Trees are a valuable asset to any property, providing a wide range of benefits including shade, aesthetic appeal, and environmental sustainability. But what happens when a tree becomes a safety hazard or an impediment to property development? Many Clearwater property owners are left wondering whether they can cut down trees on their property and if there are any restrictions governing tree removal. In this post, we will explore the rules and regulations regarding tree removal in Clearwater, Florida.
In Clearwater, Florida, tree removal is a regulated activity governed by the city’s tree ordinance. According to the ordinance, property owners are required to obtain a permit before they can remove a tree from their property. The ordinance defines trees as being any woody perennial plant that has a trunk diameter of six inches or greater at four and a half feet above the ground.
The permit application process requires property owners to submit a tree removal permit application to the city’s planning and development department. The application must include a site plan that shows the location of the tree(s) to be removed, the reason for removal, and any proposed replacement trees. There is a permit fee that is based on the number of trees removed. The fee ranges from $60 to $300 per tree.
While the city’s tree ordinance regulates tree removal on private property, there are some exceptions that do not require a permit. These include trees that have a trunk diameter less than six inches and those that have been deemed a safety hazard by the city’s arborist. Additionally, the ordinance allows for tree removal without a permit if there is an imminent risk of harm to persons or property, such as in the case of a tree that has fallen during a storm.
It is important to note that there are severe penalties for removing trees without a permit. A fine of up to $500 per violation may be imposed, and the city may also require that the tree(s) be replanted or impose other remedial measures. Property owners should also be aware that the city maintains a list of protected tree species, and it is illegal to remove these trees from private property without a permit.
While it may seem burdensome to apply for a permit to remove a tree from private property, the regulation of tree removal in Clearwater, Florida, serves a vital role in preserving the ecological health of the city and maintaining its natural beauty. By following the permit application process, property owners can ensure that trees are removed in a responsible and sustainable way that benefits the larger community.
The Tree Feller of Pinellas is a certified arborist and can help assist or identified any tree hazards you may be concerned about.