Former Fort Ord was the largest base closure in the U.S. in 1994 with approximately 28,000 acres. While the City of Seaside has approximately 4,000 acres of former Fort Ord property within its jurisdictional boundary, of those only about 1,658 acres are available for development purposes to plan for much-needed housing, industrial and commercial uses. The City of Seaside is working with the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) to establish policies and programs to preserve the natural beauty and environmental character in former Fort Ord development areas as envisioned by the 1998 Base Reuse Plan (Reuse Plan).

The Reuse Plan policies and Programs pertaining to oaks for the City of Seaside include:

Biological Resources Policy B-2: As site-specific development plans for a portion of the Reconfigured POM Annex Community (Polygon 20c) and the Community Park in the University Planning Area (Polygon 18) are formulated, the City shall coordinate with Monterey County, California State University, FORA and other interested entities in the designation of an oak woodland conservation area connecting the open space lands of the habitat management areas on the south to the landfill polygon (8a) in the north.

Program B-2.1: For lands within the jurisdictional limits of the City that are components of the designated oak woodland conservation area, the City shall ensure that those areas are managed to maintain or enhance habitat values existing at the time of base closure so that suitable habitat is available for the range of sensitive species known or expected to use these oak woodland environments. Management measures shall include, but not be limited to maintenance of a large, contiguous block of oak woodland habitat, access control, erosion control and non-native species eradication. Specific management measures should be coordinated through the CRMP.

Program B-2.2: For lands within the jurisdictional limits of the City that are components of the designated oak woodland conservation area, the City shall monitor, or cause to be monitored, those areas in conformance with the habitat management compliance monitoring protocol specified in the HMP Implementing/Management Agreement and shall submit annual monitoring reports to the CRMP.

Biological Resources Policy C-2: The City shall encourage the preservation and enhancement of oak woodland elements in the natural and built environments.

Program C-2.1:  The City shall adopt an ordinance specifically addressing the preservation of oak trees. At a minimum, this ordinance shall include restrictions for the removal of oaks of a certain size, requirements for obtaining permits for removing oaks of the size defined, and specifications for relocation or replacement of oaks removed. The City’s tree ordinance, Chapter 8.54 of the municipal code, does not specifically address oak trees or oak woodland.

Program C-2.2: When reviewing project plans for developments within oak woodlands, the City shall cluster development wherever possible so that contiguous stands of oak trees can be maintained in the non-developed natural land areas.

Program C-2.3: The City shall require project applicants to submit a plot plan of the proposed development which: 1) clearly shows all existing trees (noting location, species, age, health, and diameter; 2) notes whether existing trees will be retained, removed or relocated, and 3) notes the size, species, and location of any proposed replacement trees.

Program C-2.4: The City shall require the use of oaks and other native plant species for project landscaping. To that end, the City shall recommend collection and propagation of acorns and other plant material from Fort Ord oak woodlands to be used for restoration areas or as landscape material.

Program C-2.5: The City shall provide the following standards for plantings that may occur under oak trees; 1) plantings may occur within the dripline of mature trees, but only at a distance of five feet from the trunk and 2) plantings under and around oaks should be selected from the list of approved species compiled by the California Oak Foundation (see Compatible Plants Under and Around Oaks).

Program C-2.6: The City shall require that paving within the dripline of preserved oak trees be avoided wherever possible. To minimize paving impacts, the surfaces around tree trunks should be mulched, paving materials should be used that are permeable to water, aeration vents should be installed in impervious pavement, and root zone excavation should be avoided.

Recreation Policy C-1: The City of Seaside shall establish an oak tree protection program to ensure conservation of existing coastal live oak woodlands in large corridors within a comprehensive open space system. Locate local and regional trails within this system.