In response to some recent queries and confusion over the City of Belmont's Tree Ordinance, tree board chair Kenn Parsons clarifies a few misconceptions in a Myth vs. Fact format.
Parsons explains, "The objective of the Tree Ordinance is to balance the rights of property owners with the community benefits of a diverse urban forest. Here are a few of the myths, and the real facts:"
Myth: “Belmont over-regulates trees!” Fact: Of 23 cities on the Peninsula, 21 regulate tree removal. Belmont’s standards fall in the mid-range of these cities.
Myth: “Belmont regulates every single tree!” Fact: Only trees 10 inches diameter or larger are regulated; this is about the size of a telephone pole.
Myth: “Permits are expensive!” Fact: Permits cost only $75 total, and include all trees on one permit.
Myth: “Bad trees can’t be removed!” Fact: You will be guaranteed a permit for any tree that is diseased, damaged, or posing a threat to property… or is Eucalyptus, Monterey Pine, or Acacia.
Myth: “Pruning requires a permit!” Fact: Pruning does NOT require a permit.
Myth: “My neighbor will make me cut down my trees for their view!” Fact: Belmont does NOT require residents to remove/prune trees to provide their neighbors a view.
Parsons says some residents confuse the tree removal permit – which is for routine property maintenance - with development fees for new construction. He stresses that development fees are not charged for routine tree maintenance.
Belmont is recognized by the National Arbor Society as a “Tree City”. Belmont’s vision statement says, “Our wooded residential areas are diverse, peaceful and well maintained.”