East Point, GA Tree Ordinance

CHAPTER 6. TREE PROTECTION AND LANDSCAPING

Sec. 10-6001. PURPOSE

This Tree Protection and Landscaping Ordinance is developed to benefit the environmental and aesthetic quality of East Point. The intent is to create an opportunity and promote preservation of the city’s natural resources and grow in a way that will provide a healthy environment for the city’s future. The purpose is to provide standards for the preservation of trees as part of the land development process; to prevent massive grading of land, both developed and undeveloped, without provision for replacement of trees; and to protect trees during construction whenever possible in order to enhance the quality of life within the city. The regulations of this Tree Protection and Landscaping Ordinance shall be definitive, unless otherwise directed by the Zoning Ordinance. The benefits derived from this ordinance include:

(a)  Provide visual buffering and enhance beautification of the city;

(b)  Moderation of storm water runoff, and improved water quality;

(c)  Protect and attempt to enhance property values, thus safeguarding private and public

investment;

(d)  Protect the unique identity of the city by promoting native plants and the use of the city’s

signature plant palette;

(e)  Control soil erosion;

(f)  Reduction of some air pollutants and interception of airborne particulate matter;

(g)  Preserve stands of trees and “specimen” trees; and

(h)  Protect natural vegetation except where its removal is necessary for responsible property

development or control of disease and infestation. This article shall serve to dissuade the unnecessary clearing of land and its disturbance, so as to preserve, insofar as possible, the natural and existing growth of vegetation, and to replace whenever possible the removed foliage with new vegetation.

Sec. 10-6002. DEFINITIONS

Buffer:

(a)  State Waters Buffer: An area along the course of any State waters to be maintained in an undisturbed and natural condition.

(b)  Vegetative Buffer: That portion of a lot set aside with adequate natural and planted vegetation to accomplish visual and sound screening to separate incompatible land uses or street right-of-way from the developed portion of a lot or parcel of land.

(c)  Zoning Buffer: A natural undisturbed portion of a lot, except for approved access and utility crossings, which is set aside to achieve a visual barrier between the use on the lot and adjacent lots and/or uses. Buffer is achieved with natural vegetation and must be replanted subject to the approval of the Director of Planning and Zoning or his/her designated agent(s) when sparsely vegetated. Cleaning of undergrowth from a buffer is prohibited except when accomplished under the supervision of the Director of Planning and Zoning or his/her designated agent(s).

Canopy tree: A tree that will grow to a mature height of at least 40 feet with a spread of at least 30 feet.

Certified Arborist: Means any person who is a Georgia Registered Forester, or at a minimum, certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) as an arborist and a member in good standing of the ISA. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Certified arborist report means a typed report that is submitted and signed by a certified arborist, as defined above, and that at minimum clearly states the arborist’s name, contact information and qualifications, and identifies the site address and each individual tree to be considered. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Clearing: An activity which removes or disturbs the vegetative cover including trees.
Critical root zone: The minimum area surrounding a tree that is considered essential to support the viability of the tree and is equal to a radius of one foot per inch of trunk diameter (DBH)

Crown dripline: A vertical line extending from the outer surface of a tree branch tips to the ground.

DBH (diameter-at-breast height) The diameter of a tree’s trunk measured at 4.5 feet above the ground. For multi-trunk trees the diameter is measured at the narrowest point beneath the point of attachment of the multiple trunks.

Damaged tree: A tree which has damage to any of its parts including, the roots, root buttress, trunk, or branches.

Deciduous tree: Any tree which drops its leaves at the end of a growing season.

Destroy means any intentional or negligent act or lack of protection that is more likely than not to cause a tree to die within three growing seasons. Such acts include, not are not limited to: performing grade changes (including lowering or filling the grade) that affect more than 20 percent of the root save area; trenching of roots; cutting, girdling or conflicting other severe mechanical injury to the trunk, roots or other vital sections of the tree; removing in excess of 20 percent of the live crown of the tree; inflicting damage upon the root system of a tree by the application of toxic substances, including solvents, oils, gasoline and diesel fuel; causing damage by the storage of materials; and/or deliberately or negligently burning or setting fire to a tree. In addition, topping, tipping, or any similar improper pruning practices will automatically be deemed as destruction of a tree. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Destroyed tree: A tree which has damage to any of its parts causing, as determined by a certified arborist, the tree’s survival beyond three growing seasons to be unlikely.

Disease means any fungal, bacterial, or viral infection that will result in the death of the tree, as determined by a certified arborist. Disease shall also mean any fungal, bacterial or viral infection that has progressed to the point where treatment will not prevent the death of the tree, as determined by a certified arborist. In order for a certified arborist to deem that a tree has a disease, the person requesting such determination must present a report identifying and presenting the etiology (the cause and origin) of the fungal, bacterial or viral infection. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Dripline area: The total area underneath a tree which encompasses all crown driplines.

Evergreen: Any tree which retains its foliage throughout the year.

Fair or better condition means that the tree has a relatively sound and solid root, trunk, and canopy structure, no major insect infestation or other pathological problem, and a life expectancy greater than 15 years. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Greenspace: Any area retained as permeable unpaved ground and dedicated on the site plan to supporting vegetation.

Hazardous tree: A tree where the tree is at risk for failure because it is dead or structurally defective, and where that failure could result in personal injury or property damage.

Illegally removed tree means any tree that is removed or destroyed without a permit. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Improvement setback means an area adjacent to a zoning buffer in which no improvements and/or structures shall be constructed. No development activity such as tree removal or grinding, land disturbance or grading is permitted without the approval of the Director of the Department of Planning and Zoning. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Land disturbance permit: A permit issued to authorize the disturbance of land and vegetation.

Landscaping: Any additions to the natural features of land to restore construction disturbance and make it more attractive, as by adding ground cover, shrubs and trees to the natural environment.

Landscaping areas: An area set aside for the installation and maintenance of planting materials.

