The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is responsible for regulating and conserving trees on public land (Atlanta Code of Ordinances, Section 158-26). This authority enables DPR to establish and maintain the maximum amount of tree cover on public lands in the city by prohibiting the destruction and removal of trees except in accordance with the standards (Atlanta Code of Ordinances, Section 158-28(1)). Further, the Code allows for latitude in the interpretation and application of city administrative rules, standards and guidelines when reasonable and necessary to minimize the destruction of trees (Atlanta Code of Ordinances, Section158-28(7)). To achieve this task, the Department has established an administrative rule with regard to the trees on public land, to be enforced by the Office of Parks.
- Anyone who wishes to remove a healthy tree on public land may do so only with the approval of the Commissioner’s designee in the Office of Parks.
- The Commissioner or designee may or may not grant that permission.
- Permission, when granted, shall be contingent on replacement of the tree(s) on an inch per caliper inch basis.
- Replacement trees shall be planted according to the City of Atlanta’s adopted arboricultural standards.
- Replacement trees shall be a minimum two and one-half inch caliper.
- Replacement trees shall be of a species approved in advance by the Commissioner or his/her designee.
- Replacement street trees shall be planted in the right-of-way where they were removed if possible. When the Commissioner or designee determines that the replacement trees cannot be planted on the same street, the trees may be planted at locations on other streets or in a park in the same NPU, as approved by the Commissioner or his/her designee. Replacement trees shall meet American Nurseryman Standards (ANS) or Southern Nurseryman Standards (SNS) for structure, soundness and health of trees. The placement and species shall be approved in writing on the proposed planting plan prior to the initial planting.
- Replacement trees shall be planted by a specified date, usually during the next tree-planting season. Under extenuating circumstances, the Commissioner or designee may approve an extension.
- Replacement trees shall be guaranteed by the planting party for at least one growing season.