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(1) The purpose of this section is to provide an opportunity for departure from the requirements of CMC 18.45.080 when the specific prescriptive standards of the code are difficult to meet, while encouraging creative or unique design of viable tree stands in the preservation of trees and tree tracts on all regulated sites. The Director shall have authority, consistent with the special conditions stated herein, to modify specific requirements and/or impose alternative standards and requirements in unique or special circumstances to assure the fulfillment of the stated purpose of this chapter and to allow for flexibility and creative design of viable tree stands in preservation of significant trees. Any modification or departure cannot reduce the requirements of Chapter 18.65 or 16.05 CMC.

(2) In order to grant a specific modification or departure from prescribed requirements for tree preservation or tree tracts, an applicant, through an alternative tree preservation and mitigation plan, must: (a) demonstrate reasonable efforts to save as many trees as possible, (b) submit a tree preservation and mitigation plan, prepared by a qualified arborist, that adequately mitigates for the loss of trees from proposed development, and (c) indicate how the alternative tree preservation and mitigation plan equally or better meets the intent and purpose of this chapter and its tree preservation goals. Alternative options for preservation and mitigation of trees shall include a combination of new tree planting and preservation of a reasonable number of existing significant trees on site, when feasible.

(3) A departure or modification of the prescriptive standards for tree preservation or tree tracts may be allowed when existing regulations, in the opinion and discretion of the Director, seriously restrict development of the site, or in instances where the replacement requirements contained within CMC 18.45.080(2) cause a demonstrated and legitimate hardship to the property owner, or if tree retention, preservation, and replacement requirements of CMC 18.45.080 cannot be achieved as demonstrated by a qualified arborist, or the regulations detract from the site’s ability to accomplish at least two of the following special site conditions:

(a) The ability to preserve natural or native plant areas;

(b) The ability to preserve unique wildlife habitat;

(c) The ability to preserve large numbers of significant, landmark, or heritage trees;

(d) Opportunities to support the value and functions of critical areas or critical area buffers;

(e) Instances where insufficient significant trees exist on a site that has a unique size, shape or topography;

(f) Instances where the only significant trees are isolated, scattered throughout a site, and/or not able to be concentrated in viable tree tracts;

(g) A site must comply with special vegetation or view easements or corridors; or

(h) Instances where a provision of required infrastructure and public safety access requires removal of significant trees. (Ord. 02-21 § 2 (Exh. A); Ord. 05-20 § 2 (Exh. A); Ord. 04-08 § 2)