Sec. 9-4.4305.  Processing of permits: Standards for granting or denying permits.
   (a)   Processing.  The applicant shall furnish all necessary information as required by the landmark tree permit application in a clear and accurate format to the Community Development Department and pay the appropriate filing fee as set by Council resolution.
   (1)   Administrative process. The Community Development Director may approve, deny, or conditionally approve a request for removal of three (3) or fewer landmark trees on a single parcel provided the request does not involve any designated historic tree or landmark tree greater than twenty-four (24") inches in diameter when measured at a point four and one half (4-1/2') feet above the tree’s natural grade. The decision of the Director may be appealed to the Planning Commission and the Commission’s decision may be appealed to the City Council pursuant to the provisions of this Code.
   (2)   Planning Commission process. Any request for removal of any non-exempt landmark tree that is twenty-four (24") inches or greater in diameter when measured at a point four and one half (4-1/2') feet above the tree’s natural grade, the removal of four (4) or more non-exempt landmark trees on a single parcel, or request for removal of any designated historic tree, shall be heard by the Planning Commission in conjunction with the Commission’s consideration of other entitlement applications for a project, if any. The Commission may approve, conditionally approve, or deny the permit. Any decision of the Commission may be appealed to the City Council pursuant to the provisions of Article 28 of this chapter.
   (b)   Standards.  A landmark tree permit may be approved based upon one of the following findings by the decision maker:
   (1)   The condition or location of the landmark tree requires cutting to maintain or aid its health, balance, or structure;
   (2)   The condition of the tree(s) with respect to disease, danger of falling, proximity to existing structures, high pedestrian traffic areas such as parking lots, pedestrian walkways, interference with utility services, or is causing or is likely to cause substantial property damage based on sufficient evidence and/or documentation and said damage cannot be controlled or remedied through reasonable preservation and/or preventative procedures and practices.
   (3)   A permit may be approved when necessary to remove, relocate, cut or encroach into the protected zone of a landmark tree to enable the reasonable and conforming use of the property which is otherwise prevented by the presence of the tree.
(§ 2, Ord. 1217-NS, eff. October 28, 1994, as amended by § 3, Ord. 1394-NS, eff. June 21, 2002, as amended by Part 2, Ord. 1446-NS, eff. November 25, 2005, and Parts 4 and 10, Ord. 1610-NS, eff. January 15, 2016)