Landscape plan: A map and supporting documentation which describes for a particular site where vegetation is to be retained or provided in compliance with the requirements of this chapter. The landscape plan shall include any required buffer elements.

Landscape strip means an area required by this article or any condition of zoning, use permit or variance approval, which is reserved for the installation and/or maintenance of plant materials. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Minimum setback means the minimum yards as specified in the regulations related to the zoning districts or use permit categories. A minimum required space between a property line and a structure. An area identified by a building line.

Protected zone includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Critical root zone plus an additional three feet;
  2. All areas of a parcel required to remain in undisturbed open space;
  3. All areas required as landscape strips and/or buffers (including zoning buffers, state water buffers and tributary buffers); Tree save areas according to provisions of the East Point Zoning Code and Development Regulations, conditions of zoning, use permit or variance approval, and/or the Tree Preservation and Landscape Ordinance. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19- 2011)

Natural vegetation: A generally undisturbed, maintenance free, self-perpetuating stand of vegetation comprising indigenous shrubs, flowers, wild grasses and trees.

Natural vegetation area: The areas within the boundaries of a given lot which is devoted to natural vegetation.

Protection area: All land which falls outside the buildable area of a lot or parcel of land, all areas of the parcel required to remain open space, the dripline areas beneath a tree or clusters of trees to be retained, and/or all areas required to remain landscape strips or buffers according to the City of East Point zoning ordinance or conditions of zoning approval.

Roots mean:

  1. Feeder roots mean a complex system of small annual roots growing outward and predominately upward from the system of “transport roots”. These roots branch four or more times to form fans or mats of thousands of fine, short, non-woody tips. Many of these small roots and their multiple tips are 0.2 to 1mm or less in diameter and less than 1 to 2 mm long. These roots constitute the major fraction of a tree’s root system surface area and are the primary sites of absorption of water and nutrients.
  2. Major woody roots mean first order tree roots originating at the “root collar” and growing horizontally in the soil to a distance of between three and 15 feet from the tree’s trunk. These roots branch and decrease in diameter to give rise to “rope roots”. The primary functions of major woody roots include anchorage, structural support, the storage of food reserves, and the transport of minerals and nutrients.
  3. Rope roots mean an extensive network of woody second order roots arising from major woody roots, occurring within the surface 12 to 18 inches of local soils, and with an average size ranging from .25 to 1 inch in diameter. The primary function of rope roots is the transport of water and nutrients and the storage of food reserves.
  4. Transport roots mean the system or framework of tree roots comprised of major woody roots and rope roots. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Root collar means the point of attachment of major woody roots to the tree trunk, usually at or near the groundline and associated with a marked swelling of the tree trunk. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Root respiration means an active process occurring throughout the feeder root system of trees and involving the consumption of oxygen and sugars with the release of energy and carbon- dioxide. Root respiration facilities the uptake and transport of minerals and nutrients essential for tree survival. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Root save area means the area surrounding a tree that is essential to that tree’s health and survival. For a free-standing tree with no apparent root restrictions the root save area shall consist of a circle having a radius of one foot for each one inch of diameter breast height of the tree. Adjustments to the root save area may be made if justified by specific documented site conditions. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Severe mechanical injury means a wound or combination of wounds, measured at its or their widest extent, that expose or destroy the cambium layer of 30 percent or more of the circumference of the tree, measured at the top of the wounded area. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19- 2011)

Severe pruning: The removal of more than one quarter of the tree canopy, the leafy part, at any given time.

Shrub: A woody plant or bush of relatively low height (two (2) to twelve (12) feet).

Silvicultural prescription means any typed site or individual tree prescription developed by a certified arborist, as defined above, that is aimed at preserving a tree. Prescriptions must include without limitation: the private arborist’s name, signature, and contact information; the site address and individually identified trees at issue; a harvesting or stand improvement plan, soil and foliar analysis/treatment, fertilizer application, soil amendments, pesticide application with a copy of the pesticide labeling, and pruning. Trimming, topping, tipping or flush cutting of trees will not be accepted as a part of any silviculutral prescription. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Specimen tree: Any tree in fair or better condition, which qualifies for special consideration for preservation due to size, species, or condition, and which meets the following:

24" dbh - Large hardwoods such as oaks, hickories, yellow poplars, sweetgums, etc. 30" dbh - Large softwoods such as pines, deodar cedars, etc.
4" dbh - Small trees such as dogwoods, redbuds, sourwoods, etc.;

Provided, however, that a lesser-size tree can be considered by a certified arborist to be and designated a specimen tree if it is a rare or unusual species, of exceptional or unique quality, or of historical significance; provided further that a lesser-size tree can be considered by a certified arborist to be and designated a specimen tree if it is specifically used by a builder, developer, or design professional as a focal point in a landscape project.

Specimen tree stand: Any collective group of specimen trees, as defined by this ordinance, which has been determined to be of high value and which meets one or more of the following:

a. A relatively mature, even aged stand; or
b. A stand with purity of species composition or of a rare or unusual nature or ecological value; or
c. A stand of historical significance; or
d. A stand with exceptional aesthetic quality.

Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance means the ordinance adopted by the City that regulates soil erosion and its transportation to the City’s lakes, rivers and streams. (Ord. No. 020- 11, 09-19-2011)

Spiking means the use of metal spurs of gaffs to climb live trees for any purpose other than tree removal or human rescue. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

State Waters means any and all rivers, streams, creeks, branches, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, drainage systems, springs, wells, and other bodies of surface or subsurface water, natural or artificial, lying within or forming a part of the boundaries of Georgia which are not entirely confined and retained completely upon the property of a single individual, partnership, or corporation. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Structural root plate means the zone of rapid root taper that provides the tree stability against windthrow. The radius of the root plate is proportional to stem diameter (DBH) of a tree. The table below provides examples of root plat radii for upright trees without restricted roots. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011) 

DBH (inches)

8

16

32

48

Root plate (feet)

5.5

8

10.5

12

Thinning means selective cutting or removal of timber. The basal units per acre for commercial districts and all other non single family districts; 20 units per acre for single family residential districts; 15 units per acre for agricultural districts shall be maintained after selective cutting, or removal of timber has occurred. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Tipping means the cutting of a leader trunk in such manner as to leave a prominent stub extending beyond the node (crotch) of another leader trunk or major branch that may become a leader trunk. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Topping: Is a very severe form of pruning which involves removing all branches and growths down to a few large branches or to the trunk of the tree.

