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Trees in Independence are addressed differently depending on their location or purpose on a site in the City, their size, and if they have been designated as a historic resource.
Tree Standards and Protection
Maintaining and expanding the tree inventory holds multiple benefits for the City of Independence. The retention of trees and wooded areas, and the establishment of street trees add to the livability of the community by enhancing its aesthetic beauty, minimizing surface water and groundwater run-off and diversion, filtering noise and air pollution and promoting soil stability.
Because uncontrolled cutting or destruction of trees within the City decreases the community's livability, it is in the public interest to control the cutting of trees and to protect trees from damage.
Historic tree designations have been made by the Independence Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) as trees of significance to the City of Independence. The significance may be related to a historic event, uniqueness of shape or species, location, age or functionality. Removal of a historic tree must be approved at a public hearing of the HPC based on the criteria under demolition of historic resources listed in the Independence Municipal Code Chapter 15.8. Contact the HPC liaison at City Hall to determine if you have a historic tree on your property.
[The City has a Historic/Landmark Tree List that is currently being reviewed by the HPC. It will be made available on-line at a later date.]
An owner is free to trim historic trees and take any necessary steps to preserve them. However, if an owner wishes to remove a historic tree on their property, they must complete an Application for Certificate of Appropriateness and submit the application to the HPC for a public hearing. The application must also include a written statement from a Certified Arborist describing why removal of the tree is necessary (i.e., diseased, dead, or imminent hazard).
Trees in the planter strip located between the sidewalk and the street, and often trees located within 10 feet of the front property line are street trees. If a street tree has been removed by the property owner, it must be replaced at a ratio of one to one from the City's Approved Street Tree List. Once you've planted a new tree, you should know how to care for it. Please check the city's Street Trees and Shrubs ordinance for more information.