Sacramento Tree Ordinance Update

Summary of Law and Legislation Committee Recommendation on Tree Ordinance Revise

May 10, 2016

City of Sacramento Law and Legislation Committee recommended approval (3-0) of the proposed Tree Ordinance with following changes:

1. Posting of tree removal shall be 15 calendar days (Harris)

2. Expanding the definition of public nuisance to more specifically refer to Dutch elm disease and another specific tree disease (Guerra).

In addition, staff presented three amendments and announced an immediate launching of a new process to replace the 1994 Urban Forest Management Plan creation process (to replace the 1994 plan) which would begin August 2016. Councilmember Guerra asked staff to report back before the Council hearing with on a plan to communicate with neighborhood associations about tree removal. Harris asked staff and to commit to reporting back to Council on implementation of the ordinance after one year (Harris).

Councilmember Harris who has been Council lead on this effort, stated that competing interests are involved and he had worked diligently with staff to seek suitable compromise on issues presented by the all stakeholders, including the public. He believes all public comment has been thoroughly considered. Harris stated that the revised ordinance protects thousands more trees, has tree replacement requirements, a replacement fund and security to back up replacement requirements, prohibits topping and protects root zones of protected trees. He noted that it is not going to get any better. Larger goals such as the Climate Action Plan and canopy can be addressed in the Urban Forest Management Plan update.

Without our efforts, these key improvements noted by Councilmember Harris would not have occurred. We can take pride that the ordinance is now “squared up” with the General Plan policies and common sense CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) requirements such as guarantees that mitigation for tree removal is actually delivered. Sadly perhaps, it took a full scale community effort to get these corrections made.

We do have concerns that the recommended language makes it easier for staff to remove protected trees because broad authority is given to the Director of Public Works, criteria to be used are subjective, and existing language prohibiting harmful actions is not included in the recommended ordinance. Specifically, there is nothing in the ordinance which would require Urban Forestry to deny removal of a structurally-sound, protected tree. And we are seeing a lot of this. Last week it was 30 protected trees on R Street and several on West El Camino approved to be removed for public improvement projects.

We will keep you advised of the upcoming Council hearing on this issue.

For more information, please visit www.ecosacramento.net/trees4sacramento.

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North Natomas Precinct Update, May 2016

May 3, 2016

Natomas North Precinct – Notice of Preparation of Draft Environmental Impact Report

Sacramento County is processing an application for the Natomas North Precinct Master Plan located in the Natomas community of unincorporated Sacramento County. The Project site is located north of the City of Sacramento, west of Steelhead Creek, south of the Sutter County Line, and east of Highway 99. The County Project Control Number is PLNP2014-00172 and the State Clearinghouse Number is 2016042079.

As the lead agency for the Natomas North Precinct Master Plan Project (Project), Sacramento County has determined that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is the appropriate California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) document to evaluate the environmental consequences of the Project. Sacramento County published a Notice of Preparation on April 28, 2016.

Scoping Meeting on May 16, 2016

In order to provide additional opportunities for agencies and members of the public to comment on the scope and content of the environmental information to be included in the EIR, a public scoping meeting will be held. The meeting time, date, and location are as follows:

Time: 6:00 to 7:30 PM
Date: May 16, 2016
Location: South Natomas Community Center, 2921 Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA 95833

At the scoping meeting, staff will explain the environmental review process at the beginning of the meeting and the applicant will follow with a short project review. Staff will then be available to receive comments on the scope of the EIR in break-out stations.

Public Comments due May 31, 2016

It is not necessary to attend the EIR Scoping Meeting in order to provide comments on what is addressed in the EIR. Written comments can be submitted to the Sacramento County Planning and Environmental Review Division (Attn: Catherine Hack, Environmental Coordinator) via email at CEQA [at] saccounty [dot] net, or via mail at 827 7th Street, Room 225, Sacramento, CA 95814. Please contact Sheryl Lenzie, Project Manager, at 916-874-7722 or lenzies [at] saccounty [dot] net with requests or questions.

Here’s the link to the Notice of Preparation: http://www.per.saccounty.net/PlansandProjectsIn-Progress/Documents/Natomas%20Joint%20Vision/2016-04-28%20North%20Precinct%20NOP.pdf

Here’s a link to the ECOS comment letter submitted in December 2015: http://www.ecosacramento.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/2015_12_December_16_Letter_to_Board_re_Natomas_Growth_106.pdf

Image featured in this post was painted by Granville Redmond

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Sacramento County bans plastic bags beginning July 1

March 22, 2016

By Brad Branan

The Sacramento Bee

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday in favor of the ban, joining Sacramento and about 150 other communities in the state that have banned plastic bags that are not reusable. Supervisors said they wanted to end the use of such bags to protect the environment because they essentially last forever.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article67637667.html#storylink=cpy

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