An emergency tree preservation ordinance was adopted unanimously Tuesday by the La Canada Flintridge City Council.
The measure, which became effective Wednesday, sets legal guidelines for pruning and trimming trees. The city planning staff will determine the amount of fines for violations.
During a public study session, the council heard from the committee that drafted the ordinance. Slides taken over the past six months showed many examples of tree damage from extensive pruning. A number of private construction sites were shown on which large trees had been removed before grading.
The ordinance pertains to trees in private front yards, side yards of corner lots and within three feet of back-yard property lines. It designates that trees at least one foot in diameter at a point four feet above the ground be protected. The council also may protect other trees by designating them "heritage trees."
Property owners will be required to obtain permits before removing or pruning such trees. For oaks, trimming may not remove more than 10% of the foliage. The limit for other protected trees is 20%.