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Tree Protection

ARE TREES IN MONTECITO PROTECTED?
Ask anyone in Montecito “What makes our community special?”  Most will agree that the greenery found throughout the community – lush landscaping and beautiful mature trees - are an essential component of what makes Montecito special.  However, most trees in Montecito are not protected from removal unless the removal is part of a development project or is located within the Coastal Zone of Montecito. 

OVERVIEW
The Montecito Community Plan (MCP) acknowledges the importance of the natural vegetation, extensive landscaping and garden atmosphere to the character and quality of the Montecito community.  It enumerates many goals, actions, policies and development standards intended to protect this aspect of community character as well as sensitive biological resources.  With respect to trees, the MCP includes very clear policy language directing the development of mechanisms to protect both non-native and native trees within Montecito; many of which have never been implemented.  While the policies of the MPC apply to development projects requiring the approval of a land use permit, there is no mechanism to limit tree removal that is independent of a development application in the inland portion of Montecito.

In 2010 the Montecito Association initiated efforts to develop a tree protection ordinance for consideration by County of Santa Barbara decision-makers.  After numerous meetings and debates, a subcommittee developed a preliminary proposal for presentation to the public and the County.  After hearing that the County did not have the funds or wherewithal to pursue an ordinance, the Association decided to table the project.