Tree means:

  1. Tree means any self supporting woody perennial plant which has a trunk diameter of two inches or more measured at a point six inches above the ground level and which normally obtains a height of at least ten feet at maturity, usually with one main stem or trunk and many branches.
  2. Specimen tree means any tree in fair or better condition, which qualifies for special consideration for preservation due to size, species, or condition, and which meets the following:
  • 24" dbh - Large hardwoods such as oaks, hickories, yellow poplars, sweetgums, etc. 30" dbh - Large softwoods such as pines, deodar cedars, etc.
  • 4" dbh - Small trees such as dogwoods, redbuds, sourwoods, etc.;

Provided, however, that a lesser-size tree can be considered by a certified arborist to be and designated a specimen tree if it is a rare or unusual species, of exceptional or unique quality, or of historical significance; provided further that a lesser-size tree can be considered by a certified arborist to be and designated a specimen tree if it is specifically used by a builder, developer, or design professional as a focal point in a landscape project.

3. Stand of specimen trees means a contiguous grouping of tree which has been determined to be of value by the department of planning and zoning.

  1. A relatively mature even-aged stand
  2. A stand with purity if species composition or of a rare or unusual nature.
  3. A stand of historical significance.
  4. A stand with exceptional aesthetic quality. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Tree bank means a site within the City Limits of East Point, where the owner/developer shall donate and plant the required trees when it is not feasible to plant the required trees within their site’s project area. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Tree canopy: The square footage of the aggregate of the canopy of all trees contained on a property.

Tree removal permit: A permit as required pursuant to this Ordinance issued by the East Point Planning and Zoning Department for the removal of trees.

Tree replacement plan means a drawing which depicts the location, size and species of existing and replacement trees on the lot for which a permit is sought, and table detailing, by species and DBH, the existing trees to be saved, lost or destroyed, and, by species and caliper, the replacement trees to be planted. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Tree save area means all areas designated for the purpose of meeting tree density requirements, saving specimen trees, and/or preserving natural buffers. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Understory tree: Any tree or woody plant which is of lesser height and spread than the surrounding evergreens or deciduous trees but which still provides shade and a degree of protection to the earth and vegetation beneath it.

Sec. 10-6003. APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Applications for permits for tree removal shall be submitted by the landowner or an authorized agent on a form provided for this purpose. Such application shall be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Department along with all required attachments.

Sec. 10-6004. TIME LIMIT ON APPROVAL

A tree removal permit shall be valid for 12 months. In the event that the permittee has not begun the permitted work within 12 months, the permit shall lapse and a new permit must be obtained before work can begin. Once work is begun under a valid permit the permittee may continue the permitted work until the work is completed. Any permit, including grandfathered projects, will automatically lapse after 12 months of inactivity, unless the developer has obtained an extension from the Director of Planning and Zoning.

Sec. 10-6005. APPLICABILITY

Exemptions from the City of East Point Tree Protection and Landscaping Ordinance are:

  1. All commercial nurseries, botanical gardens, tree farms and grove operations shall be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance, but only as to those trees which were planted for silvicultural or agricultural purposes or for the sale or intended sale in the ordinary course of business.
  2. Dead, diseased or infested trees as determined by the submission of a written report by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.
  3. Removal of trees not meeting the definition of specimen tree (non-specimen) on a developed single family detached lot do not require issuance of a permit. (Ord. No. 014- 10 §5, 9-20-2010)

The removal of five (5) or more non-specimen trees from developed single family detached lot shall require an application and site plan submitted for review and approval by the Department of Planning and Zoning. The site plan shall identify the number and location of non-specimen trees to be removed. A fee will be assessed for the Plan Review. (Ord. No. 014-10 §5, 9-20-2010)

Sec. 10-6006. TREE REMOVAL PERMIT FOR DEVELOPED SINGLE-FAMILY LOT

(Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Upon application, a permit for specimen tree removal from a single-family residential lot shall be issued for six (6) or more trees, greater than or equal to 4 DBH for which is demonstrated the existence of disease or damage to the owner or to the public through a report submitted by a qualified certified arborist. A tree replacement plan is required.

A permit for specimen tree removal from a single family detached residential lot shall be issued for up to five (5) trees, 4 DBH or more for which is demonstrated the existence of disease or damage to the owner or to the public through a report submitted from the tree removal company. A tree replacement plan is not required.

Only one (1) permit for specimen tree removal is allowed within a twelve (12) month period. (Ord. No. 014-10 §6, 9-20-2010)

Sec. 10-6007. TREE REMOVAL PERMIT FOR NON-SINGLE FAMILY LOTS

Prior to issuance of a tree removal permit for any site, covered by this Ordinance seven (7) copies of a Tree Protection Plan (TPP) must be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Department. The Department shall review the plan to ascertain compliance with the Tree Protection and Landscaping Ordinance. It is required that a qualified certified arborist prepare the TPP. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Sec. 10-6008. MINIMUM LANDSCAPE STRIPS AND BUFFERS (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19- 2011)

A. Landscape areas shall be provided along all lot lines, as specified in Table 1 and Table 2.

B. Improvement setbacks shall be provided along all road frontage as specified in Table 1 and Table 2.

  1. Reduction of the improvement setback is prohibited.
  2. No grading, land disturbance or tree removal shall be allowed within the improvement setback unless permission is obtained from the Director of Planning & Zoning through an Administrative Variance pursuant to Section 10-2185. Said approval shall include a site visit report and recommendation by the Director of Planning & Zoning.

