Programs

21st Century Ordinance Builder for Tree Preservation in Land Development: Advanced Components

This resource is an extension of the entry-level components for building a 21st century ordinance for tree preservation in land development.

Content Detail

The following advanced component sections add to the core of your community’s ordinance.

These 11 components go above and beyond the Entry-Level Tree Preservation components but are highly recommended for inclusion in a   development code. Within each component, there are basic, recommended, and aspirational uses, meaning your governmental entity can make advances to protect the urban forest as your community develops.

Designate higher degrees of protection for natural areas.

Component definition: Specifies additional rules, regulations, or exceptions for areas designated for conservation areas, protected areas, areas in a particular natural state, historical context, or areas designated for special preservation. Establishing a conservation or preservation area may in some cases best be handled through rezoning the area in question to a zoning district designation that limits the ability to develop the area. Your community could also implement a zoning overlay district, which retains the underlying zoning designation of an area, but adds provisions that could encourage or incentivize conservation design in certain areas. (See Conservation Design).

Importance: Many landscape ordinances focus on individual site plans rather than the larger ecosystems that can be impacted. Designating conservation or preservation areas can bring a more holistic approach to protecting ecosystems. Specially designated conservation or preservation areas may be managed differently from other land uses and, as such, certain requirements may apply for their protection and care. The requirements may be as simple as “no impact” or as specific as required invasive species management, protection of drainage, restrictions on planting, or requirements of only planting specific species. Damage or impacts to these areas may also require intensive mitigation, restoration, or significant fines.

Notes: It is important to review the source of the restriction and identify whether it is based in state or local law (e.g., ordinances) or a private restrictive covenant. The regulations and the ability to modify them will change based on the source of the restriction. Best practice is to ensure the boundaries of conservation areas are well marked (e.g., stakes, flags) to avoid accidental disturbance or damage. It is also important to review local, regional, and state plans to determine if there are any conflicts or unique situations that should be considered, e.g. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan, Oak Ecosystem Recovery Plan, OnTo 2050 Plan, watershed plans, etc.

Levels for suggested use:

  • The language for the preservation and protection of conservancy areas may be outlined on the plat of subdivision and, if so, that language should be used. If not, language recognizing the special significance of the area and the requirement that it be protected from any impact should be stated. When a conservation or preservation area is impacted, bonds for repair or mitigation are required from the offender. A list of restoration requirements may be placed in an urban forest management plan or other supplemental document or in the penalties and fees component of the code.

  • The language for the preservation and protection of conservancy areas may be outlined on the plat of subdivision and, if so, that language should be used as a minimum with additional protections provided by the governmental entity. These protections would outline the prohibition of any adverse impact and may include language such as “it is prohibited that any structures (permanent or temporary) shall be placed in the conservancy areas and that the removal of trees, brush, plant materials, or coarse woody debris within these areas is prohibited unless prior approval is granted.” When a conservation or preservation area is impacted, bonds for repair or mitigation are required from the offender. A list of restoration requirements may be placed in a supplemental document or in the penalties and fees component of the code.

    Examples:

    No sodding, seeding, or grading, either excavation or filling or otherwise shall take place within a designated conservancy area. Buildings or structures, either permanent or temporary, shall not be placed within a conservancy area. The removal or addition of any trees, brush, plant material or coarse woody debris within these areas is prohibited unless prior approval is granted by the Environmental Services Supervisor.

    It shall be unlawful for any persons to store yard wastes, including by not limited to grass clippings, compost piles, or firewood in any conservancy or buffer area.

    Disturbed conservancy areas shall be immediately restored in accordance with the conservancy area restoration guidelines outlined in the Lincolnshire Village Code upon written request from the Village.

    [Lincolnshire, IL]

  • The language for the preservation and protection of conservancy areas may be outlined on the plat of subdivision and, if so, that language should be used as a minimum with additional protections provided by the governmental entity. These protections would outline the prohibition of any adverse impact and may include language such as “it is prohibited that any structures (permanent or temporary) shall be placed in the conservancy areas and that the removal of trees, brush, plant materials, or coarse woody debris within these areas is prohibited unless prior approval is granted.” Additionally, requirements may be included for the conservation or preservation of the area (e.g., removal of invasive species), and when a conservation or preservation area is impacted, bonds for repair or mitigation are required from the impacting party. A list of restoration requirements may be placed in an urban forest management plan or other supplemental document including the penalties and fees components of the code.
    Examples:

