This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

Search This Blog

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The less than 50 word "elevator pitch" and the 1608 word "Cliff Notes" version of the Tree Ordinance. Public Hearing Tuesday January 10th at 4pm Planning Commission Meeting.

Does this ordinance affect or concern you ? You be the the judge. The Ordinance in its sixteen page entirety is on the City Website and linked to our previous post.. What is presented here are excerpts that will concern almost all lot owners in the City of Bloomfield Hills. Got ten seconds? In fifty words or less....

To remove more than 3 or 6 trees on your lot in a two year period, You need a permit. If you want to cut more you must supply a replacement trees for each one cut. There is an appeal process but it will, win or lose, you cost money.

For the more adventurous a 1608 word abridgement. 

Sec. 22-21. Applicability
A. With the exception of the exemptions set forth in Section  22-23 of this ordinance, no
tree shall be cut or otherwise removed without a tree removal permit.
B. Any tree removal which is not subject to exemption must comply with the Section 22-24
of this ordinance.
The application for a tree removal permit shall be submitted to the building official for
review and approval pursuant to Sections 22-24 and 22-25.

Sec. 22-23. Exemptions
Notwithstanding the provisions of this article, the following activities are exempt from the
provisions of this Section unless otherwise prohibited by statue or ordinance.

H. Existing Lot Exemptions.   The owner of an existing lot that is one acre or smaller may
remove up to three (3) trees ten (10) inches DBH or less in a two (2) year period.

The owner of an existing lot that is greater than one acre may remove up to six (6) trees
ten (10) inches DBH or less in a two (2) year period.

Sec. 22-24. Tree Removal and protection on  existing Lots (Excluding subdivisions  of three or more lots.
A. Submittal Requirements. A tree removal permit shall be required when removing more
than  the number of trees permitted under Existing Lot Exemptions (22-23.H). The tree
removal permit shall be reviewed by the building official. The application and
development proposal shall conform to the provisions contained herein.
B. Permit Application.  A completed tree removal permit application on a form prescribed
by the city which shall include the following information:
1. The name, address and telephone number of the applicant and/or the
applicant’s agent;
2. The name, address and telephone number of the owner of the property;
3. If the applicant is not the owner of the property, a written authorization from
the owner allowing the proposed activity;
4. The project location, including as applicable, the address, the street, road or
highway, section number, lot or unit number and the name of the subdivision
or development;
5. A detailed description and statement of the activity to be undertaken;
6. A sketch shall be provided showing the location of the tree(s) to be removed
with a DBH of ten (10) inches or greater and replacement trees that satisfy
Section 22-31. The sketch plan shall also identify all landmark trees within the
limits of Activity; and
7. A tree removal permit application fee in the amount established by the City
C. Review Standards.
A tree removal permit  shall be granted when application and tree replacement
requirements specified herein are satisfied  based upon one or more of the following
1. Where the location of an existing tree provides no other practical alternative
but to place a structure outside the permitted building setbacks.
2. Where no other  practical  alternative exists for the placement of a building,
building addition, structure, driveway, deck, patio, recreation facility or lawn
area for  use by the inhabitants of the building or dwelling, or any other
authorized improvements, but in the vicinity of an existing tree.
3. Where the location or growth of a tree inhibits the enjoyment of any outdoor
pool, patio, recreation facility or deck.

4. Where the location, angle or growth of an existing tree makes it a hazard to
structures or human life.
5. Where the selective removal of trees will result in a healthier and more
sustainable woodland environment without adversely impacting the character
of the surrounding area.
D. Reviewing Body.
The building official shall be the reviewing body for Existing Lots (Excluding subdivisions
of three or more lots.)
E. Planning Commission Review.
If, in the opinion of the building official, the request for tree removal does not satisfy the
above criteria, then the application may be forwarded to the Planning Commission for
review and decision.
F. Appeals.
If, in the opinion of the  Planning Commission, the request for tree removal does not
satisfy the above criteria, then within 30 days from the Planning Commission’s decision,
an applicant may appeal in writing to the Zoning Board of Appeals (or City Commission)
for review and decision.