C. Zoning buffers shall be provided where adjacent to single family detached residential (R-L, R-1 and R-1A) as specified in Table 1.

D. Zoning buffers shall be provided where adjacent to any residential as specified in Table 2.

E. Zoning buffers shall be undisturbed except for approved access and utility crossings and re-plantings as required by the Director of Planning & Zoning.

F. Fences and/or walls shall be located interior to any required buffers and/or improvement setbacks except when zoning buffers are required between properties zoned for single family residences or developed with single family residences. Fences may be constructed along side and rear lot lines. 

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Sec. 10-6008.1 MINIMUM LANDSCAPE AREAS AND BUFFERS FOR EXISTING STUCTURES

When minimum landscape areas or zoning buffers for uses in existing structures do not meet the requirements herein, conditions of zoning shall apply. Whenever deemed necessary to protect adjoining or nearby properties or to otherwise promote the public health, safety or welfare, the City Council and or Planning and Zoning Commission may specify conditions which require increased landscape areas and/or buffers, setbacks, berms, or other treatments to protect surrounding and nearby properties. (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011)

Sec. 10-6009. PARKING LOT LANDSCAPING

At-grade, non-single-family parking lots shall provide minimum 10-foot wide landscape islands at the end of each parking bay, and a 10-foot wide landscape island every 10th parking space. Such landscape islands shall include minimum 3” caliper shade trees from East Point’s list of recommended trees. Refer to the East Point Tree Protection and Landscaping Ordinance, Appendix B. Landscaping in these islands should preserve and maintain adequate sight lines from the minor lane to the major lane. Alternate methods of landscaping parking lots may be approved whenever the Director of Planning and Zoning or his/her designee determines that the alternate method equals or exceeds this standard.

Sec. 10-6010. LANDSCAPE REQUIREMENTS (Ord. No. 020-11, 09-19-2011) Landscape areas are within the required setbacks. When like uses are adjacent to each other a minimum 5’ (five foot) planted landscape area is required meeting the following requirements:

Minimum Plant Requirements

  1. One (1) three-inch caliper canopy tree and one (1) three-inch understory tree (see recommended species, Appendix B) shall be planted for every two thousand (2,000) sq. feet of impervious surface on site.
  2. One (1) shrub (see recommended species, Appendix B) minimum of three-gallon container, shall be planted for every five hundred (500) sq. feet of impervious surface on site.
  3. Ground cover (see section Appendix B for recommended species) shall be provided in all pervious areas disturbed during construction.
  4. Plant material required by this ordinance shall be in addition to requirements for planting in buffer strips, however, trees planted in the landscape strip, if such is required by the city, shall be counted toward the landscape requirements.

Design criteria

  1. One (1) parking lot landscape island shall be provided for every ten (10) parking spaces on site. Said landscape area shall be a minimum of ten (10) feet in width and extend the length of the parking space. Such islands may be combined to form larger islands or public open spaces.
  2. A landscape island, minimum ten-foot in width and extending the length of the parking field, shall be provided for every fifth double row of parking.

Maintenance

All material planted to meet the requirements of this ordinance shall be maintained by the property owner in perpetuity. Changes to the landscaping plan during and after construction must be submitted to the Director of Planning and Zoning.

Enforcement

  1. All material shown on the landscape plan must be planted prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
  2. Failure to maintain the required landscape material shall be deemed a violation of the Code of Ordinances of the City of East Point and prosecuted under the provisions thereof.

Sec. 10-6011. REQUIRED LANDSCAPE BUFFER

A buffer shall be a strip of land running along the entire front, side or rear of a lot (except driveways) for the purpose of obstructing vision, muffling sound, separating incompatible uses and providing green space. The following types of landscape buffers are hereby established.

1. Partially opaque buffer: This buffer shall be partially opaque from two and one half feet above ground level to ten feet above ground level, and partial visual obstruction from ten feet above ground level to 25 feet above ground level. The following shall be minimum requirements, and shall not excuse compliance with the requirements of partial opacity:

a. Minimum plant only requirements:

  1. Minimum buffer area of 10 feet in width, and
  2. Minimum of 5 canopy trees for each 30 feet in length, and
  3. Minimum of 3 understory trees for each 30 feet in length, and
  4. Minimum of 20 shrubs for each 30 feet in length

b. Minimum plant/fence requirements:

  1. Minimum of 7.5 feet in width, and
  2. Minimum of 2 canopy trees for each 30 feet in length and
  3. Minimum of 1 understory tree for each 30 feet in length, and
  4. Minimum of 8 shrubs for each 30 feet in length

c. Minimum plant/berm requirements:

  1. Minimum buffer area of 20 feet in width, and
  2. Minimum of 1 canopy tree for each 30 feet in length, and
  3. Minimum of six shrubs for each 30 feet in length, and
  4. Slope of the berm shall be of a gradual design or buttressed in such a way as to prevent erosion, and the berm shall be covered with grass, ground cover, and/or shrubs to prevent erosion;
  5. Berm shall extend to a height of 6 six feet above the centerline of any adjacent road or the average adjacent elevation.

2. Broken buffer: This buffer shall be generally open but provide plantings from 2 and 1 half to 25 feet as broken screen. The minimum requirements shall be as follows: 

  1. Minimum buffer area of 10 feet in width, and
  2. Minimum of 1 canopy tree for each 100 feet in length, and
  3. Minimum of 1 understory tree for each 100 feet in length, and
  4. Minimum of 8 shrubs for each 100 feet in length.

Sec. 10-6012. TREE SURVEY REQUIRED

1. Survey required. Unless specifically exempted from this Article, before the commencement of any alteration, defoliation or land disturbing activity which requires the issuance of a permit, a tree survey shall be completed by a certified arborist and submitted to the Department of Planning and Zoning in accordance with the requirements. When an application for a preliminary plat is made, the applicant shall be required to submit a tree survey.

