Development Process & Trees


If you are planning to remodel/rebuild, add on to, build a new home, or intend to relocate your driveway or walkway, contact the Development Center to initiate your project into the development review and permitting process. Once your project is enrolled, you will be assigned a point-of-contact project manager who will guide you through the review and permitting process.  

If you have specific questions about your project as it relates to tree issues, you can contact the Urban Forestry Section and discuss your project's potential tree impacts with the Urban Forester or Landscape Architect.   

During the development process, staff will require any tree work to be noted on the submitted plans, or, if no public tree work is required, a note from the Urban Forestry Section must accompany the plans. The Landscape Architect in the Urban Forestry Section is the liaison for the Urban Forester whose responsibility includes coordinating and implementing all street tree and private tree concerns during the development process. If there are existing trees at the project location, you will be required to protect trees from construction impacts and erect tree protection according to Tree Protection guidelines detailed in the Tree Technical Manual (please see Tree Protection). Depending on the type of project, you may be required to replace existing and/or add new trees along the property’s frontage. 

The Urban Forestry Section staff is involved in residential and commercial development projects to preserve existing trees, to create sites for new trees, and to ensure that our urban forest remains healthy and continues to provide environmental services to our community for many years.  Tree site location is an important factor in maximizing long-term tree survival.  The City recommends that trees are planted at least ten feet from any existing underground utility or walkway/driveway.  Similarly, no new utilities or paving may be placed within ten feet of an existing tree.  Following these guidelines not only gives trees an opportunity to reach maturity, but it also prevents hardscape and utility damage and reduces the need for expensive procedures to mitigate root damage. 

Contact the Urban Forestry Section staff at 650-469-5953 to arrange for a site visit.