Sec. 22-26. Terms of Permit
A. Any and all tree removal permits issued by the City to a developer shall expire (unless
extended) at the same time as the contemporaneous approval granted by the City, for
the development,  if any (i.e. tentative preliminary plat, preliminary site plan, special
land use, site plan approval, etc.).
B. Any and all tree removal permits issued by the City to any persons for an activity
regulated under this Section for which a contemporaneous approval of the development
is not required by the City (i.e. removal of trees by a builder in connection with
construction of a residence upon a parcel) shall expire one (1) year from the date of
C. Any activity regulated under this Section which is to be commenced after expiration of a
tree removal permit shall require a new applicant, additional fees and new review and
Sec. 22-27. Display of Permit
The permit holder shall conspicuously display the tree removal permit on-site.  The permit shall
be displayed continuously while trees are being removed or while activities authorized under
the permit are performed and for ten (10) days following completion of those activities.  The
permit holder shall allow the City to enter and inspect the premises during reasonable business
hours or any other time during which activity is conducted as regulated by this ordinance.
Failure to allow an inspection authorized under this Section is a violation of this Sections 22-24
or 22-25 above.  Fences and tree protection devices shall be maintained during all development
and construction activities and construction materials, supplies and equipment shall be kept
outside of the protection area.

Sec. 22-28. Enforcement and Administration
To ensure  enforcement of this Section and the approved plan for tree removal, various
inspections will be performed at the site at the direction of the City.  The applicant will be
responsible for all inspection fees in accordance.  The City shall have the authority to promulgate additional regulations to implement the terms of this Section.

Sec. 22-29. Violations
A violation of this Article shall be treated as a violation of the Zoning Ordinance and shall be 
subject to the same penalty provisions as violations of the Zoning Ordinance.  
Sec. 22-30. Variance
Applicants may seek variances from the provisions of this Ordinance by fining a written request 
with the Zoning Board of Appeal (or City Commission) which variances may be granted by the 
Zoning Board of Appeal (or City Commission) upon a showing of practical difficulty.
Sec. 22-31. Relocation and Replacement
A. Replacement ratio.   The permit holder shall provide a number of replacement trees for
each regulated  or  landmark tree to be removed in accordance with the following 
schedule based on the location of the tree to be removed.   When the number of 
replacement trees results in a fraction, any fraction up to one-half shall be disregarded, 
and any fraction over and including one-half shall require one replacement tree. The 
minimum size for replacement trees is 8 feet in height for coniferous trees and 2.5 
inches in caliper for deciduous trees.
B. Minimum requirements.  All replacements trees shall satisfy current American standards
for nursery stock and shall be as follows:
1. Nursery grown or comparable, relocate from the same parcel. 
2. Tree spade transplanted while in the dormant state or if not in the dormant 
state, balled and burlapped with a solid, well laced root ball when in the 
dormant state.
3. Number one (1) grade, with a straight, unsecured trunk and a well-developed
uniform crown.
4. Guaranteed for one (1) year from the time of planting.
5. Approved through inspection by the City.
6. Of a species included on the list of acceptable replacement trees on file with
the City.
7. The applicant and any person who applies for a building permit in connection
with the proposed activity shall be responsible for planting replacement trees
as required by this Section.
8. For existing lots ten acres or larger in area, replacement trees shall be planted
within three years or prior to a change in use, whichever occurs first.
C. Location.    The location of any replacement tree shall be on the same parcel as the
removed tree whenever feasible, as determined by the reviewing body.  If the tree
replacement on the same parcel is not feasible the reviewing body may:
1. Designate another planting location for the replacement tree within the City.
2. Allow the permit holder to deposit into the City General Fund, Tree
Preservation Line, an amount determined to be acceptable by the City for tree
replacement that would otherwise be required.  These funds shall be utilized
for the planting, maintenance and preservation of trees and woodland areas
within the City.
D. Maintenance.   Replacement trees shall be staked, fertilized, watered and mulched to
ensure their survival in a healthy, growing condition.
E. Property Owners are responsible to take all measures necessary to ensure the health
and vitality of replacement trees.
F. Performance guarantees.  The applicant shall post an acceptable form of an irrevocable
letter of credit, cash escrow, certified check, or other city-approved performance
security.  The performance guarantee shall be an amount determined by the building
official, equal to one and one-half (1-1/2) times the amount required for the require
replacement trees according to the approved landscape plan, together with reasonable
administrative expenses.  Required performance guarantees shall be provided to the
city after approval of the proposed tree removal permit but prior to the initiation of any
tree removal.
After determination by the building official that all replacement trees are in compliance
with the approved landscape plan, the letter of credit or other securities shall be released.

No comments: