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Large trees contribute significantly to the City’s tree canopy, which benefits the entire community in numerous ways—cleaner air, lower temperatures, reduction of flooding, increased property values, and improved health benefits . The City’s permitting process is a way to help protect and manage community trees and the tree canopy.
You can find a copy of the ordinance at www.collegeparkmd.gov/21-O-09.
July 1, 2022.
Permits are required before you: a. remove a tree (on residentially-zoned property) that is 36 inches in circumference or greater when measured at 4.5 feet above ground level, or b. prune more than 20% of the live branches from a 36-inch circumference or larger tree.
Applications are available online, on the City’s website, at collegeparkmd.gov/trees. If you need a printed copy, please visit the Department of Public Works during business hours after that date. Before any work can begin, residents must submit and have approved a completed application.
Once a completed application has been submitted, residents should expect to hear back from the Department of Public Works within 15 business days.
A tree removal/pruning application will be approved, and a permit issued if the tree is: • Dead or diseased, • Hazardous to the safety of persons or property and the risk cannot be mitigated using current tree care, ANSI (American National Standard Institute) standards, • An invasive species (identified on the Maryland Invasive Species Council; current list. • Objectively determined to adversely impact the property because of its location, condition or effect on other structures or trees, • Located near houses or utilities where it can cause structural damage, • Located in a place that would make it difficult for a property owner to expand the footprint of the house in conjunction with an approved building permit from the County and City, • A Heritage tree, measuring 80 inches in circumference or greater at 4.5 feet above ground level, that is healthy and non-hazardous, unless its location would actually prevent expansion of the footprint of the house in conjuction with a building permit that can otherwise be approved by the County and the City.
An approved tree removal/pruning permit will be valid for 1 (one) calendar year from the date issued of approval and must be conspicuously posted on the property until the tree is removed or pruned.
The applicant may request a second opinion from a third-party assessor, qualified as an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist or a Tree Risk Assessment Qualified (TRAQ) arborist that is licensed and insured to perform tree assessments in Maryland. The third-party assessor shall perform a level III assessment and provide a written report of the findings with recommendations to the applicant. The applicant shall provide the written report from the level III assessment to the City’s Department of Public Works for reconsideration of the tree removal/pruning application decision. The applicant shall be reimbursed for one-half of the cost of the Arborist’s level III assessment.
Yes, a tree removal/permit application that is denied by the City’s Department of Public Works may be appealed to the City’s Tree & Landscape Board. The applicant must make the appeal in writing and deliver it to the City Clerk within 15 business days of the date of the application denial. The appeal will be considered during at the Tree and Landscape Board meeting following the filing of the appeal. The Board will evaluate all the information presented by the applicant, including any mitigation proposed by the applicant, and will make a final decision within thirty days of the meeting.
The decision of the Tree & Landscape Board may be appealed by the applicant to the Mayor and Council, in writing, by delivery to the City Clerk within 15 business days of issuance. A written appeal can be emailed to the City Clerk’s Office at cityclerkoffice@collegeparkmd. gov, or it may be mailed/dropped off at:
City of College Park City Hall Attn: City Clerk’s Office 7401 Baltimore Avenue Suite 201 College Park, MD 20740
If mailed, the letter must be postmarked within 15 business days of the application denial date.
In the event of an emergency, you are able to remove or prune trees on your property to rectify a dangerous situation caused by the tree. Prior to performing any tree work, you must document the nature of the emergency and danger created by the tree and send the photos and related documentation to the City’s Department of Public Works and Department of Public Service’s Code Enforcement Division. Contact information is available on our website.
Yes, a requirement of the tree removal/pruning permit is that urban tree(s) are replaced.
Tree replacement is needed to sustain the tree canopy. In the natural environment, regeneration occurs through natural processes, but in an urban environment we must continually plant new trees in order to replenish the tree canopy. The City provides several ways to assist property owners who want to plant trees.
The removal of larger trees is a greater loss to the tree canopy, and so more replacement trees are needed to replace the greater tree canopy loss. to fill that void. What are the requirements for replacement trees in conjunction with an approved tree removal permit? All replacement tree species shall be approved in writing by the Department of Public Works prior to planting. Replacement trees must meet the Tree Canopy Enhancement Program (TCEP) tree size guidelines, regardless if reimbursement from the program is requested. Replacement tree(s) must be planted within 12 months from the date tree removal is complete.
If a is tree is 36 inches – 47 inches in circumference and approved for removal – one (1) replacement tree must be planted, or a $250 contribution/fee must be made to the Urban Tree Protection Fund.
Tree(s) over 48 inches in circumference approved for removal require two (2) replacement trees to be planted, or a $500 contribution/fee must be made to the Urban Tree Protection Fund.
Replacement trees should be planted on the same property where they were removed, whenever practicable.
Property owners who can demonstrate financial hardship may request a waiver of the contribution/fee to the Urban Tree Protection Fund by writing to the Department of Public Works.
Yes! A property owner may request reimbursement from the City’s Tree Canopy Enhancement Program (TCEP), for a tree planted on the property, as long as they meet the program guidelines. Or as an alternative, a property owner may request reimbursement of up to $300 from the City for the cost of purchasing and planting on the property a tree species and size that meets the guidelines of the Tree Canopy Enhancement Program (TCEP) and is approved by the Department of Public Works.
Replacement tree reimbursement requests will be processed six (6) months after planting if the replacement tree is in a healthy condition as determined by the Department of Public Works.
The property owner should go to a reputable source, such as a nursery or garden center, for their replacement trees. Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a list of participating nurseries (https://dnr.maryland.gov/forests/Pages/nurseries.aspx) that will accept the DNR $25.00 off coupon. Click here for more information.
A residential tree that measures greater than 80 inches in circumference is considered a Heritage Tree.
No, this ordinance does not apply to trees with a circumference less than 36 inches.
Tree removal or pruning more than 20% of an urban tree without an approved permit is a municipal infraction for each offense. During the first six (6) month introductory period (July 1, 2022 to February 1, 2023), the fine is $500 per offense. After February 1, 2023, the fine increases to $1,000 per offense. Failure to plant a replacement tree(s) or to contribute/pay into Urban Tree Protection Fund also carries a municipal infraction for each offense. During the first six (6) month introductory period (July 1, 2022 to February 1, 2023), the fine is $500 per offense. After February 1, 2023, the fine increases to $1,000 per offense.
The owner or occupant(s) of the property where an urban tree is located, as well as any business or individual performing work for the property owner or occupant who violates any provision of Chapter 179 shall each be guilty of a municipal infraction, and each subject to the penalty in Chapter 110 of the City code.
Please direct any questions about this ordinance to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Department of Public Works at 240-487-3595.
The Tree Canopy Enhancement Program (TCEP) provides limited reimbursement (up to $150.00) for the cost of purchasing and planting a tree on residential property. In the spring, the City hosts an annual tree giveaway event for Earth Day. Residents can also request street trees to be planted in the right-of-way in front of their house.