Wait! Can You Cut Down That Tree?

Did you know Atlanta is the third worst city in the U.S. for temperature rise and the fifth worst for tree loss? A record number of trees were destroyed in 2019 and 2020 surpassed it. 80% of Atlanta’s trees are located on single-family residential properties.

Shocking statistics like these have caused many Ansley Park residents to question if all tree destruction in our neighborhood is legal. Atlanta has a strict tree ordinance that requires a permit to remove a tree that is six inches or more in diameter even if it is dead, dying, or hazardous. Destroying a tree without a valid permit is a criminal offense.

If you see someone preparing to remove a tree and you are not sure they have a permit, act quickly. A tree can be irreparably damaged in an hour or less. Here are actions you can take:

  1. Ask to see the permit. Permits are specific to each tree and valid for only one year.
  2. If they say they have a permit but cannot produce a copy of it, search the internet for Accela Atlanta.  Do a general search of building permits by address to see if you can locate a permit.
  3. If you cannot find a permit, stop the work by calling 911. You can remain anonymous. Cite section 158-101(a) of the Atlanta tree ordinance. During normal business hours, you can also call the city arborist office at (404) 330-6874.
  4. While you are waiting for a response, photograph or videotape the site. If relevant, photograph the license plate of the tree removal service.
  5. If the tree has already been destroyed follow these steps anyway. There are fines for illegal tree removal.

Every tree counts. Use the calculator at to see the value each tree contributes. If we work together, we can preserve the beautiful tree-lined streets and cooling canopy that define Ansley Park.

Wendy Kirkpatrick, History & Preservation



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The first phase of updates passed by City Council becomes effective on April 13, 2023.

Ansley Park Civic Association | PO Box 570119 | Atlanta, GA 30357 - Contact Us

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