For several decades, the City of West Lake Hills has had various ordinances in effect regulating the removal of trees and vegetation in order "to promote and enhance a superior community environment, to maintain the rural character, to maintain air quality and ecologic balance, to maintain property values, and to ensure the maximum preservation of the valuable natural features and scenic rural/wooded character." (West Lake Hills City Code 22.03.301 (a))
The relevant sections of our Code (commonly referred to as our Tree Ordinance) are intended to "be administered with the foregoing purposes in mind and specifically so as to:
(1) Ensure, insofar as practical in permitting development of land and minimizing fire hazard, the maximum retention of natural vegetation to aid in protection against erosion of top soil, preservation of natural scenic qualities and healthy ecosystems of the city through good conservation practices, protection from flooding or landslides, noise absorption, maintenance of privacy, and in providing habitat, shade and color;
(2) Protect mature trees and significant stands of trees in order to retain as many as possible consistent with the purposes set forth herein and also consistent with reasonable economic enjoyment of private property. In this context, privately owned trees have an impact on the quality of life for the entire community; and
(3) Require the removal of all confirmed dead brush, vegetation, and trees from all properties in order to reduce the risk of wildfire. In the case of dead trees and dead understory, the city inspector must confirm that the vegetation is indeed dead prior to its removal in order for the owner to avoid replacement requirements as described in section 22.03.304(d)." (Emphasis added; Section 22.03.301 (b))
The Tree Ordinance requires the property owner to secure a free permit from the City’s arborist prior to removing or trimming vegetation – including trees, bushes, scrub brush, or understory. The Permit is necessary to insure that no vegetation is being removed beyond what is allowed by Code. Contact the City at 512-327-3628 to request a permit.