Sep. 11—Hello Johnnie: I read a letter from Tree Hugger in your Aug. 22 column and your response. At one time I learned it is against city code to plant a tree or allow a tree to grow within 9 feet of one's property line (ignored by many). Is it still an item in city code?
I also wonder, whatever happened to the code for taking care of yard or tree debris from one's property on sidewalks and gutters to prevent clogging of storm drains (also ignored by most)? — Just Wondering
Hello Wondering: My first thought was that if allowing a tree to grow within 9 feet of one's property line is against city code, then I and most of my neighbors — in fact, most of the city's homeowners — are in violation.
Just to be sure, I checked with the city.
"To my knowledge there has never been a code creating a setback from property lines for planting trees," Code Enforcement Manager Dane Hermsen said in an email reply.
Hermsen noted that the city does not allow sidewalk obstructions, "but there isn't anything specific for raking up fallen leaves."
Wondering, if you're wondering what the rules are in regard to clearance for trees, here they are, as found in Section 13.24.030:
"It shall be the obligation of the owner of any property to remove, trim, or otherwise treat trees and plants which:
"A. Project into or encroach upon any public right-of-way in such a manner as to interfere with, obstruct, or endanger the safe public use of the right-of-way for pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
"B. Fail to provide clearance over streets and alleys of at least 15 feet and over sidewalks of at least eight feet.
"C. Block the visibility of a street light or traffic control device as defined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, such as a traffic regulatory sign or street identification sign.
"D. Create a sight distance triangle obstruction. See forestry services standards and specifications for diagrams and additional information.
"E. Grow within three feet of a fire hydrant."
Here are the rules on "sight distance triangle obstruction."
"These areas shall be free from trees, shrubs and other plants greater than three (3) feet in height, when measured from the grade of the roadway, which would block the intersection sight distance.
"—At the intersection of any two streets, or where a street intersects with an alley: A triangle measuring thirty (30) feet along each curb or edge of roadway from their point of intersection, the third side being a diagonal line connecting the first two. The City may require a greater distance in certain high volume or high speed traffic intersections.
"—At the intersection of a private access point and street: A triangle measuring fifteen (15) feet in length along the edge of the driveway and along the curb or edge of roadway from their point of intersection, the third side being a diagonal line connecting the first two (2)."
Send questions to email@example.com.