    1.10 SPECIAL RULES FOR CONSERVANCY OR PRESERVATION AREAS

    If a Conservancy or Preservation Area is impacted in any way, the following restitution shall be charged to the offender:

    1. A cash bond (in addition to the Tree Permit Bond) is required for every one thousand square feet of Conservancy or Preservation Area as defined in the Fee Section of the Code.
    2. The purpose of this deposit is to pay for restoration of the Conservancy or Preservation Area damaged directly or indirectly as a result of the impact. All restoration shall be in accordance with the Conservancy Area Restoration Guide contained in this Code.
    3. Any maintenance made necessary as a result of impact, including but not limited to the removal of dead trees or preventative measures such as root pruning or crown reduction of existing trees.
    4. Any expenses incurred by the governmental entity, as a result of the impact in administering or enforcing the provisions of this Code.
    5. The Cash Bond will be refunded one year after the repairs have been made and all maintenance is completed.

    [CRTI Gold Template]

     

    Definition – Conservancy area – Any area designated by the Village, state agency, or by Village approved subdivision or restriction, to be kept in a particular natural state or for special environmental preservation or control.

    13-1-9: Conservancy Areas

    If a Conservancy Area is, or may be, affected by any development, as determined by the Village, the following shall apply:

    1. Restoration of designated “Conservancy Areas” damaged, whether during development or after occupancy, shall comply with the minimum requirements outlined in Appendix “B” of this Chapter.
    2. Deposit: A cash deposit (in addition to any Tree Removal cash deposit) is required for every one thousand (1000) square feet, or part thereof, of Conservancy Area impacted by development, as defined in the Comprehensive Fee Schedule Chapter 15 Title 1 of the Village Code.
    3. Purpose of Deposit: The purpose of the deposit is to pay for:
      1. A guarantee of the restoration of Conservancy Areas damaged directly or indirectly as a result of development, in accordance with the “Conservancy Area Restoration Requirements” contained in Appendix B of this Chapter.
      2. Any maintenance made necessary as a result of development or restoration, including but not limited to the removal of dead trees or preventative measures such as root pruning or crown reduction of existing trees.
      3. Any expenses incurred by the Village, as a result of the development or restoration, in administering or enforcing the provisions of this Code.
    4. Refunding of Deposit: Any remaining amount in the cash deposit will be refunded one year after the Certificate of Occupancy is issued or one year after the public improvements are accepted by the Village Board in cases where a Certificate of Occupancy is not to be issued as outlined in Section 13-1-3-D.
    5. Maintenance Restrictions: No sodding, or grading, either excavation or filling shall take place within a designated conservancy area. Fences, building or structures, either permanent or temporary, shall not be placed within a conservancy area. It shall be unlawful for any persons to store yard waste in a conservancy area, including but not limited to grass clippings, compost piles, landscape brush or firewood. The removal or addition of any trees, brush or plant materials within a designated conservancy is prohibited unless prior approval is granted by the Village. Buckthorn is permitted to be removed from a conservancy area on a case by case basis at the discretion of Village Staff.

    [Lincolnshire, IL]

Include incentives to preserve trees in development.

Component definition: Some communities may desire to offer developers the opportunity to save money or time if they meet certain standards for low impact development. For example, they may qualify for higher density provisions in their permit if they abide by conservation design standards. Your governmental entity may offer tree credits, which assigns points for protected trees and provides for reduced costs to developers for other fees, reducing the amount of mitigation required for removed trees or expedited permit processing.

Importance: Tree credit systems are a way to encourage protection of trees rather than requiring developers to replace trees. As discussed in other components, large mature trees provide more benefits, making protection more beneficial to a governmental entity than replacement.

Levels for suggested use:

  • Same as Recommended.

  • The governmental entity assigns points for each protected tree that is preserved on a site and subtracts points for each protected tree that is removed. Negative credit totals require mitigation through replacement or fee payment.

    Examples:

    Tree Preservation Credit. A credit of $150 per caliper inch will be applied towards a project’s tree mitigation fee for every healthy (fair to good) native tree preserved on site. Preservation credit shall be for the preservation of native Illinois trees only, or as determined by the Development Services Department. A Tree Preservation Credit shall never exceed the tree mitigation fee amount. Adherence to a Village approved Tree Preservation Plan shall be required for projects awarded tree preservation credit. A line item in the amount of the tree preservation credit will be applied to a project’s letter of credit, which will be reduced to zero after written verification from a Certified Arborist that the preserved tree(s) are still in good to fair condition at least one year after issuance of a project’s certificate of occupancy. Preservation credit shall not be applied towards any other fee other than tree mitigation fees.

