12.24.030   Oak tree removal permit required.
   A.   Any person desiring to destroy or remove an oak tree on private or public property must first apply for and obtain a removal permit. Such application shall be in writing to the city clerk, who shall forward such application to the city manager of the city. The application shall contain the number, size and location of the oak trees and a brief statement of the reason of the requested action. The city manager shall charge a fee for said permit, to be established by the city council's annual designation of city fees.
   B.  Within five calendar days of receipt of such application, the city manager shall post a notice on the subject tree, in a manner reasonably intended to inform the general public, stating that an application for removal of the tree has been filed and is pending with the city manager.  Within fourteen calendar days of receipt of such application, the city manager shall inspect the premises whereon such oak trees are located, and shall issue an intended decision in writing as to whether or not the application will be approved, and if so, what mitigation shall be required as a condition to approval, consistent with Section 12.24.035 below; provided, however, that failure to render an intended decision within such period shall not be deemed approval.
   C.   The city manager shall not grant a removal permit unless one of three findings enumerated in Section 12.24.035 can be made based on substantial evidence and, where necessary, expert advice of a certified arborist.  The applicant may submit his or her own supporting material, including a report of an independent certified arborist, for consideration by the city manager.  However, the City manager shall retain the discretion for determining the weight and value to be given to such independent reports.
   D.   Upon determination that one of the three findings enumerated in Section 12.24.035 can be met and a removal permit may be granted, the city manager shall establish mitigation requirements in a manner consistent with the policy to be developed and implemented pursuant to Section 12.24.037. No mitigation shall be required for oak trees removed pursuant to subsections A. or C. of section 12.24.035, unless the city manager determines that the applicant's negligence or willful conduct contributed to the decline of the health of the oak tree.  The mitigation requirements established by the city manager shall attach to the permit as conditions, and shall be enforceable as a lien against the applicant's real property.  In no event shall the availability of mitigation measures, or the willingness of the applicant to agree to such measures, be a factor in determining whether removal of the tree is warranted.  (Ord. 2007-02 § 2 (part), 2007; Ord. 9907 § 2 (part), 1999)