  1. Survey requirements. The tree survey shall be in the form of a to-scale map or a site plan prepared and sealed by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture noting the location of all specimen trees plus all other trees which will be preserved. Important natural features such as streams and wetlands shall also be shown on the tree survey.
  2. Specimen trees. All specimen trees and their critical root zones and drip lines shall be labeled, even if the tree trunk is not on the subject property, and must be shown on the tree survey and inventoried by size and species. This includes those specimen trees that are to be preserved as well as those proposed for removal, if any, and the portion of critical root zones and drip lines of trees on abutting properties which are contained within the subject property, to the extent that such drip lines and critical root zones can be determined from the vantage point of the property to be developed. This provision shall not authorize the trespass on other private property abutting the site.
  3. Other trees to be retained. All other trees that are to be counted toward meeting tree density unit requirements of this Article must be shown on the survey and inventoried by size and species. Only trees with a caliper measurement of three (3) inches or greater are to be identified as eligible for tree density unit compliance purposes.
  4. Trees to be removed. Trees other than specimen trees that are proposed to be removed and which thus cannot be counted toward tree density unit requirements are not required to be counted and shown individually on the tree survey. Such trees shall be estimated in number, size and species of such trees and quantified as part of the total site inventory of tree population.
  5. Sampling. Sampling methods may be used to determine tree densities for forested areas over two (2) acres.
  6. Tree save areas. All tree save areas must be delineated on the tree survey. All buffers with existing trees must be delineated on the tree survey as tree save areas. Land disturbance within any buffer is subject to approval by the Planning and Zoning Department.
  7. List and tree density unit calculations. The tree survey shall provide an accurate list of those trees to be saved and a total value of tree density units for the entire property.

Sec. 10-6013. TREE PROTECTION PLAN SPECIFICATIONS

The Tree Protection Plan shall be a detailed plan designed to protect and preserve trees before, during, and for a period of two (2) years after construction. Required specifications for a Tree Protection Plan include the following:

  1. Separate drawing. The Tree Protection Plan shall be submitted as a separate drawing.
  2. Boundary survey. The Tree Protection Plan shall be submitted on a current boundary survey of the proposed site, drawn to scale, and showing clearly all required information in this Section.
  3. Tract identification. The plan shall identity the tract of land involved by acreage and location.
  4. Owner and contact. The name, address and phone number of the owner of the land and the name, address and phone number of any tenant of the property, and twenty- four hour emergency contact phone number.
  5. Trees to be protected. The type, location and size as measured at the diameter breast height of all tree(s) to be protected. Only trees designated on the approved Tree Protection Plan will be counted toward meeting minimum required tree density requirements.
  6. Specimen trees. Locations, species, size, critical root zones, and drip lines of those specimen trees proposed and, if any, proposed to be removed. The Tree Protection Plan must include any portion of a critical root zone or drip line of any trees on abutting properties proposed to be protected. Removal of specimen trees is subject to approval by the Director of Planning Zoning.
  7. Tree save areas and clearing limits. All natural areas to be retained and buffers shall be included in the tree save area. There shall be no material storage in tree save areas. Limits of clearing and land disturbance such as grading, trenching, etc. where these disturbances may affect tree save areas shall also be shown, including an indication of staging areas for parking, material storage, concrete washout, debris burn and burial holes and other areas where tree protection may be affected.
  8. Tree protection methods. Methods of tree protection shall be indicated for all tree save areas, including tree fencing, erosion control, retaining walls, tunneling for utilities, aeration systems, transplanting, staking, signage, geoweb or similar material, permeable paving, bollards, etc.
  9. Development characteristics. The locations of roads, existing and proposed structures, amount of impervious surface existing and proposed, driveways, cut and fill areas, drainage before and after construction including detention areas, etc.
  10. Utilities and easements. The locations of all existing and proposed utility lines or easements, including the location for any boring sites for underground utilities.
  11. Tree density units. Calculations showing the amount of existing trees to be retained for purposes of complying with the minimum required tree density units required by this Ordinance. Only existing trees with a dbh of three (3) inches or greater shall be counted toward meeting the minimum tree density unit requirements.
  12. Irrigation systems. The Tree Protection Plan must also indicate any irrigation systems required by this Ordinance.
  13. Additional information. Additional information as required on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Planning and Zoning.

Sec. 10-6014. PLANNING AND ZONING AUTHORITY AND ACTION ON A TREE PROTECTION PLAN

Prior to approval of the Tree Protection Plan, the Planning and Zoning staff may require relocation or replacement of trees as uniformly as possible throughout the site. The planning and zoning staff may require the use of active tree protection fencing for any or all tree save areas. Passive tree protection fencing is to be used only for areas remote from construction activity.

Standards for Tree Protection During Construction

  1. Materials prohibited in tree save areas. No structure(s), improvement(s), or any activity including solvents, material, construction machinery, portable toilets, construction trailers, or temporary soil deposits shall encroach or be placed within a drip line and within six (6) feet of the area immediately outside the drip line, of any specimen tree or any tree within a tree save area unless authorized by the Planning and Zoning staff in writing.
  2. Tree protection devices. Before development, land clearing, filling, or any land alteration, the developer shall be required to erect suitable protective barriers as required by the Planning and Zoning staff pursuant to an approved Tree Protection Plan, including tree fences, tree protection signs, and erosion barriers. Inspection of tree protection barriers is required prior to the commencement of any land disturbance or development. Said tree protection measures shall remain in functioning condition until completion of site landscaping, completion of the project or until the Certificate of Occupancy is issued. Authorization to remove the protective devices shall be evidenced in writing by the Planning and Zoning staff or by the issuance of a final Certificate of Occupancy.
  3. Active tree protection devices. Materials for active tree protection shall consist of chain link, orange laminated plastic, wooden post and rail fencing or other equivalent restraining material. In addition to fencing, where active tree protection is required, each tree to be saved shall be marked at the base of the trunk with blue colored water- based paint.
  4. Passive tree protection. Materials for passive tree protection shall consist of heavy mil plastic flagging, a minimum of four (4) inches wide with dark letters reading "Tree Protection Area - Do Not Enter" or equivalent signage on a continuous, durable restraint.
  5. Additional measures. The developer shall take measures to ensure the health of the protected trees during construction, including but not limited to the following measures:
    1. Water, fertilize and treat the trees for pests or disease as needed, in accordance with standards of the International Society of Arboriculture.
    2. If grading covers the trees with dust, hose them off.
    3. Do not randomly or incorrectly prune live branches so that equipment or structures can “fit” within the tree’s protected zone.
    4. Do not strip the topsoil or remove the natural leaf mulch or material from beneath a protected tree.
    5. Trees should be felled away from, rather than into, tree save areas.
    6. Provide adequate mulching and water for trees that will be retained.