    [Orland Park, IL]

  • The governmental entity assigns points for each protected tree that is preserved on a site and subtracts points for each protected tree that is removed. Negative credit totals require mitigation through replacement or fee payment. Additionally, tree credits are proactively granted for the planting of trees that can be used against future removals.

    Examples:13-1-14: Tree Planting Credit

    1. The Village will award tree credits to property owners who proactively plant trees on their property. This tree credit may be used to off-set future tree replacements when trees are removed on the same parcel. Trees planted for credit will only be credited for future replacements and only those trees appropriately recorded by the Village may be used for credit.Following is the tree credit criteria:
    2. Trees shall have a replacement value equal to the Equivalent Value described in Section 13-1-4-E.
    3. Trees to be planted on the property must be a minimum of 2.5” in DBH or if clump or coniferous variety shall be a minimum planting height of 8 feet at the time of planting.
    4. Tree species must be selected for appropriate locations to support their growth and development.
    5. Trees planted for credit shall be verified by the Village.
    6. Credit will only be given for tree planting if:
      1. The tree is tagged and verified on the property within the year it was planted.
      2. The tree is the minimum required size at time of verification.
      3. The tree species is appropriate for its location.
      4. The tree is of good form and health at the time of tree removal for which the owner applies for replacement credit.
    7. Village Staff shall tag the tree and record the date, tree planting location and tree number on the property survey. A property tree credit record shall be maintained in the property file for future reference.
    8. When a tree replacement is required, the property owner shall request that the Village verify credit plantings from the property file and on the property.
    9. Trees, planted for credit, must be in good form and health at the time of replacement credit. Trees in poor condition or form will not be credited.
    10. The Village shall field verify for growth and the size. The DBH at time of replacement shall be the credit applied.
    11. A tree credit will only be given once for each individual tree planted regardless of its size. For example: Two Appendix A credit trees are planted at 3” DBH. Within a year’s time the trees are 5” in DBH each. That same year the property owner wishes to remove another Appendix A tree that is 8” in DBH. The two credit trees are valued at 10” and the tree to be removed is valued at 8”. The two credit trees will be used as replacement for the 8” removal. No further credit will be given for the two credit trees.

    [Lincolnshire, IL]

Establish rules to protect exceptional trees.

Component definition: Special, enhanced protection given to trees that meet specific requirements.

Importance: Programs like this help to fulfill important cultural, place specific, and often intangible importance and characteristics of heritage trees vis a vis community pride, identification, history, or other important community characteristics.

Notes: This component is highly tied to Applicability and Scope. A number of classifications may be used, including but not limited to…

  • Specimen: A tree of exceptional size, form, or rarity
  • Historic: A tree recognized by virtue of its age, association with or contribution to, a historic structure or districts, or its association with a noted person or event
  • Landmark: Trees that are landmarks of a community
  • Collection: Trees in a notable grove, avenue, or other planting
  • Site history: Undeveloped, preserved, etc

Levels for suggested use:

  • The ordinance establishes a nomination program that allows property owners to submit trees on their property to be designated as legacy trees. Participation in the program is voluntary. Preserving and protecting legacy trees is encouraged, but not required.

    Examples:

    Nomination of each tree to be considered for legacy tree designation may be made by any resident of the City of Urbana, including an individual member of the Urbana Tree Commission. Any tree located on a property owner’s property may be nominated. The nominator shall submit a completed nomination form to the city arborist. In the case of any property owner who is receiving or who has applied to receive financial or other assistance from the city in connection with the redevelopment of the property or demolition of any structure located on such property shall be deemed, by reason of such receipt or application, to authorize the city arborist to inspect the trees located on such property in order to determine whether any tree located thereon qualifies for legacy tree status.

    The property owner of the property for which redevelopment or demolition assistance is being received or for which such assistance has been sought shall be encouraged to cooperate with the city’s efforts to preserve and protect those trees located on the said property which would otherwise qualify for legacy tree status. On receiving a nomination, the city arborist shall contact, in writing, the property owner on which the nominated tree is located to inform the said property owner of the nomination and request the property owner’s consent to evaluate and potentially designate the property owner’s tree as a legacy tree. If the nominated tree is on property owned by the City of Urbana, the city arborist shall inform the director of public works of the nomination and request consent from the said director to evaluate and potentially designate the tree as a legacy tree. If the nominated tree is on property owned by the Urbana Park District, the city arborist shall inform the Urbana Park D