The City Council has established goals of preserving and improving the urban forest canopy of Takoma Park. To achieve these goals, the City has established a number of regulations on how trees may be treated on private property. These requirements apply to ‘Urban Forest Trees’, which are defined below. It is important to understand the City’s regulations before removing , pruning, or conducting any project within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree.
Definition of an Urban Forest Tree
An urban forest tree is a tree in the City which:
- Has a trunk measuring 24 inches or more in circumference (7 and 5/8 inches diameter) at 4.5 feet above ground level; or
- 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
- Is planted with government funding or under a government program
See here for helpful information on how to measure the trunk size of a tree: How to Measure a Tree
Upon the Urban Forest Manager’s decision to provide Preliminary Approval or Denial for a Tree Removal Permit or Tree Protection Plan Permit, a 15-day appeal period commences. During that period, a citizen may appeal the decision according to the following:
- Any citizen can appeal a Preliminary Approval for a Tree Removal Permit.
- An appeal of a Preliminary Approval of a Tree Protection Plan Permit may only be submitted by an owner of an adjoining property on which there is an urban forest tree that is likely to be substantially impacted by the project activities. See Code Section 12.12.085.E.3.
- An applicant may appeal the Denial of either a Tree Protection Plan Permit or a Tree Removal Permit.
All Notices of Appeal must be submitted in writing to the Urban Forest Manager. A Notice of Appeal for a Tree Protection Plan Permit must allege the particular facts pertinent to the Code-defined standards that are the basis of the appeal. Additional facts beyond what are included in the Notice of Appeal may be brought to the appeal hearing. To become familiar with these standards review Code Section 12.12.085.
Notices of Appeal must be sent to the Urban Forest Manager. Potential appellants are encouraged to contact the Urban Forest Manager in advance to see if their concerns can be alleviated by an explanation of the rationale used in making the permit determination. Appeal proceedings are very costly in Staff/Tree Commission time and legal expenses paid to the City Attorney.
The following determinations are not eligible for appeal:
- The number of trees required for replanting.
- A determination that a tree is dead or hazardous.
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 Tree Commission’s decision will be communicated within 30 days of the hearing. An Appellant can take the matter to Circuit Court and file a judicial review petition within 30 days of the Tree Commission’s decision.
Table of Contents for Urban Forestry
- City Tree Programs
- Tree Education
- Tree Permits and Regulations
Tree Removal Permit
Before removing an urban forest tree on private property, you must apply for and receive in writing a Tree Removal Permit. Please see the link here for everything you need to know about Tree Removal Permits: Tree Removal Permit
Tree Impact Assessment and Tree Protection Plan Permit
Before beginning a construction, landscaping or tree pruning project near or on an urban forest tree, you must first confirm whether or not you need to apply for a Tree Impact Assessment and a Tree Protection Plan Permit. Please follow this link to read more about the process for applying: Tree Impact Assessment and Tree Protection Plan Permit
Tree Permit Staff Contact
Marty Frye, Urban Forest Manager
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 Permit Preliminary Approvals
|Tree Location Address||Appeal Deadline Date||DBH||Tree Location Relative to House||Species of Tree|
|116 Sherman Ave||3/29/2023||30||BACK LEFT||AMERICAN ELM|
|7300 Flower Ave||3/25/2023||13||LEFT SIDE||WHITE MULBERRY|
|7410 Aspen Ave||3/31/2023||27||LEFT SIDE||PIGNUT HICKORY|
|6603 Cockerille Ave||4/6/2023||33||FRONT LEFT||WHITE OAK|
|7207 Garland Ave||4/8/2023||39.4||RIGHT SIDE||WHITE OAK|
|6413 Allegheny Ave||4/6/2023||37.5||BACK LEFT||BLACK OAK|
|6413 Allegheny Ave||4/6/2023||42.9||LEFT SIDE||SOUTHERN RED OAK|
Pending Tree Appeals
|Address||Number of Trees||Type of Appeal||Diameter*||Tree Type||Tree Location||Hearing Date / Location||Tree Commission Ruling|
|No Active or Recent Tree Commission Appeal Proceedings|
Table: Pending Tree Removal Appeals. Marty Frye, Urban Forest Manager, maintains this table. (MartyF@takomaparkmd.gov)
Please direct your questions and concerns related to tree permits to:
Urban Forest Manager
Tree Permits Sections
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