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    4.    
Planning Commission Regular
Meeting Date: 01/18/2018  
Subject:    PC 17-41, Ordinance amendment to require an inspection prior to tree removal in the Mississippi River Critical Corridor Area
From: Scott Harlicker, Planner

INTRODUCTION
A proposed ordinance amendment to require a site inspection prior to tree removal in the Mississippi River Critical Corridor Area.
ACTIONS
Conduct a public hearing
Recommendation by Planning Commission
Introduction by City Council on: February 7
60 DAY RULE
N/A
LOCATION

N/A
DISCUSSION
Background

In the Mississippi River Critical Corridor Area (MRCCA) there are specific requirements regarding tree removal. The code prohibits clear cutting of trees on the slope or face of a bluff, within 40 feet of creeks and riverbanks and within 40 feet landward of the top of the bluff. Selective cutting of trees greater than 4 inches is allowed when authorized by the City. There is an exception to the clear cutting and selective cutting regulations; the removal of diseased or damaged trees and vegetation removal required for development. This exception has been used to clear cut two lots over the summer. The single family lots were redeveloped and the trees between the new home and the river were removed. The owners stated the trees were diseased, dead or damaged. City staff inspection was not required prior to the tree removal and city staff did not have have an opportunity to verify the condition of the trees prior to their removal. The two homes are currently under construction and both property owners have agreed to provide landscape plans; we have received one plan to date.

Proposed Amendment

The proposed code change will require city staff inspection prior to the removal of  diseased or damaged trees, as well as vegetation proposed to be removed for development, within the MRCCA. City staff, including the City Forester, will verify the condition of the trees to be removed prior to their removal. The proposed amendment is in line with the existing requirement that city staff approve any selective cutting plan. The proposed change will apply to all lots within the MRCCA, including the non-reparian lots.
RECOMMENDATION
In Planning Case 17-41, the Planning Commission move to recommend approval the proposed ordinance amendment requiring City Forester approval prior to tree removal within the Mississippi River Critical Corridor Area.

Attachments
Proposed Amendment

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