Sec. 10-6015. TREE DAMAGE

Any tree, designated on a tree protection plan to be saved, which is damaged during construction or as a result of construction, as determined by the Department of Planning and Zoning, shall be treated according to accepted standards of the National Arborists Association, or replaced with a tree or trees equal to the tree density unit value of the tree removed. However, any specimen tree damaged as described above shall be replaced with trees equal to two (2) times the unit value of the tree removed or damaged. If a damaged specimen tree must be removed, the area occupied by its drip line must remain in a pervious state. A replacement plan for such area must be approved by the Department of Planning and Zoning.

Sec. 10-6016. PRUNING

(a)  Pruning shall not cause long-term health or structural problems and must be done in accordance with International Society of Arboriculture Standards (ANSI A300) standards.

Example: The pruning cut should not be too large when compared to the growing point. For instance, a large cut on a 20 cm trunk down to a 15 cm branch should be fine, but the same cut to the trunk down to a 1 cm twig or bud is considerably less ideal and should be avoided.

(b)  “Topping” or severe pruning is prohibited. Severe pruning seriously affects a tree’s food supply, can scald the newly exposed outer bark, make trees vulnerable to insect invasion, stimulate the regrowth of dense, upright branches below the pruning cut, make the tree more vulnerable to wind damage, disfigure the tree aesthetically, and sometimes result in the death of the tree.

Sec. 10-6017. REMOVAL OF SPECIMEN TREES

Unless specifically exempted from the requirements of this Ordinance, no specimen tree as defined by this Ordinance shall be removed except in accordance with this section.

(a) Justification for removal. Any applicant proposing to remove a specimen tree(s) regulated by this Ordinance shall apply for a tree removal permit. In addition to the requirements for tree removal permits specified by this Ordinance, the applicant shall provide a written explanation as to why the specimen tree(s) cannot be retained on the site which shall include a description of all alternative site development plans considered by the applicant to avoid the removal of said specimen tree(s).

Said written explanation shall at minimum include the following:

  1. Consideration of whether any buildings or structures, parking areas, storm water facilities, utilities, driveways, or other features of the proposed development can be relocated or designed to retain the specimen tree(s), and the additional costs of such relocations or design, if any.
  2. Consideration of whether the land area consumed by the proposed development can be reduced via decked parking, reduction of the footprint of a building or structure by increasing the height or number of stories, placement of storm water facilities underground, and other appropriate means, to retain the specimen tree(s), and the additional costs involved in such surface area consumption, if any.
  3. Consideration of whether the development proposal can be reduced in size, scale, or extent without jeopardizing the economic feasibility of the proposed development.
  4. The total estimated value of the development before approval and upon completion as proposed, if approved.
  5. Explanation must be written by a certified arborist.

(b) Director of Planning and Zoning approval. An application to remove a specimen tree shall require the approval of the Director of Planning and Zoning. The Director of Planning and Zoning may also consult with the City Engineer in determining the accuracy of cost estimates submitted in the applicant’s written analysis. The Director of Planning and Zoning may issue a permit to remove specimen trees after finding that one or more of the following conditions are met:

  1. The written analysis provides convincing evidence that alternative site and building designs have been considered by the applicant but would not result in retention of the specimen tree(s).
  2. The additional cost associated with developing the site or constructing buildings as redesigned or reducing the site area consumed to retain the specimen tree(s) would be disproportional to the value of the specimen tree(s) retained, calculated at $100.00 per tree density unit.
  3. Retention of the specimen tree(s) would result in a less than viable economic use of the subject property.
  4. If more than one specimen tree is proposed to be removed, the site design results in the minimum number of specimen trees removed that are necessary to accommodate the proposed development.
  5. A variance to the dimensional requirements of the zoning ordinance may be an appropriate remedy to preserve a specimen tree. Where in the opinion of the Director of Planning and Zoning one or more variances would enable a site and building design to be accomplished while saving one or more specimen trees, and where the objectives of tree protection would outweigh the purposes of the zoning regulations that would be varied, the Director of Planning and Zoning may suggest an applicant apply for variances instead of proposing to remove one or more specimen trees. A determination by the Director of Planning and Zoning that one or more variances to the dimensional requirements of this Ordinance would not be appropriate may support a finding by the Director of Planning and Zoning in favor of granting approval to remove one or more specimen trees.
  6. The request to remove a specimen tree or trees is reasonable considering the remaining specimen trees on the site that will be retained.
  7. The Director of Planning and Zoning may apply any or all decision criteria for the removal of trees as specified in this Ordinance. The Director of Planning and Zoning may approve or deny an application for a tree removal permit based on the above referenced criteria. The determination of the Director of Planning and Zoning pursuant to this provision may be appealed to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

(c) Tree bank contribution. When removal of a specimen tree(s) is approved by the Director of Planning and Zoning, as a condition precedent to issuing said tree removal permit, the project applicant shall contribute to the City of East Point Tree Bank an amount of $220 for each tree density unit of the specimen tree(s) removed, calculated on the basis of Table 2 of this Article. In any case where a specimen tree was removed without or prior to a lawfully issued tree removal permit, the amount contributed to the tree bank shall be $1,000 per tree density unit of the specimen tree removed. The tree removal permit shall not be issued, nor shall the specimen tree(s) be removed, until funds are received for deposit in the City of East Point Tree Bank.

