty and unique identity.
As revised by the City Council on August 6, 2002, the Oak Tree Preservation Regulations:
- Designate the Critical Root Zone (CRZ) as the area in which care should be
taken to avoid damage to the root system of oak trees. The CRZ is an area that is
measured in relation to size of the tree trunk and is generally larger than the drip
line (the drip line was the previously protected area). The CRZ cannot be
manipulated by trimming the canopy of the tree.
- Require City Council review of requests to remove an oak tree that has a trunk
diameter of six (6) inches or greater as measured at 4.5 feet above ground level.
- Call for property-owners to obtain a permit from the Public Works Department
whenever trimming oak tree branches 6 inches or greater in diameter on vacant,
- Authorize property-owners of already developed residential properties to trim
oak trees without restriction as to the size of branches if there is no new
development proposal under consideration (and as long as they do not endanger the
health of the oak tree or kill it).
- Establish increased protection measures for oak trees on sites that are being
graded and developed.
- Require the size of a replacement tree to be in proportion to the tree being
removed and further requires the replacement tree to be the same species as the
- Specifies limitations on who may conduct research and make recommendations
regarding preservation and/or removal of oak trees. Only City Council-approved
arborists are allowed to prepare reports.
- Includes new penalties for violations (criminal, civil, and restitution of damage), giving the City Attorney better tools with which to enforce the regulations.
The full version of the Oak Tree Preservation Ordinance is available here.