Heritage Tree Removal Permits

As required under Larkspur Municipal Code Section 12.16, the City of Larkspur requires a Heritage Tree Removal Permit to remove a heritage tree, or otherwise materially changes the physical circumstances relating to a heritage tree. A heritage tree is defined as: Any live tree which has a trunk with a circumferences of fifty (50) inches or more, measured at twenty-four inches above the natural grade. In the case of multi-trunk trees, the circumference of each trunk is to be measured in the manner previously described, and the circumference of each trunk is to be added to obtain the total circumference of the tree. Information on the application, public notice, and possible hearing process is provided below.

Heritage Tree Removal Applications Must Include:

1. A completed application form and tree removal permit process handout.

2.  A report and recommendation from a qualified arborist stating reasons for removal and circumference.

3.  A map or drawing of the property site showing the location of the tree(s) and photo(s) of the tree(s). Place a ribbon around the tree(s).

Complete the required application form and either:

  • Email to LarkspurBuilding@cityoflarkspur.org and pay by Visa or MasterCard (3% credit card processing fee applies). Credit Card Authorization Form. We can no longer take credit card information over the phone.
  • Mail the application and check payment to City Hall (attn.: Building Department).
  • Drop off the application and check into the brown metal box attached to the wall located to the right of City Hall's front door.

Fees will be waived, and no hearing will be required, for the following:

1. Emergency Removal: poses an immediate hazard; found to be a danger to life or property (requires investigation, verification, and approval by the Fire Department and/or Building Division staff before issuance of a permit).

2. Fire Prone Tree: Fire prone trees are defined as Acacia (any over 50 feet in height), Arborvitae, California Bay, Bishop Pine, Cedars, Coulter Pine, Cypress, Douglas Fir, Eucalyptus Species (Blue Gum and Red Gum), False Cypress, Gray Pine, Junipers, Knobcone Pine, Larch Trees, Monterey Pine, Spruces, Torrey Pine, and Yew. (Requires investigation, verification, and approval by the Fire Department prior to issuance of a permit).

3. Planning Commission Approvals: Tree removals approved in conjunction with projects approved by the Planning Commission that include heritage tree removal. (Requires verification and approval by Planning Division Staff before the issuance of a permit).

4. Public Right-of-Way: Projects approved by Department of Public Works that include heritage tree removal. (Requires investigation, verification, and approval by Public Works staff before the issuance of a permit).

5. Sudden Oak Death: With permit application, provide an arborist report substantiating the tree is affected with Sudden Oak Death. (Requires investigation, verification, and approval by the Fire Department and/or Building Division Staff before the issuance of a permit).

Note: Heritage trees that pose a hazard in terms of disease, fire danger, or instability, may be removed without need for fees or a hearing. as described below. You can contact the Central Marin Fire Department (tlando@centralmarinfire.org) in advance of submitting a permit for help determining if a heritage tree on your property may qualify for removal under the hazardous and/or fire-prone tree guidelines.

Hearing Process

Unless approved for any of the five (5) conditions above, a public notice giving a brief overview of the application and arborist report is mailed to property owners within 300 feet of the subject property.

If no written protest is received within 15 days, the application may be approved; the applicant will receive an issued permit to post onsite.

Before issuance, the tree removal contractor must complete, sign and date the workers compensation, construction lending agency declaration, and licensed contractor declaration sections of the tree removal application (page 2) and obtain a current business license with the City of Larkspur.

If a written protest is received within 15 days, the applicant will be notified.

The application is then scheduled for a public hearing before the Parks and Recreation Commission. The Parks and Recreation Director will create a notice for the hearing which is mailed to the property owners within 300 feet of the subject property.

After hearing from the applicant and the public, the Commission makes a decision to either approve or deny the application. There is a 10-day period after the decision during which an appeal can be made to the City Council.

For more information, see Larkspur Municipal Code Chapter 12.16 - Trees Including Heritage Trees.