Our city’s trees clean the air, lower energy costs, provide shade and beautify our neighborhoods. But the city’s tree cover has shrunk to 36 percent, down from its 50 percent peak in the 1950s. To reverse this trend, the Tree Canopy Protection Amendment Act of 2016 was enacted to address tree loss and support tree replacement citywide. It’s provisions include:
- Expanding protections to more trees by reducing the size limit of Special Trees from 55 inches in circumference to trees between 44 and 100 inches;
- Increasing the fee for Special Tree Removal. To remove a Special Tree, property owners would need to pay $55 per circumference inch — up from $35;
- Raising the fines for unlawful tree removal form $100 to no less that $300 per circumference inch.
- Using Tree Fund money for planting trees on District-managed properties, including schools and parks.
- Creating a new category for protected trees called Heritage Trees, which are over 100 inches in circumference.
- An Urban Forestry Advisory Council will be created to coordinate the city’s tree-related matters.
This bill became law July 2016 | Signed Act