(d) Recompense. Contributions to the East Point Tree Bank may be adjusted by recompense subject to the following criteria:

  1. Credit, based on the tree density units as specified in Table 3, may be given for new trees planted on the subject site, above and beyond the minimum site density requirement, if approved by the planning and zoning staff.
  2. Such newly planted trees shall be of a caliper of three (3) inches or greater.
  3. In cases where the obligation is not fully reduced by recompensed trees, the remaining obligation shall be deposited to the East Point Tree Bank and calculated based on $220 per density unit.

Sec. 10-6018. CRITERIA FOR REMOVAL OF TREES

This section is intended to guide the Planning and Zoning staff in considering whether non- specimen trees shall be permitted to be removed. At the discretion of the Director of Planning and Zoning, the provisions of this section may be used along with other criteria in determining whether specimen trees shall be permitted to be removed.

(a)  Tree removal shall be disallowed if soil erosion or runoff problems will result due to topography, soil type, or proximity to flood plain or river protection areas; or if the removal will substantially alter the existing soils adversely with regard to runoff and erosion. Information submitted by the City Engineer or other environmental specialist may be used by the planning and zoning staff in such an evaluation.

(b)  Removal of non-specimen trees from a site may be allowed at the discretion of the Planning and Zoning staff if:

  1. The tree is located in an area where a structure or improvement will be placed and the tree cannot be relocated on the site because of age, species, or size of tree.
  2. The tree is diseased or structurally unsound.
  3. The tree is injured and/or poses an imminent danger.
  4. The tree interferes with existing utility service.
  5. The tree creates an unsafe vision clearance for vehicular movement.

Sec. 10-6019. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EAST POINT TREE BANK

a. There is hereby established an East Point Tree Bank for the maintenance and disbursement of funds required to be paid pursuant to the terms of this ordinance.

  1. Where it is determined by the Director of Planning and Zoning that payment into the East Point Tree Bank shall be required hereunder, the required funds shall be paid to the East Point Tree Bank prior to issuance of any related permit.
  2. Funds maintained in the East Point Tree Bank shall be administered by the Department of Finance pursuant to rules and regulations regarding said funds.

Sec. 10-6020. APPEAL PROCEDURE

  1. Any applicant who is aggrieved or affected by any decision of the of the Department relating to the application of these regulations may file an appeal within thirty (30) days of the decision with the Planning and Zoning Commission through the Director of the Department of Planning and Zoning.
  2. Appeals shall only be granted for errors of interpretation, application, or where the unique natural features of the site are such that it is impractical or impossible to apply the terms, conditions or standards of these regulations resulting in an undue hardship to the property owner.
  3. Any person aggrieved by an action of the Planning and Zoning Commission as it relates to this Ordinance may appeal within thirty (30) days to the Superior Court of Fulton County Georgia by writ of certiorari.

Sec. 10-6021. SEVERABILITY AND CONFLICTS

Should any article, clause or provision of this ordinance be declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such action shall not affect the validity of the ordinance as a whole or any part hereof so declared to be invalid, it being the intent of the City Council that each article, clause and provision hereof be severable.

Sec. 10-6022. APPENDIX A DENSITY FACTOR ANALYSIS

A basic condition of this Article is that all applicable sites maintain a minimum tree density of thirty (30) units per acre. The term “unit” is an expression of basal area and is not synonymous with “tree”.

The minimum tree density requirement must be met whether or not a site had trees prior to development. The density may be achieved by counting existing trees to be preserved, planting new trees, or some combination of the two.

For density factor analysis, the following formula shall apply: SDF = EDF + RDF

Where:

SDF (Site Density Factor) = The minimum tree density required to be maintained on a developed site (30 units per acre). 

EDF (Existing Density Factor) = Density of existing trees to be preserved on a site. RDF (Replacement Density Factor) = Density of new trees to be planted on a site.

PROCEDURE FOR CALCULATING THE REQUIRED TREE REPLACEMENT: Step 1. Calculate the Site Density Factor (SDF):

The SDF is calculated by multiplying the number of site acres by 30. EXAMPLE: A 2.2 acre site has a SDF of 2.2 X 30 = 66

Step 2. Calculate the Existing Density Factor (EDF):
The Existing Density Factor, EDF, is determined by converting the diameter breast height (dbh) of individual existing trees to density factor units as shown in the following Table 2. These units are totaled to determine the EDF for the site.

EXAMPLE: A total of 8 existing trees will remain on the 2.2 acre site in Step 1. These existing trees include:

3 – 14” pines
3 – 18” oaks
1 – 20” hickory 1 – 30” oak

When converted to density factor units using Table 1 (on the following page), we arrive at the following values for existing trees on the site:

dbh UNITS X NUMBER OF TREES

14" 4.8x3= 14.4 18" 5.7x3= 17.1 20" 6.0x1= 6.0 36" 8.4x1= 8.4

45.9 units total

The total units, 45.9, is the EDF (Existing Density Factor). This is the density value of existing trees that will remain on the site.

