The City of Laguna Beach recently adopted a Tree Removal Ordinance to establish protection of the urban forest in the City by requiring a permit be issued before the removal of private trees in three categories. This ordinance is in effect starting Thursday, July 26, 2018.

“My world is better for the trees about me,” says Laguna Nursery’s Ruben Flores. “We need to all understand the true value of each tree, and this new ordinance will – hopefully – start the education process.”

The eucalyptus trees by Ruby’s are almost gone.

You need a permit to remove a tree if it can be classified within any of the three categories below:

Category I: Heritage trees. Do you have a designated Heritage tree on your property that you are considering removing?

Category II: Design Review approved trees. Are the trees on your property part of a landscape plan approved through the Design Review process and you would like to remove and replace some of the trees?

Tree Removal Permits are required prior to the removal of certain trees!

Category III: Trees privately maintained in the public right of way. Is there a tree in the public right of way adjacent to your property that you maintain and would like to replace?

If the answer to any of these questions is YES, then you need to obtain a Tree Removal Permit from the Laguna Beach Department of Community Development prior to removal of the tree. The ordinance establishes fines and penalties in the event that trees are removed without first obtaining a permit. The fines increase substantially with tree size, Heritage tree designation and number of violations within a 12-month period.

Beautiful Banyon trees at Main Beach are getting lopped down, branch by branch

The ordinance also recognizes the importance of sustaining Laguna’s urban forest, so replanting the tree identified for removal with a suitable replacement tree is a requirement of the permit process.

If you are unsure if your tree requires a permit for removal or for more information on the tree removal permit process, see the Tree Removal Permit page on the City’s website at or stop by the Community Development desk located at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave.

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