The City Council recognizes that both outward views and sunlight onto properties contribute greatly to the quality of life in Laguna Beach. The View Preservation and Restoration ordinance establishes a right for property owners to preserve selected viewing locations and restore pre-existing views that have been impaired by trees or other vegetation. The ordinance is managed by Tony Farr, Associate Planner (email@example.com) under the supervision of the Director of Community Development. Tony is responsible for processing view claims and working directly with the claimant and the vegetation owner; provides staff support to the mediator and to the View Restoration Committee.
Generally dense vegetation that forms a barrier or fence that lies in the front, rear or side yard setback and diminishes sunlight, obstructs views or is a safety hazard related to ingress or egress from a property may be subject to a hedge height claim filing.
The City of Laguna Beach encourages property owner to retain, maintain, and preserve the aesthetic character and health of significant trees on their property. Certain trees may be designated as Heritage Trees because of their size, age, unique features, or significance to the character and history of the city.
The Preservation and Heritage Tree ordinance (LBMC Chapter 12.08) establishes a process for the designation of significant trees in the City as Heritage trees. The process begins when property owners nominate trees for evaluation. The ordinance establishes criteria to evaluate significant trees for inclusion on the list and provides incentives to property owners whose trees receive Heritage Tree designation from the City Council.
Heritage trees in public areas are maintained by the Public Works Department. Heritage trees on private property are assessed and regulated by the Department of Community Development.
Heritage Tree List (Revised 1-21-20) - Exempt from View Restoration
Trees add to the scenic beauty and character of our community. They also prevent erosion, decrease wind, counteract pollutants, and help maintain a climatic balance. Private property owners, for a variety of reasons, may decide to remove trees, including Heritage trees, design review approved trees, or privately maintained trees in the public right-of-way adjacent to their property.
Tree Removal Notification List
Private Trees Under Evaluation for Removal
Each resident shares in the responsibility of being a good steward to the urban landscape. Recognizing the importance of proper tree trimming and establishing a maintenance schedule to preserve the aesthetics and the health of our trees is fundamental to maintaining our urban forest. View corridors to the ocean and to the mountains, significant components to our unique Laguna character, are easily incorporated into each property owner's tree trimming and maintenance program.
Parcels with a landscape plan approved through the design review process with maximum height limits established must trim the tree in accordance with the conditions on the approved plan. The City suggests that property owners with questions about trimming trees and other vegetation on their property consult with a certified arborist who can develop a pruning plan and maintenance schedule specific to the species and age of the trees while considering the site conditions on the parcel.