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(A) Purpose. The tree canopy contributes to the visual character of the city and trees are important natural resources and assets of the city. Therefore, every effort must be made to ensure that only the minimum numbers of protected trees are removed prior to construction of new structures, or alterations/additions to existing structures and in other approved circumstances. It is the intent of this chapter that a permit should not be granted for the removal of a protected tree where a reasonable alternative design solution exists that is consistent with the use of the property.
(B) Permit required. A Tree removal permit shall be required for and prior to the removal, relocation, or destruction of any tree located within any public street right-of-way; provided, however, that no such permit shall be required in order for the city to remove or otherwise affect any tree located within a public street right-of-way, and the city retains its authority with respect to public street rights-of-way, irrespective of the provisions of this chapter.
(C) Application for permit. A person seeking a tree removal permit for the removal, relocation or destruction of a tree within a public street right-of-way, shall complete a tree removal permit application and submit the application to the Zoning Administrator. The applicant shall also prepare and submit to the Administrator, a site plan including at least the following information:
(1) The tree or trees that are proposed to be removed, relocated or destroyed. Such trees shall also be identified by written description or by a photograph. The location and general description of the other protected trees within the adjacent street right-of-way that are proposed to remain undisturbed shall also be stated.
(2) A description of any grade changes or other changes within the street right-of-way that may occur as a result of the proposed tree removal, if such changes or results will have an adverse effect on any trees remaining in that part of the street right-of-way adjacent to the applicant’s property.
(D) Approval of permit. The Zoning Administrator shall grant and approve a tree removal permit upon finding that all of the following requirements are satisfied:
(1) The applicant has submitted a site plan or other information satisfactorily demonstrating that the number of trees and the particular trees proposed to be removed are the minimum number needed to be removed in order to achieve the results sought by the applicant.
(2) The Applicant has satisfactorily demonstrated that harm or other negative impacts to the remaining trees on that part of the street right-of-way adjacent to the applicant’s property will be minimized or avoided.
(3) There are no desirable, prudent or reasonably feasible alternatives whereby the desired results could be achieved, other than the removal, relocation or destruction of the trees indicated by the applicant.
(4) The tree or trees proposed for removal, relocation or destruction need to be removed for at least one of the following reasons:
(a) They are a safety hazard;
(b) They are interfering with or obscuring the clear vision of motor vehicle drivers;
(c) They are likely to injure, damage or disrupt persons, property or utility service; and/or
(d) They are preventing or substantially obstructing reasonable access to a lot or parcel of land.
(5) The proposed tree removal would not materially increase the risk of flooding or erosion on the property or on adjacent property, nor adversely affect a wetland or watercourse.
(6) In the case of proposed removal of a protected tree for reasonable access to an existing or proposed building or other improvement, there is no feasible alternative location for the proposed access without resulting in unnecessary hardship on the part of the applicant.
(E) The Zoning Administrator may include reasonable terms and conditions in any tree removal permit, in order to ensure that the intent of this chapter will be fulfilled and to minimize damage to, encroachment upon, or interference with other trees within the public street right-of-way.
(F) Appeal of denial of permit. In the event that a permit applicant is aggrieved by the denial of a tree removal permit, or by the approval of a permit but with conditions with which the applicant disagrees, the applicant may appeal such action by the Zoning Administrator to the Tree Board.
(1) The applicant shall file such appeal in writing, stating the action complained of and the reasons and grounds for which the applicant believes that the action should be reversed, amended or modified.
(2) The completed application for the appeal shall be filed with the Zoning Administrator, who shall forward it to the Tree Board. The Tree Board shall convene within a reasonable time to consider the appeal. Any such meeting by the Tree Board shall be subject to the provisions of the Michigan Open Meetings Act.
(3) At a meeting, the Tree Board shall consider the appeal filed by the applicant. The Tree Board shall provide the applicant an opportunity to comment on the appeal. The Tree Board may consider the matter at subsequent meetings.
(4) The appeal shall be determined by majority affirmative vote of the regular, voting members of the Tree Board who are present and voting. The decision by the Tree Board in such a case shall constitute the final decision by the city with respect to the application for the tree removal permit.
(Ord. 060123-1, passed - -; Am. Ord. 081222-1, passed 12-22-2008)