Huntington Beach : City Plans Tough Action on Nuisance Plantings

Trees, shrubs and vines are running wild in the streets of Huntington Beach, and if they aren’t cut down the city will take care of the problems and charge property owners for the work.

A city ordinance allows the Public Works Department to perform the work if the property owner doesn’t comply within a month after being given the last of several notices. Huntington Beach gets hundreds of complaints from citizens about the excess growth each year, according to Daryl Smith, a city landscape supervisor.

He said the obstruction of bike paths and sidewalks poses a potential safety hazard, and added that any injuries resulting from the obstruction could result in a lawsuit against the city and the property owner. If a city crew must perform the work, the average cost is about $80 an hour, he said.

The ordinance requires that trees provide at least 9 feet of clearance over sidewalks, 11 feet over residential streets and 13 feet, 6 inches over arterial highways.