Step 3. Calculate the Replacement Density Factor (RDF):

Replacement Density Factor (RDF) is determined by subtracting the EDF from the SDF. EXAMPLE: 66 (SDF) - 45.9 (EDF) = 20.1 

Sec. 10-6023. APPENDIX B LANDSCAPING & TREE SPECIES SELECTION LIST

Vines

  1. Carolina Jessamine Gelsemium Sempervirens
  2. Evergreen Clematis Clematis Armandii
  3. Jackmans Clematis Clematis Jackmanii
  4.  Boston Ivy Parthenosisus Tricuspidata
  5.  Crossvine Bignonia Capreolata
  6. Jasmine  Tracheolospermum Jasminoides

Ground Cover

  1. Spreading Yew Cephalotaxus ‘prostrata’
  2. Blue Pacific Juniperus conferta
  3. Parsoni Juniper Juniperus squamata
  4. Jap. Garden Juniper Juniperus procumbens ‘nana’
  5. Creeping Lilyturf Liriope spicata
  6. Mondo Grass Ophiopogon japonicas

Evergreen Shrubs

  1. Prunus Laurocerasus ‘Zabel’
  2. Prunus Laurocerasus
  3. Elaeagnus Ebengii
  4. Illicium Parviflorum
  5. Illicium Floridanum (Moist)
  6. Ligustrum Recurvifolium
  7. Ligustrum SP. ‘Howardii’
  8. Ternstromea Gymnanther
  9. Ilex Cornuta ‘Dwarf Burford’
  10. Ilex Cornuta ‘Needle Point’
  11. Ilex Glabra ‘Densa’
  12. Ilex Cornuta ‘Rotunda’
  13. Ilex Crenata “Green Luster’
  14. Ilex Vomitoria ‘Schillings’
  15. Aucuba Japonica

Deciduous Shrubs

  1. Rosa ‘Nearly Wild’
  2. Rosa Chinensis ‘Mutabilis’

Special Accent Trees

  1. Chinese Fringe Tree Chionanthus Retusa
  2. Crusader Hawthorn Crataegus crusgalli 'Crusader'

Deciduous Trees

  1. Columnar Red Maple Acer Rubrum ‘Columnaire’
  2. October Glory Red Maple Acer Rubrum ‘October Glory’
  3. Red Sunset Red Maple Acer Rubrum “Red Sunset’
  4. Legacy Sugar Maple Acer Saccharum ‘Legacy’
  5. Heritage River Birch Betula Nigra ‘Heritage’
  6. European Pyramidal Hornbeam Carpinus Betulus ‘Fastigiata’
  7. American Hornbeam Carpinus Caroliniana
  8. Eastern Redbud Cercis Canadensis
  9. Red Dogwood Cornus Florida ‘Cherokee Chief’
  10. White Dogwood Cornus Florida ‘Cherokee Princess’
  11. Dawn Redwood Metasquoia Glyptostroboides
  12. Mt. Fugi Cherry Prunus X ‘Mt. Fugi’
  13. Okame Cherry Prunus X ‘Okame’
  14. Autumn Cherry Prunus Subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’
  15. Weeping Cherry Prunus Subhirtella ‘Pendula’
  16. Yoshino Cherry Prunus X Yedoensis
  17. Nutall Oak Quercus Nuttallii
  18. Overcup Oak Quercus Lyrata
  19. Willow Oak Quercas Phellos
  20. Bald Cypress Taxodium Distichum
  21. Chaste Tree Vitex Agnus-Castus

Evergreen Trees

  1. Japanese Cedar Cryptomeria Japonica ‘Yoshino’
  2. Tree-Form Ligustrum Ligustrum Recurvifolium
  3. Foster Holly Ilex X Attenuata ‘Foster#2’
  4. Tree Form Yaupon Ilex V omitoria
  5. Southern Magnolia Magnolia Grandiflora
  6. Loblolly Pine (Buffer Areas) Pinus Taeda
  7. Virginia Pine (Buffer Areas) Pinus Virginian
  8. Deodar Cedar Cedrus Deodara
  9. Leyland Cypress X Cupressocyparis Leylandi
  10. Lusterleaf Holly Ilex Latifolia
  11. Emily Brunner Holly Ilex ‘Emily Brunner’
  12. Savannah Holly Ilex Paca ‘Savannah’
  13. Nellie R. Stevens Holly Ilex X ‘Nellie R. Stevens’
  14. East Palatka Holly Ilex Paca ‘East Palatka’
  15. Columnar Juniper Juniperus ‘Hetzi Columnaris’
  16. Green Giant Arborvitae Thuja Plicata ‘Green Giant’
  17. Canadian Hemlock Tsuga Canadensis
  18. Golden False Cypress Chameacyparis Pisifera
  19. Filfera ‘Aurea Nana’

Perennials

  1. Hemerocallis ‘Aztec Gold’
  2. Hosta SP.
  3. Rudbeckia Fulgida

Ornamental Grasses

  1. Miscanthus Floriulus
  2. Miscanthus Sinesis ‘Cabaret’ Cabaret Miscanthus

Sec. 10-6024. APPENDIX C FORMULA FOR DETERMINING CONTRIBUTIONS TO EAST POINT TREE BANK

The required contribution amount is $220.00 per tree density unit, based on cost of materials, labor and guarantee for trees planted in the East Point area.

Example: To determine the appropriate contribution, first calculate the Density Factor Deficient (DFD) or unit value which cannot be planted on the site.

Determine the Density Factor Deficient (DFD) using the formula: DFD = SDF - EDF - Approved RDF

Where:

SDF (Site Density Factor) = The minimum tree density required to be maintained on a developed site (30 units per acre).

Example: A 2.2 acre site will have a required Site Density Factor of 66.0 units (2.2 x 30 = 66).

EDF (Existing Density Factor) = Density of existing trees to be preserved on a site. The site has existing trees totaling 45.9 units (Existing Density Factor).

Approved RDF (Replacement Density Factor) = Density of new trees to be planted on a site. Due to space limitations, the site can only bear 15.0 units as replacement trees.

Example:

CITY OF EAST POINT ZONING ORDINANCE

Page 27 of 28

DFD = SDF – EDF – Approved RDF
DFD = 66 – 45.9 – 15
DFD = 5.1 (the number of tree density units that cannot be planted on site)

This means that the value of 5.1 tree density units must be contributed to the East Point Tree Bank. Determine the acceptable contribution amount as follows:

5.1 tree density units X $220 per tree density unit = $1,122.00 $1,122 = TOTAL CONTRIBUTION TO TREE BANK 

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