🌳 Permit Application

Parks and Recreation Department reviews tree removal applications when:

  • A tree is an imminent danger to persons and/or real property;
  • A tree removal is not associated with any planning permit entitlements.

Call The Parks and Recreation Department @ 650-595-7441 

Community Development Department reviews the following tree removal applications:


Click on the blue buttons below for regulations, requirements, protected trees, applications, and review criteria. 
(Summary of Ordinance #2017-1120)

🌳 Goals of Tree Regulations

🌳Promote the retention of native trees and the planting of native and locally acclimated trees, as these type of trees are especially valuable to the city and the urban forest as a whole.

🌳Encourage the preservation and maintenance of healthy, non-invasive trees while allowing for reasonable and conforming use of private property.

🌳Encourage the replacement of trees removed by necessity with native, drought tolerant, and locally adapted tree species.

🌳Create public awareness of the tree ordinance, and best practices for tree management.

🌳Create an efficient and cost effective tree removal permit process for trees that are:

  • Unsafe or unhealthy 
  • In poor condition
  • Cause a significant fire hazard
  • Adversely impact utilities or cause significant property damage
🌳 Permit Requirements

A permit is required to remove a “Protected Tree”, except when:

1) a city official determines that the tree poses an imminent danger to people or property;

2) a city official determines that the tree is a substantial fire hazard; or

3) the tree is planted, grown and held for sale as part of a licensed nursery business.  

🌳 Protected Trees

🌳Principal Native Trees - Coast Live Oak, Valley Oak, Redwood, Madrone, Bay Laurel, or Buckeye having a single main stem or trunk of 10 inches or more diameter at 4.5 feet above grade height (DBH), or up to three of the largest secondary stems totaling 10 inches or more DBH.

🌳City Tree - Any woody, perennial plant, regardless of size, located in a city park, a designated open space, or on any other city property. A single or multi-stemmed shrub or bush is not a city tree.

🌳Large Diameter Tree - A woody, perennial plant characterized by having a single main stem or trunk of 14 inches or more DBH, or up to three of the largest secondary stems totaling 18 inches or more DBH.

🌳Replacement tree - Any tree, regardless of size, which has been planted as required mitigation for the previous removal of another tree at the same site or elsewhere in the city.

🌳Right-of-Way Tree - A tree located in a public street right-of-way.

🌳 Review Criteria

The reviewing authority must base its determination to approve, conditionally approve or deny an application for a tree removal permit on a balancing of specific Criteria supporting retention or removal of the tree (i.e., the tree’s species, condition, and location, proximity of the tree to existing or proposed structures, etc.); however, the reviewing authority is required to issue a permit to remove the following trees without consideration of these criteria:

🌳Blue Gum Eucalyptus
(Eucalyptus globulus)

🌳Dwarf Blue Gum Eucalyptus
(Eucalyptus globulus 'Compacta')

🌳Monterey Pine

🌳Palm (all species)

🌳Acacia (all species)

🌳A dead tree (any species)

🌳Any tree that a public utility is required to remove under California Public Utility Commission regulations.

🌳 Replanting Requirements/In-lieu Fees

For each Protected Tree removed, the applicant must plant a “Preferred Species Tree”, minimum 15 gallons, or pay an “in-lieu of planting fee” established by the City Council. 

Preferred Species trees include:

🌳 Principal native trees, as defined in the Tree Ordinance; and

🌳 Native or locally acclimated tree species designated as preferred species trees by the City Manager (in consultation with the City Arborist).  The list of Preferred Species Trees is provided on the City’s website.