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Tree Permits

The City of Takoma Park requires a permit when individuals seek to remove a tree or perform work that impacts a tree within the boundaries of Takoma Park.

A Tree Removal Permit is required to remove an urban forest tree in Takoma Park. Tree Removal Permits are granted through the Tree Removal Application process.

Prior to performing any activity which may impact a tree or tree roots, a Tree Impact Assessment is required. Based on the outcome of the assessment, you may be required to submit an application for a Tree Protection Plan.

 A Tree Impact Assessment is also required before performing pruning of more than 5% of live branches on an urban forest tree.

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)

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

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 permit fee  Tree Removal Application (for trees with living branches and leaves)
  • $25.00 waiver fee –Tree Removal Application (for trees that are dead)
  • $50.00 Request For Tree Impact Assessment
  • $50.00 Tree Protection Plan

Tree Permit Staff Contact

Jan van Zutphen
Urban Forest Manager
Phone: 301-891-7612
Email: JanVZ@takomaparkmd.gov

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 application is required. If the tree is dead, the applicant can request a waiver which has a $25.00 fee. If the tree is alive the applicant must request a permit which has a $50.00 fee. Once the application is received  the Arborist evaluates the tree condition and size. The size of the tree and the health determines the number of replacement trees that will be required. The intention of the replacement requirement is to provide the same canopy in 25 years as the tree to be removed currently provides. If the permit is approved, there is a 15 day comment period. The property owner must return a Tree Replacement Agreement or pay a fee in lieu before the permit can be issued.

Appeal Process

The City Code establishes a appeals process Takoma Park Municipal Code 12.12.110

The following decisions can be appealed:

  • Anyone can appeal a Preliminary Tree Removal Approval within the 15 Day Posting Period
  • The applicant can appeal the City’s Denial of Tree Removal
  • An adjoining property owner can appeal a Preliminary Tree Protection Plan Approval within 15 Days of notice

The following decisions are not eligible for appeal:

  • The number of trees required for replanting
  • The determination that a permit is required rather than a waiver
  • A waiver decision

Appeals are heard by the Tree Commission, which is made up of community members selected by the City Council. The hearing is quasi judicial in nature. The commissions decision is communicated by the City Attorney within 30 days of the hearing. An Appellant can take the matter to Circuit Court and file a petition for judicial review within 30 days of the Tree Commission’s decision.


Tree Impact Assessment

Download: Request For Tree Impact Assessment (PDF)

If you are considering performing the following activities within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree, located on your property, on a neighbor’s land, or City right-of-way, you must submit a Request for a Tree Impact Assessment:

  • Land disturbing activities including raising or lowering grade more than 3 inches, over an area greater than 25 square feet, within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree
  • Construction or placement of a structure other than a fence within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree
  • Paving more than 25 square feet with an impervious surface within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree
  • Activity within the Critical Root Zone that may destroy a significant portion of the roots or endanger the water supply
  • Topping an Urban Forest Tree or pruning more than 5 % of the live canopy

If you are planning a construction project or building an addition, it is advised to start this process early in the design phase of the project so that tree impacts can be identified and any limitations for construction can be identified in case they will impact the construction plans.

Tree Protection Plan Agreement

Download: Tree Protection Plan Agreement (PDF)

To determine if a Tree Protection Plan is needed please review the Tree Impact Assessment section above. It is recommended that you begin with that process.

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.

A Tree Protection Plan specifies the measures to be taken to protect trees and tree roots during the construction process. The application process is fairly detailed. A site plan with the construction details must be submitted. The document requires the concurrence of the property owner and contractor performing the work.

Components of a Tree Protection Plan may include:

  • Identification of the Critical Root Zone
  • Tree Protection Fence
  • Type of equipment to be used on site
  • Type of excavation required and proximity to trees
  • Root pruning or Tree pruning required
  • Soil Compaction mitigation or protection of root areas
  • Identifying storage and staging areas
  • Construction entrance location

Once a Tree Protection Plan Application is reviewed 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.

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 a 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
Email: JanVZ@takomaparkmd.gov

Pending Tree Removal Applications (chart does not include approved waivers)

AddressNumber of TreesAppeal Process EndsDiameter*Tree TypeTree Location
7111 Cedar Avenue12019-08-0732"right sideOak
1114 Merwood Drive12019-08-0737"right sideOak
6450 New Hampshire Avenue12019-08-0825"centerRed Maple
6902 Cherry Avenue12019-08-0915"left rearAsh
7324 Piney Branch Road12019-08-2136"rear centerWhite Oak
706 Colby Avenue12019-08-2212"front centerCatalpa
7205 Trescott Avenue12019-08-2328"right sideWhite Oak
1100 Lancaster Road12019-08-2923"left rearAsh
7106 Maple Avenue12019-09-0739"left rearWhite Oak
55 Walnut Avenue12019-09-0724"rear centerOak
514 Elm Avenue12019-09-0716"left rearChestnut Oak
7600 Flower Avenue12019-09-1030"front centerBeech
7227 Garland Avenue12019-09-1048"left rearRed Oak
7519 Carroll Avenue22019-09-1212" and 14"left front, left frontElm, Elm
7011 Woodland Avenue22019-09-1313" and 27"left rear, right rearElm, White Oak
324 Lincoln Avenue12019-09-2619"left sideRed Maple
*Diameter at breast height.

Table: Pending Tree Removal Appeals. This table is maintained by Ian Chamberlain, Construction Manager. (ianc@takomaparkmd.gov)

Pending Tree Appeals

AddressNumber of TreesRemoval/Denial AppealDiameter*Tree TypeTree LocationHearing Date / Location
7108 Cedar Avenue1Denial Appeal32"White OakLeft Front2019-05-16 / Hydrangea Room 6:30 pm
*Diameter at breast height.

Table: Pending Tree Removal Appeals. This table is maintained by Ian Chamberlain, Construction Manager. (ianc@takomaparkmd.gov)

Need Help?

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

Jan van Zutphen

Urban Forest Manager

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