Environmental Leadership

As documented in the Green City webpage of this website, Calabasas has taken on a leadership role in addressing the impacts placed on the environment by urbanization and a growing populace, and the Planning Division plays an integral role in the conservation and enhancement of the City’s environment.  Through its implementation of CEQA; the Tax Defaulted Property Acquisition Program; the Oak Tree Ordinance, and General Plan, the City of Calabasas seeks to preserve and enhance community open space and natural habitat.

Environmental Documents

The following links enable you to read or download and print a number of environmental documents that are on-hand in the Planning Division. Many of these documents were prepared in association with a proposed development project, in which case the document was prepared and adopted in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). (More information on CEQA is explained below).

NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT A Mitigated NEGATIVE DECLARATION – Raznick Mixed Use Project; File No. 150000964

Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration
NOTICE TO ADOPT A Mitigated NEGATIVE DECLARATION – Commercial Auto Retail Overlay Zone; File No. 160003342  

FINAL Commercial Auto Retail Overlay Zone Project - Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration
NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT A Mitigated NEGATIVE DECLARATION - Rondell Oasis Hotel Project; File No. 140001318

Rondell Oasis Hotel Project - Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration
NOTICE OF INTENT TO ADOPT A Mitigated NEGATIVE DECLARATION - Hilton Garden Inn Expansion Project; File No. 140000937

Hilton Garden Inn Expansion Project - Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration
Notice of Intent to adopt a Negative Declaration - Viewpoint School Tennis Courts and Parking Lots Project, File No. 140001413

Viewpoint School Tennis Courts and Parking Lots Project - Final Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration
Final EIR for a Proposed Single-family Residence at 3121 Old Topanga Canyon
Notice of Preparation and Initial Study for the Canyon Oaks Project at 4790 Las Virgenes Road
Notice of Preparation and Initial Study for a proposed single-family residence at 3121 Old Topanga Canyon Road
Notice of Intent to adopt a Negative Declaration - Wireless Telecommunication Facility Ordinance /File No. 120000070

Wireless Telecommunication Facilities Ordinance - Proposed Initial Study/Negative Declaration

City of Calabasas General Plan Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

Negative Declaration for the City of Calabasas Development Code Update
Initial Study / Mitigated Negative Declaration for SR-4 Development

The Village at Calabasas Final EIR
Addendum to the EIR

Thomas Safran Senior Affordable Housing Mitigated Negative Declaration
Calabasas Inn NOP and Initial Study (with additional documents)

Santa Monica Mountains North Area Plan: Significant Ecological Areas Map



Open Space – A Priority

The preservation of the remaining open space lands within Calabasas and acquisition of new lands for open space designation are consistently identified as the community’s highest priority. Open space is a key component of the City’s character, representing a scenic resource of great value and importance to the quality of life for Calabasas residents. Open space protection contributes to public health and safety, and creates opportunities for public recreation. It also protects significant environmental resources as many of the open space areas within and around Calabasas contain an abundance and variety of sensitive vegetative and wildlife habitats.

General Plan Approach

[Please refer to the Open Space Element, page III-1 of the 2030 General Plan, for more information]

The high quality of life for Calabasas residents is dependent upon a high quality natural environment and protection of the area's beauty. The preferred method of managing remaining open space is to set such lands aside in large natural parks or conservation areas. One way that the City has done this, is by zoning certain areas as Open Space – Development Restricted (OS-DR) land. The OS-DR zoning district is intended for areas of the city with existing open space that have been development restricted through the use of deed restrictions, conservation easements or dedications of common open space as part of an approved subdivision. The OS-DR zoning district will also accommodate publicly owned open space land.

However, protecting such resources requires more vigorous action than simply setting them aside. Because the City's fiscal resources are not sufficient to purchase all remaining undeveloped lands, a crucial issue is how to protect environmental resources while recognizing the property rights of private landowners. Thus, the Calabasas General Plan recognizes basic property rights, and limits the intensity of area development to that which is consistent with environmental values and the carrying capacity of the land.

One of the keys to maintaining the overall environmental health of the Calabasas area is to combine open space preservation with environmental design and site planning that works with nature to minimize the loss of such resources, reduce the offsite impacts of development, and restore, where possible, the environmental and landscape quality that may have been destroyed by past actions. To that end and because no two sites are exactly alike, development requirements in Calabasas must demand protection of the environment, but must also be realistically flexible to allow developers and builders to better match their proposals to the environmental and landscape resources of their sites.

Open space in Calabasas should represent an extensive network of protected areas with a high degree of visual and physical continuity, and a systematic order of purpose. As noted above, the preservation of remaining open space lands and acquisition of new lands for open space designation is the highest priority of the community.

The 1995 General Plan identified a target of 3,000 total open space acres for Calabasas. This goal has been achieved and a new goal of 4,000 open space acres has been established. Therefore, in addition to continuing to seek the retirement of development rights for additional lands, improving the management of lands already designated as open space will be a priority for the City. For example, the City does not currently have a centralized mechanism for coordinating protection or management of this land use type. Many open space areas are the result of set-asides that were features of past development agreements. In some cases, management responsibility for these areas has not been made clear as part of the approval process. This situation can be avoided in the future by ensuring that when an open space dedication is associated with approval of a project, management responsibilities are made clear, and possible endowments for management funding are arranged before final approval is given for the project.

Acquisition efforts, which could include a benefit assessment district or bond issue, should focus on high priority parcels. Lands that are potential candidates for acquisition and designation as open space, in whole or in part, include several hillside properties that are current designated Hillside Mountainous (HM).

