§ 656.1205. Removal of protected trees prohibited; exceptions  


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  • (a) No person, organization, society, association or corporation, or any agent or representative thereof, directly or indirectly, shall cut down, remove, damage or destroy, or shall authorize the cutting down, removal, damage, or destruction of any protected tree, as defined in Section 656.1203(bb) hereof, or shall commit any act or authorize the commission of any act which physically removes a protected tree or causes a tree to die, such as damage inflicted upon the root system by heavy machinery, chemicals or paving, changing the natural grade above the root system and tree damage permitting infection or pest infestation, without first having obtained a permit as herein provided.

    (b) The following protected trees are exempted from the provisions of subsection (a). Where an exemption is claimed, an applicant must obtain a permit pursuant to Section 656.1206 for a fee of $25 and provide supporting evidence that the applicant is entitled to the exemption, as requested by the Building Inspection Division:

    (1) Any tree located on an individual lot on which either a single-family dwelling or a mobile home is located, provided:

    A. The lot is not capable of further subdivision under applicable law; and

    B. The single-family dwelling or mobile home is:

    (i) Occupied and used for residential purposes, or

    (ii) Capable of occupancy in compliance with applicable law.

    (2) Any tree of the palm family, other than the Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto), or the pine family, other than the Long Leaf Pine (Pinus palustris) located on that portion of a lot which is more than 20 feet from a street right-of-way (including an approved private street or other access easement), or more than ten feet from any other property line.

    (3) Any tree located in botanical gardens or in state-approved or government nurseries and groves which are grown for sale or public purpose.

    (4) Any tree that poses imminent danger to the public health, welfare or safety, and requires immediate removal without delay. In such instances, verbal authorization to remove a protected tree may be given by the Chief.

    (5) Any tree in a land area located within a City drainage easement, a City drainage right-of-way, and/or a City access way right-of-way (excluding road rights-of-way, or road easements requiring drainage) where trees must be removed, as reasonably necessary, to provide access to, or maintenance and/or construction of, the City's drainage ditches and drainage-related facilities.

    (6) Any tree located within an existing or proposed street right-of-way and/or easement shown on a set of approved final construction plans for required improvements within an approved single-family or mobile home subdivision which has been platted or is in the process of being platted and has received preliminary sketch plan approval pursuant to Chapter 654, Ordinance Code (Code of Subdivision Regulations), may be removed during construction of such improvements.

    (7) Any tree other than an exceptional specimen tree, as defined in Section 656.1203(bb)(3), located on property that has been subdivided for residential development by a plat of record or that is in the process of being platted and as received preliminary sketch plan approval pursuant to Section 654.108, Ordinance Code. Property with trees that are exempt under this subsection (8) must comply with the buffer requirements for residential subdivisions of Section 656.1222.

    (8) The following nuisance and invasive species of trees: Pond Willow (Salix caroliniana), Chinese Tallow (Sapium sebiferum), Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera), Chinaberry (Melia azedarach), Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora), Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera), Golden Raintree (Koelreuteria bipinnata) and Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana).

    (9) Any tree located on an individual cemetery plot and removed at the request and with the consent of an individual cemetery plot owner; provided, however, that this exemption shall not apply to the expansion of existing cemeteries. As used in this subsection, cemetery plot shall mean a lot in any cemetery designated and maintained for the interment of a human body, or bodies or remains thereof and for no other purpose. As used in this subsection, cemetery plot owner shall mean a person, or his representative, in whose name a plot is listed in a cemetery organization's office as the owner of the exclusive right of sepulture; or who holds from a cemetery organization, a certificate of ownership or other instrument of conveyance of the exclusive right of sepulture in a particular plot in the organization's cemetery.

    (10) Any tree determined to be a danger to traffic flow or traffic site visibility by the City Traffic Engineer.

    (11) Any tree determined to be in a required fire break by the Chief of Mowing and Landscape Maintenance Division.

    (c) During the period of an emergency such as a hurricane, flood or any other natural disaster, the requirements of this Section may be temporarily waived by the Chief, so that private or public work to restore order in the city will in no way be hampered.

    (d) Exceptional specimen trees, except for exceptional specimen trees located on property upon which either a single-family dwelling or a mobile home is located and/or is exempt under Section 656.1205(b)(1), or which is in use for bona fide agricultural operations and is exempt under Section 656.1205(b)(2), or which is exempt under Section 656.1205(b)(7), are specifically excluded from the exemptions listed hereinabove, and a permit is required to be obtained prior to any cutting down or removal of the trees. In addition, the provisions of Section 656.1206(h) concerning replacement of protected trees shall also apply to the cutting down or removal of exceptional specimen trees with a replacement of one inch to one inch removed, however, no replacement is required for exceptional specimen trees which have been determined by the Chief to be diseased or dying. Under no circumstances whatsoever shall this subsection be construed to require the owner of a single-family dwelling or mobile home which is occupied or capable of occupancy to obtain a permit to remove any protected tree.

    (e) This Section shall not apply to the removal of trees on land classified as agricultural land pursuant to F.S. § 193.461, if the removal of such trees is regulated through Best Management Practice criteria formally adopted into the Florida Administrative Code by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

(Ord. 91-59-148, § 1; Ord. 93-718-395, § 1; Ord. 95-212-154, § 1; Ord. 1999-152-E, § 1; Ord. 1999-775-E, § 2; Ord. 2001-161-E, § 1; Ord. 2001-1327-E, § 1; Ord. 2008-910-E, § 1; Ord. 2013-590-E, § 1; Ord. 2013-209-E, § 17)