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Permitting

All work on trees in the public right of way requires a free permit from the City Arborist. Public rights of way are lands reserved for travel (motorists, cyclists, pedestrians) such as streets, sidewalks, alleys, pathways, and trails. A portion of front yards are often within the public right of way. Many trees on private property and not in a public right of way also require permits.

These permits are required by the City Tree Ordinance (Chapter 273) to help ensure the safety and welfare of people and property, while also protecting healthy large trees that contribute to the City’s urban tree canopy.

Download the Tree Work Permit Application

Please use the following questions and table to determine if you need a permit and direct any outstanding questions to the City Arborist, Jim Bower: 717-291-4846

1) Does the property have an active development permit or will it be developed or re-developed soon?

If YES – then a permit is required.

If NO – then continue to #2.

2) Does a land use review govern the tree’s preservation?

If YES – then a permit is required.

If NO – then continue to #3.

3) Is your tree in a public right of way?* In other words, is it along a street, alley, or sidewalk?

If YES – then a permit is required.

If NO – then continue to #5

* If you are unsure whether the tree is in the public right of way, then contact the City of Lancaster’s Department of Public Works: (717) 291-4739. Public rights of way are lands reserved for travel (motorists, cyclists, pedestrians) such as streets and sidewalks, and are managed by a public entity (e.g., City of Lancaster). A portion of front yards are often within the public right of way.

4) Is your private tree 12 inches in diameter at 4.5 feet above the ground AND located within 20 feet of the public right of way? Learn how to measure a tree here.

If YES – then a permit is required. Any tree 12 inches in diameter or larger that is within 20 feet of the public right of way is considered a Protected Tree (§273-17).

If NO – then continue to #6.

5) Is your private tree more than 24 inches in diameter at 4.5 feet above the ground?

If YES – then a permit is required. Any tree 24 inches in diameter located anywhere on any property is considered a Protected Tree (§273-17).

If NO – then a permit is not required for work on your private tree.

 

Table for Tree Maintenance

Removing & Replacing Trees

Street trees

Permit required

Apply for a permit

Private trees

(not within public right of way)*

A permit is required for all trees 12” DBH** or larger that are within 20 feet of the public right of way, or are 24” or larger anywhere within the City (i.e., protected trees)

Apply for a permit

Land Development & Zoning

A permit is required to remove ANY trees that (1) were required to be planted or preserved through a land development approval or (2) were required through zoning approval or (3) reside on a property that is going through land development.

 

Planting Trees

Street Trees

Permit required

Apply for a permit

Private Trees

(not within public right of way)*

No permit required

N/A

Pruning Trees

Street Trees

Permit required

Apply for a permit

Private Trees

(not within public right of way)*

A permit is required for all trees 12” DBH** or larger that are within 20 feet of the public right of way, or are 24” or larger anywhere within the City.

Apply for a permit

Root Pruning Trees

Street trees

Permit required

Apply for a permit

Private trees

(not within public right of way)*

A permit is required for the pruning of any roots 2” in diameter or larger for the following: trees 12” DBH** or larger that are within 20 feet of the public right of way, or are 24” or larger anywhere within the City (i.e., protected trees).

Apply for a permit

Applying Pesticides & All Other Tree Work

Street Trees

Permit required

Apply for a permit

Private Trees

(not within public right of way)*

A permit is required for all trees 12” DBH** or larger that are within 20 feet of the public right of way, or are 24” or larger anywhere within the City.

Apply for a permit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* If you are unsure whether the tree is in the public right of way, then contact the City of Lancaster’s Department of Public Works: (717) 291-4739. Public rights of way are lands reserved for travel (motorists, cyclists, pedestrians) such as streets and sidewalks, and are managed by a public entity (e.g., City of Lancaster). A portion of front yards are often within the public right of way.

** DBH – Diameter at Breast Height, which is the diameter of a tree at 4.5 feet above the ground.