Q: What is “Redo Tree Guarantee LA”?

A: A website dedicated to the city’s Tree Guarantee Ordinance, which went into effect July 5, 2018. The “Plan” for the Ordinance is posted on The Ordinance page. Our notes are contained in green boxes and reference language highlighted in yellow. We point out many of its flaws and suggest amendments (with citations!).

Q: Why?

A: Because our research has uncovered that this Ordinance is deeply flawed. It is literally impossible for the public to verify if it is being followed or not (we tried!). For example, in-lieu fees collected from developers are supposed to be used to plant and maintain replacement trees near their projects, but there is no way to verify if this is happening (we looked!). Additionally, there is no available listing of fees already collected, broken down by location.

We are advocating for new and better ways the process of compliance checking can be systematized and streamlined to advance civic action towards the intended policy outcome, which is ultimately, a healthier urban forest.

Q: What can the public do to help fix this Ordinance?

A: Learn more about the Ordinance and its flaws by checking out The Ordinance page. If you feel inspired to take action, jump to our “What Can I Do?” page.

Q: Who is behind this website?

A: We are members of Industrial District Green and Arts District Community Council Los Angeles, two Downtown LA-based, grassroots, community organizations. We have studied this Ordinance and determined that it is not working the way it was intended to. Simply put, we do not think this all-encompassing Ordinance does enough to protect existing trees or encourage new trees to be planted and maintained.

Our interest is in preserving more existing trees, creating transparency around developer paid in-lieu fees and closing loopholes that the City Planning Department is using to waive tree-planting requirements. We have found many instances of non-compliance. Additionally, there appears to be no enforcement mechanism. Many city departments and public officials deal with trees, but there is little to no coordination between them. We seek to have amendments made to this Ordinance so that the spirit of it will be followed in practice.

(We are eternally grateful to the Glendale Community College Team Internship Program, whose STEM students organized into teams to provide us with specialized proposals for how we might advance civic action in relation to this Ordinance. Much of the content on this website is taken from their work. To watch the student’s final presentation, click here.)