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Urban Forest and Streetscapes

Burlingame literally is a “green” community, with canopies of expansive, mature, and diverse “urban forests” created by many tree varieties along public streets, on private property, and within natural areas. The trees contribute significantly to the walkable nature of the city and neighborhood/district character. Trees also provide important health and economic benefits: they reduce pollutants in the air and water, provide shade and wind breaks, and can enhance property values. Trees provide connections to nature, offering habitat and refuge for wildlife. The following goal and policies focus on maintaining and enhancing Burlingame’s valuable public and private trees so they remain a prominent part of the community’s identity, culture, and history, while also providing shade, habitat, and beauty.

Goal: CC-2

Ensure that public and private trees are beautiful, healthy, and safe, and that they remain an integral feature of the community.

Recognize street trees for their ability to help achieve targeted environmental and public health benefits, and identify specific species that perform best to maximize the environmental, economic, and social benefits of Burlingame’s street trees. 

Studies and Reports Services and Operations Agency Coordination Partnerships with the Private Sector

Identify ways to increase the overall population of trees in Burlingame to stem the natural decline of the urban forest and create a more equitable distribution of tree canopy. 

Master Plans Financing and Budgeting

Maintain a citywide street tree maintenance program tied to a long-term funding mechanism to ensure adequate maintenance of all public street trees. 

Master Plans Financing and Budgeting Services and Operations Studies and Reports

Discourage the planting of invasive vegetation, and encourage the removal of existing invasive vegetation through the development review process or through capital improvement projects, except for any trees listed or eligible for listing on historic registries. Examine all proposed removals on a case-by-case basis to ensure desired resources are not removed. 

Development Review Services and Operations Agency Coordination Public Information and Education

Preserve protected, historical, and other significant trees as part of the development review process through the following measures:

  • Limit the adverse effect on the health and longevity of protected or other significant trees through appropriate design measures and construction practices.
  • Encourage the preservation of native oak trees.
  • Require appropriate tree replacement when tree preservation is not feasible.
  • As a condition of new development, require, where appropriate, the planting and maintenance of both street trees and trees on private property.
  • Protect trees during construction projects.
  • Manage infrastructure to ensure that the placement and maintenance of street trees, streetlights, signs, and other infrastructure assets are integrated.
  • Where urban development occurs adjacent to natural plant communities (e.g., oak woodland, riparian forest), ensure landscape plantings incorporate native tree species.
  • Limit the number of new curb cuts for development projects to provide adequate space for protection of tree roots and for planting of new trees. 
Development Review Services and Operations

Collaborate with other local, regional, State, and federal agencies to leverage resources to achieve the City’s urban forest goal. 

Agency Coordination

Support volunteer urban forestry programs that encourage the participation of residents and business owners in tree planting and maintenance in neighborhoods and parks throughout the city. 

Services and Operations Partnerships with the Private Sector Public Information and Education