The La Canada Flintridge City Council took the first step Monday night toward drafting an ordinance to protect certain trees on private lots.
The draft ordinance, which would protect trees considered distinctive to the area by regional arborists, must be reviewed in a series of study sessions and public hearings before it returns to the City Council for final consideration.
The draft ordinance makes a distinction between front and back yards. In the proposal, any larger tree in the front yard and four types of trees in the back of the property are designated as "Significant and Heritage Trees." The four species mentioned in the back-yard provision are the deodar cedar, the California oak, the California sycamore and the coast, dawn and giant redwood.
If adopted, the ordinance would require a permit for the removal and pruning of these trees.
The ordinance also would prohibit damaging of the root systems, substantially changing the grade around the tree, paving around the tree base with concrete, asphalt or other similar materials, and excessive or inadequate irrigation, according to the committee report.
The proposal also stipulates that trees may be relocated either on or off the property if the appropriate permit is issued by the city.
La Canada Flintridge would be one of the last cities in the area to adopt such an ordinance.
Mayor Pro Tem Chris Valente suggested the creation of a tree preservation ordinance at a council meeting last month. "It seems to me that trees are being pulled down at an alarming rate," he said.
A similar draft ordinance was introduced to the city's planning commission two years ago, but was "lost in the shuffle," committee member Martha Ann Bragg said.