Guidelines for Developing and Evaluating Tree Ordinances

Part 2. Drafting an ordinance

After working through the steps outlined in Developing a Community Forest Management Strategy , your community may find that a tree ordinance is necessary to further its urban forestry goals. This section is designed to assist you in drafting an ordinance that addresses your specific goals. Tree ordinances are typically made up of provisions that can roughly be separated into two categories, namely basic provisions and provisions for specific goals. You can produce a draft ordinance by combining the necessary basic provisions with the appropriate goal-oriented provisions. You may also decide to develop other provisions to address goals unique to your community.

We recommend that simple prose be used in the initial draft ordinance. The draft ordinance should then be submitted to municipal legal staff for review. We have provided an explanation of the purpose of each ordinance provision, a list of its key elements, and notes on its use and implications, and example text from existing ordinances. Many of the existing examples are from the California communities (Bernhardt and Swiecki 1991), but we will be adding additional examples from throughout the country as this web site is developed further. For a few provisions, we have not yet found good existing examples and have composed example text. We have sometimes omitted (shown by ...) or added (shown by brackets []) code where we deemed it appropriate.

All example provisions are provided for illustration, and are not necessarily "model" provisions. We recommend that you use the examples, key elements, and notes as a starting point for developing language that is suited to meet your local needs. We realize that the 37 provisions described here may not cover every situation. If you are aware of specific provisions that are regionally important or particularly exemplary that you would like to have included here, please contact us using the link below.