The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to have the Urban Forestry Division determine methods to preserve the city’s trees and habitat areas.

Councilmen Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin put forth the proposal, which was unanimously approved, to find ways to limit damage to trees during development and possibly add more trees.

Koretz said their motion originated from concerns raised by residents in Bel Air, Laurel Canyon and Mandeville Canyon about how trees are too easily removed by developers even before development permit applications are submitted.

“The effort to strengthen our Protected Tree Ordinance grew out of and was shaped by meetings I had with hillside community members who are more than concerned to see our protected trees falling prey to unscrupulous developers under saw blades and bulldozers, when they are supposed to be protected by city ordinance,” Koretz said.

Residents also had concerns that trees were not being protected during construction activities, and building permits are routinely issued without the Department of Building and Safety being aware of the presence of protected trees on the affected properties, according to the councilmen.

“Protecting and expanding our urban forest is imperative,” Bonin said. “Trees beautify our neighborhoods. Trees provide vital shade cover to people when they are outdoors. As we work to increase the number of trees in Los Angeles, we need to be far more aggressive in protecting existing trees.”

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