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For Immediate Release

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors extend temporary ban on tree removals

SANTA ROSA, CA | January 23, 2024

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today extended a temporary moratorium on removing protected trees for another four months. The urgency ordinance is needed while Permit Sonoma continues work on an updated Tree Protection Ordinance. The board on December 12 directed staff to make changes to the Tree Ordinance and adopted the 45-day moratorium as a placeholder. Today’s vote extends the moratorium until May 31.

“Trees and woodlands are essential elements of Sonoma County’s rural and urban lands,” said Supervisor Rabbitt, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “We need more time to get the Tree Protection Ordinance right. This moratorium will ensure that no protected trees are removed in the meantime.”

The moratorium prohibits the removal of 31 species of protected trees 6 inches in diameter or greater at breast height, with limited exceptions, including to avoid immediate danger, to maintain evacuation routes and for fire safety activities like maintaining defensible space.

The original Tree Protection Ordinance, adopted in 1989, is being updated to increase climate resiliency by preserving the county’s tree and forest resources. The policies will help the county achieve the objective of carbon neutrality by 2030 by maximizing carbon sequestration. Proposed updates to the Tree Protection Ordinance include greater mitigation measures and costs for removing protected species based on the appraised value of the tree.

In developing the tree policy, Permit Sonoma has conducted an extensive three-year outreach campaign including eight public meetings with representatives of more than 30 stakeholder groups and a community survey with more than 500 respondents. The Board of Supervisors is expected to consider the updated Tree Protection Ordinance before the moratorium expires on May 31.

Media Contact:
Matt Brown, Communications Specialist
(707) 565-3040
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403