Tax Defaulted Property Acquisition Program

Under California tax law, failure of a property owner to meet the payment obligation of his or her property tax by the final due date of each year will result in the Treasurer and Tax Collector sending the property owner a notice of impending sale followed by a Notice of Auction. The default opens a 5-year waiting period for residential property and 3 years for non-residential commercial property during which the delinquent taxes, interest, and penalties accumulate until redeemed. At the end of the waiting period, if the tax remains unredeemed, the Treasurer and Tax Collector has the power to sell the property at a public auction.

Cities and other public agencies, however, have the right to request the L.A. County Treasurer and Tax Collector to remove a certain property(ies) from the public auction list and instead sell that/those property(ies) directly to them, without going to public auction. This is known as a Chapter 8 Agreement, which falls under Part 6 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code. The sales price of any property sold under this agreement shall include, at a minimum, the amounts of all of the following: (1) all defaulted taxes and assessments, and all associated penalties and costs; (2) redemption penalties and fees incurred through the month of the sale; and (3) all costs of the sale.

The City of Calabasas actively pursues such tax defaulted properties which have/may become available under the Chapter 8 Agreement, as part of its efforts to acquire additional land which can be designated as community open space.


About CEQA

CEQA is an acronym for the California Environmental Quality Act, which was enacted in 1970 by State Legislature to provide disclosure to decision-makers and members of the public on potential, significant impacts on the environment that any development project may have. Every development project which requires a discretionary governmental approval is subject to CEQA, unless an exemption applies. Governmental decisions which can lead to future physical development (such as the adoption of a general plan) also require at least some environmental review pursuant to CEQA.

CEQA requires state and local agencies to make decisions with environmental consequences in mind by mandating that they:

  • Disclose the potential environmental effects of a proposed project to decision makers and the public;
  • Identify ways to minimize and mitigate any negative effects on the environment;
  • Identify feasible alternatives to the project; and
  • Solicit and respond to comments from the public and from other agencies concerned with the project.

Minor development projects, such as small additions, minor repairs and accessory structures, are usually exempt from CEQA, due to these projects being determined to not have a significant effect on the environment.

For more information, please visit: California Natural Resources Agency

Flowchart of CEQA Process


Prior to the beginning of any construction or earthwork on property that has any oak trees within 200 feet property owners must
contact the Planning Division. Additionally, Planning Division staff shall be contacted prior to any pruning or removal of oak trees on one’s property. Staff will be happy to answer your questions and assist you with your oak tree inquiry.

Oak Tree Ordinance

Oak trees are a valuable resource to the community, which is why the City of Calabasas has adopted an Oak Tree Ordinance to help preserve these majestic trees. Not only does their presence account for much of the rural character of the City, but these trees also serve to mitigate the effects of air pollution, solar heat reflection, and the urban “heat island”. Furthermore, oak trees also provide essential native habitat for a plethora of wildlife found within the City’s boundaries.

The Oak Tree Ordinance (Section 17.32 of the Calabasas Municipal Code) requires reforestation, registration, and preservation of all healthy oak trees, unless reasonable and conforming use of a property justifies the removal, transplanting, altering, and/or encroachment into the oak tree’s protected zone. Any person or entity that owns, controls, or has custody or possession of any real property within the city shall maintain all oak trees and scrub oak habitat located thereon in a state of good health pursuant to the Oak Tree Preservation and Protection Guidelines. Continued enforcement of the Oak Tree Ordinance will be a key component of the maintenance and enhancement of the urban forest in Calabasas.

How to Identify an Oak Tree

Types of Oak Tree Permits

Minor (Healthy) Oak Tree Permit: A minor oak tree permit shall be required to remove or alter oak trees, under the following circumstances:

  1. When an oak tree is less than six inches in diameter, as confirmed by city staff, and has any portion of its trunk located within forty (40) feet of an existing primary structure, unless the tree was planted as mitigation for a prior removal. Oak trees located within a public right-of-way, however, are not exempted by this subsection;

  2. Pruning of oak trees or vegetation on scrub oak habitat for fuel modification to meet city requirements. Official agency documentation must be provided to the city and verified by city staff prior to commencing work;

  3. Routine maintenance action needed to maintain the continued good health of an oak tree, limited to removal of deadwood, insect control spraying, fertilization, cabling, mulching and watering;

  4. Routine maintenance actions needed to assure safe clearance for pedestrians, vehicles or structures;

  5. Replacement, modification or repair of existing improvements within the protected zone of an oak tree, as long as the tree is not impacted by the action.

Oak Tree Permit: An Oak Tree Permit is required for activities involving a protected oak tree that do not fall under the category of a Minor Oak Tree Permit.  This includes: removal of certain oak trees; pruning of any oak trees; encroachments into the protected zone of any oak trees; and replacement or repair of existing improvements within the protected zone of an oak tree.

Exemptions: A permit is not required to cut or remove an oak tree or alter scrub oak habitat under the following circumstances:

  • If the oak tree is less than two inches in diameter, unless the tree is within a scrub oak habitat or was planted as mitigation for a prior removal;

  • If an oak tree or scrub oak habitat is damaged by thunderstorms, windstorms, floods, earthquakes, fires, or other natural disaster or incident and verified by city staff;

  • Replacement or repair of existing utility lines or structures, while performing emergency or routine maintenance activities that may impact oak trees or scrub oak habitat, and which are necessary to maintain the facilities or other property of a public utility. The utility shall notify the city of any action taken that impacts oak trees or scrub oak habitat as soon as reasonably possible.


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