§ 23-214. Tree relocation or removal permit.  

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  • a. Applicability. A permit pursuant to this section is required prior to the removal or relocation of any tree meeting the definition of a tree unless specifically exempted.

    A tree is defined for the purposes of this section as a woody, self-supporting plant, having a mainstem or cluster of mainstems and having a diameter at four and one-half (4½) feet above the ground of four (4) inches; a tree is further defined as a plant which at maturity grows to at least fifteen (15) feet high in the Polk County area. Also specifically included are significant stands of oak trees defined as a group of four (4) or more oak trees which may have trunk diameters of less than four inches but which constitute a compact unit or grove covering 50 square feet or more in area.

    b. Exclusions and exemptions. Specifically excluded and exempted from permit requirements are removal of individual citrus trees; however, this exemption is not applicable to massive clearing of trees which will require a land alteration permit. Trees exempt from the tree removal permit requirement include, but are not limited to, the following:

    Broussonetia-papyrifera (Paper mulberry)

    Castor Bean


    Chinese Tallow

    Casuarinaceae (Australian pine)

    Cupaniopsos-anacardioides (Carrotwood)

    Enterolobium cyclocarpum (Ear tree)

    Indian Rosewood

    Melaleuca leveadenra (Punk tree)

    Melia azedarach (Chinaberry tree)

    Schinus terebinthinfolius (Brazilian pepper)

    Serrenoa repens (Scrub palmetto)

    Also exempted are trees destroyed or harmed by storm, provided the administrative official is notified at least two (2) days in advance of the removal so that an inspection can be made. If the administrative official or designee determines that the tree is not severely harmed, the tree shall not be removed except through the approval of a tree removal permit application. If the administrative official or designee does not respond within two (2) working days of the request, the request shall be considered approved. The two-day notification period is waived in instances where a damaged tree must be removed in order to make emergency repairs authorized by the building official.

    c. Dead trees. Dead trees are exempt from the permit requirements of this section, provided the administrative official is notified at least two (2) days prior to its removal. The administrative official may require removal of a dead tree.

    d. Tree trimming. Tree trimming for normal maintenance purposes does not require a permit; however, tree trimming which threatens the life of the tree or deforms the natural canopy is prohibited. Each occurrence will be deemed a tree removal and will require tree replacement in accordance with section 23-302.2.

    e. Information required for application. The application shall indicate the type and circumference of the tree or trees proposed for removal, if known, and the reason for a requested removal. Trees to be removed for land development shall be shown on the site plan submitted with the application for certificate of zoning compliance and the tree removal application shall be part of the certificate of zoning compliance application. A tree survey showing the location, type and size of all trees as defined in paragraph (a) above may be required by the administrative official.

    f. Issuance of permit. A tree removal permit application shall be approved or denied in accordance with the provisions of section 23-302.2.