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Vegetation Management Ordinance Update and New Advisory Committee

September 17, 2019

At their meeting on Monday, September 16, 2019, the City Council voted unanimously to conduct a Second Reading adopting the Amended Ordinance. 

The ordinance will require the removal of the following ten plant types from all portions of properties within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI): Acacia, Bamboo, Arborvitae (Thuja), Italian Cypress, Junipers, French Broom, Portuguese Broom, Scotch Broom, Spanish Broom, and Gorse. It also recommends the voluntary removal of vegetation within 3 feet of structures, creating a hardscaped noncombustible zone.

At the September 5 meeting, City Councilmembers and staff acknowledged the considerable community interest and concern about the proposed ordinance. Council originally introduced the ordinance in September of 2018, but postponed the adoption of the ordinance for a full year to allow for widespread outreach, workshops, and community notification to take place.

New Advisory Committee

Recognizing the community’s interest in the topic, Mayor Jim Wickham introduced the members of a newly formed ad-hoc advisory committee to provide input and recommendations regarding the implementation of the Vegetation Management Ordinance. Confirmed Advisory Committee members include Dick Spotswood, Hugh Kuhn, Nona Dennis, Jim Kasper, and Jim Stephenson. The committee meetings will be open and well publicized for continued community input and participation. After a series of meetings, the committee will produce a written report of their findings and present them to the Council by the end of 2020.

“Keeping our community safe is our number one priority,” Mayor Wickham said. “With the changing conditions in fighting wildfires, it is even more crucial that we all do our part to address fire safety issues. We want the community to know that we have heard their concerns, and recognize the need to find a collaborative, community-based path forward.”

The Fire Department will continue to work with residents with homes in the WUI to educate them on best practices in vegetation management and “home hardening.” Public safety officials will also continue their hazardous fuel reduction efforts in Mill Valley – which includes providing the free chipper program, maintaining City properties, clearing critical evacuation routes, and preserving the City’s Steps. Lanes and Paths. The City is also closely monitoring the Marin Wildfire Prevention Initiative and will continue to coordinate on fire fuel reduction projects with Marin Municipal Water District, State parks and other land agencies surrounding Mill Valley. 

Next Steps

Stay tuned for information about the Advisory Committee's next meeting. Sign up for updates by subscribing to the MVConnect eNewsletter. 

Questions or Comments

Contact Tom Welch, Fire Chief at fire@cityofmillvalley.org

Additional information

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