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Athens Tree Removal and Ordinance
Last Updated: 9 November 2020
Athens tree ordinance is a set of rules and regulations that conserve trees to meet the requirements of the community.
You will need a permit to remove any public tree within the city.
We have outlined for you essential information you need to know about tree removal requirements in the city of Athens but refer to the Athens city code for more details.
Can I remove a city tree without a permit in the city of Athens?
No. Athens tree management ordinance protects city trees, and they are not to be removed without just cause. The tree removal process has to be authorized by the city first.
Any city tree removed is to be replaced by; planting another tree of the same species and size, paying an amount equivalent to the value of the tree removed, paying the city an amount equal to the value of the tree removed or any of the above combinations.
Do I need a permit to remove trees on private property in the city of Athens?
Yes. The city has identified protected trees that need to be approved to be removed. The protected trees include:
- Heritage trees
These are trees that have historical meaning to the community. They remind the community about important past events.
- Significant trees
These trees are of importance to the public and have an impact on the environment of the city.
Non protected private trees may be removed at any time and for any cause but as per tree conservation standards.
Circumstances under which protected trees may be removed in Athens
Protected trees may be removed if the city arborist or any certified arborist determines it:
- Is dead, dying or is in unhealthy form
- It has more significant than 50 per cent of dieback at the crown.
- It has wounds greater than a third of the circumference of the trunk.
- Has wounds greater than two-thirds of the diameter of the trunk
- Have limb defects that require more than 50 per cent of the canopy to be removed.
- Poses a hazard to public health.
- If the tree is diseased or insect-infested and the problem is highly contagious and not easily reversible.
Who is responsible for the trees in the city of Athens?
The city manager has the power to oversee and approve any activities done on city trees. Activities such as trimming, pruning, treating and removal of city trees have to be approved and the manager to specify how the process is to be conducted.
Can the city of Athens remove trees in my property?
No. The city of Athens has no authority to remove trees on private property. The city code does not regulate trees on private property lots; however, the ordinance regulates timber harvest. This is to ensure there us enough canopy coverage for future projects.
Non protected private trees may be removed without notification if;
- They are located on lots less than one acre in a single-family residential zoned district.
- Five or fewer trees are removed in a healthy year.
- They are determined by the city arborist or any certified arborist to be diseased or insect-infested.
- They pose any danger to human life or property.
What are the penalties for Athens city code violation?
For any violation, the city manager issues a notice to the offender identifying the nature and location of the breach. The manager provides suitable compliance actions to be taken. The offender is given a specified period to comply; failure to which the city manager takes legal action against him or her.
The offender is punished per the city code. The offender is to pay a fine or serve a jail term.
Author: Ben McInerney – Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.
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