Tree Permits

The City of Takoma Park requires at least one of three types of tree permits when individuals seek to remove a tree or perform work that impacts a tree within the boundaries of Takoma Park.

  1. Tree Impact Assessment. A tree impact assessment is needed before performing pruning of live branches, regrading, or construction work that impacts urban forest trees.
  2. Tree Protection Plan Agreement. Construction or other activities which may damage a tree’s roots or affect its water supply require a Tree Protection Plan Agreement.
  3. Tree Removal Permit. Whenever an urban forest tree is to be removed a Tree Removal Permit is required. Tree Removal Permits are granted through the Tree Removal Application process.

Please see the individual sections of this page for details on when a Tree Impact Assessment, Tree Protection Plan Agreement, or Tree Removal Permit are needed.

About the Urban Forest

Adapted from Takoma Park Municipal Code 12.12.020:

An urban forest tree is a tree in the City which:

  1. Measures 24 inches or more in circumference at four and one-half feet above ground level, also known as diameter at breast height (DBH), measures seven and five-eighths inches or more at DBH*; or
  2. Is required to be planted or maintained, pursuant to governmental order, agreement, stipulation, covenant, easement, or a tree protection plan, or as a condition of issuance of a tree permit; or
  3. Is planted with government funding or under a government program. (Ord. 2003-40 (part), 2004)

The urban forest includes trees on private property. For more details review  Section 12.12 of the Takoma Park Municipal Code in its entirety.

Tree Permit Fees

  • $50.00 Request For Tree Impact Assessment
  • $100.00 Tree Protection Plan Agreement
  • $50.00 permit fee  Tree Removal Application
  • $25.00 waiver fee  Tree Removal Application

Tree Permit Staff Contact

Jan van Zutphen
Urban Forest Manager
Phone: 301-891-7612

*NOTE: The City of Portland, Oregon has a “How To Measure a Tree” page explaining the term and process of measuring a tree.

Tree Impact Assessment

Download: Request For Tree Impact Assessment (PDF)

If you are performing the following activities within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree, located on your property, on a neighbors land, or City right-of-way, you will need to submit a Request For Tree Impact Assessment:

  • Regrading three inches or more above or below grade (for example backfill behind a retaining wall)
  • Construction or placement of a structure other than a fence within 50 feet of an urban forest tree
  • Removing and replacing paving or installing new pavement such as sidewalks or driveways
  • Pruning live branches or otherwise altering an urban forest tree (more than 5% of the canopy)

If you are performing these or related activities, contact the City of Takoma Park’s Arborist to discuss whether a site visit and Tree Impact Assessment is required. Specific requirements related to the size of the project and the distance from a tree will affect whether or not these activities require a Tree Protection Plan Agreement.

Tree Protection Plan Agreement

Download: Tree Protection Plan Agreement (PDF)

Construction or other activities may damage a tree’s roots or affect its water supply. To prevent or mitigate these negative effects you may need a Tree Protection Plan Agreement for the following types of activities: excavation, adding fill, construction of a structure, paving.

Once a Tree Protection Plan Application is received and approved by the Arborist, the City notifies adjoining property owners allowing them 15 days to comment on the application. Only those property owners who share a property line with the applicant are permitted to comment. After the 15 day period has expired, if no comments or objections have been received, the application will be processed and the permit issued. If comments/objections are received, the Arborist will determine if modifications can be made to the plan or if the permit can be issued or should be denied.

On certain projects a bond may be required. The bond amount is the estimated cost of removal of the potentially impacted tree(s) and the equivalent replacement costs. The bond must be secured for two years. The Arborist determines the amount of the bond. The Arborist also determines if the critical root zone has been affected within the two year bond period.

Tree Removal Application

Download: Tree Removal Application (PDF)

Whenever an urban forest tree (a tree with a diameter greater than 7 ⅝ inches at 4.5 feet above ground) is to be removed, a Tree Removal Permit is required. If the tree is dead or hazardous no replacement plantings will be required, and a waiver will be issued. If the tree is alive the Arborist determines the value of the tree (according to guidelines outlined in City Code). The size of the tree removed determines the number of replacement trees that will be required. There is a 15 day comment period and the property owner must agree to plant replacements or pay a fee before the permit will be issued.

Additional Tree Permit Documents

Preplanting Credit Application

Download: Preplanting Credit Application (PDF)

To request credit for planting a tree prior to a tree removal request, a property owner must complete the Preplanting Credit Application.

In order to qualify for credit, the preplanted tree must be a minimum size of 1.5 inch caliper, purchased from a nursery and registered within 90 days of purchase. The registration form requires identification of tree type and planting location, and copy of purchase receipt.

Tree Selection Guide

Download: Tree Selection Guide (PDF)

One facet of the tree protection and preservation ordinance is that removed trees be replaced. In most situations the replacement requirement will be “like for like.” The Tree Selection Guide includes suggestions for types and varieties of trees suitable for planting in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.

Current Tree Removal Applications

All removal applications granted preliminary approval must be posted for a period of 15 days to allow for public comment. Current pending applications are listed below. Any resident of Takoma Park may appeal any preliminary approval during the posting period. If no appeal is received during the posting period, a tree removal permit will be issued. If an appeal is received, the matter will be scheduled for a Tree Commission hearing. If you would like to appeal a preliminary approval listed below please provide a written request  to the Arborist before the end of the posting period:

Tree Removal Application Staff Contact

Jan van Zutphen
Urban Forest Manager
Phone: 301-891-7612

Pending Tree Removal Applications

AddressNumber of TreesAppeal Process EndsDiameter*Tree TypeTree Location
803 Sligo Creek Parkway12017-10-1915"Honey LocustFront
101 Grant Avenue12017-10-219"Sassagrassleft side
507 Philadelphia Avenue12017-10-2129"White Oakrear
102 Geneva Avenue22017-10-1343", 17"White Oak, Osage Orangerear
25 Montgomery Avenue12017-10-1316"Cherry Treefront
*Diameter at breast height.

Table: Pending Tree Removal Appeals. This table is maintained by Ian Chamberlain, Construction Manager. (

Pending Tree Appeals

AddressNumber of TreesRemoval/Denial AppealDiameter*Tree TypeTree LocationHearing Date / Location
334 Lincoln Avenue2Denial Appeal39", 32"Tulip Poplar, Willow Oakleft rear, left side10/26/17, Hydrangea 6:30 pm
*Diameter at breast height.

Table: Pending Tree Removal Appeals. This table is maintained by Ian Chamberlain, Construction Manager. (

Need Help?

Please direct your questions and concerns related to tree permits to:

Jan van Zutphen

Urban Forest Manager

Public Works

Permits Sections


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