It's not because it's got a special ring to it that the town was named "Thousand Oaks." It only takes a few minutes into the city limit to realize the area is swarmed with oak trees and the locals are fiercely protective of them. In fact, unless you're removing dead wood, you better think twice before you encroach upon the protected zone of an oak or landmark tree in the region.
Thousand Oaks, widely considered one of the most desirable regions in which to live, has deservedly earned the title "Tree City, USA," and the city will not easily give up that honorable designation. The trees have been planted in compliance with the city's stringent requirements and conform to the Thousand Oaks city’s general plan.
In fact, the city guards its trees so vigilantly that unauthorized street tree removal may result in tree replacement costs being billed to the homeowner. To say that every effort is made to preserve the trees is a massive understatement.
It's not uncommon to find a new homeowner, having neglected the fine print within the escrow documents outlining the Thousand Oaks tree ordinances, eagerly chop away at the oak tree on the new front lawn only to find a hefty fine in the mailbox for having done so. It's a mystery, but somehow the city's enigmatic oak tree police sense every activity upon those hallowed tree branches around town.
Holding one of the most rigid tree regulation orders in the country is likely why the area is one of the most desirable places in which to live. But that doesn't come without sacrifice, especially at the homeowner's expense. Any landscaping and trees next to driveways, common areas and in commercial, industrial, and multifamily residential zones must be approved by the city's tough landscape review process. Finally rubber-stamped, the landscaping must be consistently maintained by the property owner and may not be altered or removed without approval.
Even minor modifications require approval. And extreme cutting such as topping and stub cutting are strictly forbidden by the city’s landscape guidelines. Violations are punishable as a misdemeanor and may result in a fine, as well as requiring tree replacement.
Considering locating to one of the U.S.'s most sought-after communities? You may want to count the cost of living in an area famed for being obstinate about its tree preservation, especially if you consider yourself an avid gardener who likes to tinker in your yard. Because when it comes to the City of Thousand Oaks and its legendary oak trees, the old adage holds true: You can't fight city hall.