You must request a special permit request for tree removal through the Online Transportation Permit System (TOPS) to proceed with the removal of a special permit. DC always requires that a tree removal permit be obtained before cutting down a tree. JL Tree Service can help you obtain this permit, just be sure to note that this permit can be very expensive for live trees. If a tree is dangerous, we can remove it and apply for permission later, but this is not the case for regular removals.
There are 4 species of trees that do not require a permit; visit the DC website for more information on tree removal permits. This ROW area includes parking (i.e., garden areas, front yards), sidewalks, and roads. Sometimes, this area can be difficult to determine. Part of your garden that you maintain could be a public space.
That's why it's important that we conduct a survey to determine what can and cannot be eliminated. See Figure 1 below for an example of a typical survey with a public space tree located on the ROW. The original Urban Forest Preservation Act of 2002 defined special trees as any tree with a circumference of 55. The cost of the Tree Fund permit depends on the tree's circumference at “chest height,” or 4.5 feet. Mulberry trees, Norwegian maples and ailanthus trees are species that are exempt from these specific permit requirements.
If the tree in question is actually on your property, then you'll need to determine if you need a permit based on the size of the tree. First, you'll need to determine if the tree is on your property and make sure it's not a public space tree. You must request a special permit request for tree removal through the Online Transportation Permit System (TOPS) to continue with the removal of a special tree. A special tree is defined as a tree that has a diameter of 14 to 32 inches or a circumference of 44 to 99.9 inches.
A heritage tree is a tree that has a circumference greater than or equal to 100 inches; or a diameter greater than 32 inches. To obtain a permit, a tree replacement fee, also known as the Tree Fund, must be paid. A public space tree is any tree that is outside the boundaries of your property in the distribution of rights of way (ROW) in public space.