Do I need City approval to prune my trees?

It depends. There are provisions within the SMP that allow for pruning without permission. Vegetation management standards do not apply to maintenance of existing residential landscaping. Maintenance trimming of vegetation that has a main stem or supporting structure less than three inches in diameter - except for tree topping - is specifically exempt from vegetation management standards. Minor pruning within the shoreline buffer, including thinning of larger branches to enhance views, is allowed with a clearing permit. A clearing permit can be obtained for no cost - in many cases over-the-counter - from the Department of Planning and Community Development at City Hall.

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1. Hasn’t the City’s SMP been challenged and overturned in court?
2. Aren’t requirements for shoreline buffers and setbacks a “taking” of private property rights?
3. We keep hearing that the SMP has drastically lowered our property values and will make it extremely difficult to sell our home. Is this true?
4. Can I be fined for not getting City approval for everyday activities?
5. Do I need City approval to maintain my yard?
6. Can I make changes in my garden without City approval?
7. Do I need City approval to prune my trees?
8. If I remove a hazard tree (dead, diseased or dying), do I have to leave it in my yard?
9. Is the goal of the SMP to phase out all single-family docks over time?
10. Is the intent of the SMP to phase out all homes & docks on the shoreline over time?
11. Can I replace my bulkhead under the new SMP?
12. I keep hearing that the new SMP made virtually every home along the shore “non-conforming.” Is this true?
13. How is my existing shoreline home affected by the new buffer standards in the updated SMP?
14. Can I rebuild my house in the same location if it burns down?
15. If my home is unoccupied for 12 months in a row, do I forfeit the right to live in my house?