If the tree in question is on your private property and it is any species of tree other than a Torrey Pine tree or Monterey Cypress, then you can remove the tree at your own discretion with no City involvement in the matter. However, if the tree is located in the public right-of-way*, on a property within the Central Commercial Zone, on a property located in an Open Space Overlay Zone, or if the tree is a Torrey Pine or Monterey Cypress, it is considered to be “protected” by City Ordinance and a permit is required to remove the tree.
(*To get help to determine the approximate location of the public right-of-way [Public/Private edge], contact the Planning Department at (858) 755-9313.)
If the trunk of the subject tree is: 1) within 12 feet from the exterior wall of a residence; 2) within 12 feet of another protected tree; 3) less than 20 inches in circumference when measured at 24 inches above the ground; or 4) an immediate threat to public health and safety, then it may be exempt from the permit requirement. If one of these four circumstances applies, then the property owner would complete a Notice of Intent form, attach a simple plot plan and indicate which exemption applies. The exemption would then be verified by Staff via a visit to the site and signed-off as exempt.