Do I need a permit to remove a tree on private property?

It depends on the zoning and site characteristics. Broadly, if it is a private tree (i.e., in your front or back yard and not a City right-of-way tree) at a single- or two-family home, a permit is likely not needed. If it's a private tree at a commercial property, apartment complex, etc., a permit is likely needed. Specifics are in Chapter 48, Article II, Division 2, Section 48-94 of City Code and the City's Tree Manual. You may call the Department of Public Works at 517-337-9459 to be sure.

The permit process allows the City to confirm that any tree removal or major vegetation alteration is consistent with the landscaping plans and site plans that were originally agreed upon. For example, if the Planning Commission and City Council approved trees to be used as site screening at a commercial property, removal of those trees violates the conditions of the site plan. It is unlawful to remove them without a permit from the City, who will confirm a replanting plan is consistent with existing agreements or determine if a review of new plans is needed. The Tree Removal and Land Clearing application is the applicable permit for this scenario and the ordinance and exemptions can be found here.

Additionally, tree work requiring occupancy of the City right-of-way requires a permit. This includes road and street closures, equipment staging in the road or parkway or any other use or occupancy of the public right-of-way. Permit applications for both Utility and Non-utility right-of-way usage can be found here.

Show All Answers

1. Do I need a permit to remove a tree on private property?
2. Can I perform work on the City street tree in front of my property?
3. Can I plant a tree in the city parkway?
4. I want the City to plant a tree in the parkway near my home.
5. Why doesn't the City allow maples to be planted along streets?