What are the Rules and Regulations on Modifying or Altering Landscaping on City Rights-of-Ways in Decatur, GA?

Below you’ll find information on the rules and regulations on modifying or altering landscaping on city rights-of-way in Decatur, GA. Here are at Premiere Tree Services of Decatur we work hard to keep our customers informed. We not only trim, prune, plant, or remove trees, we also make sure you’re aware of the tree regulations.

For all your tree service needs, contact us today! We look forward to working with you!

Intent of article

It is the intent of this article to provide standards for the preservation and/or replacement of the city’s trees because of their contribution to:

  1. The health of its citizens in improved air and water quality;
  2. The control of flooding, noise, glare and soil erosion;
  3. The protection of urban wildlife;
  4. The maintaining and increasing of property values; and
  5. The beauty of the city.


The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Building or soil erosion control permit means official authorization issued by the city allowing defoliation or alteration of a site, a change which may result in soil erosion or alteration of site vegetative cover, or the commencement of any construction activities.

City engineer means the city engineer of the City of Decatur, Georgia, or his designee. Cover area means that area which falls within the drip line of any tree.

Developed property means property upon which a building, structure, pavement, or other improvements have been placed.

Development director

means the development director of the city or his designee.

Drip line means a vertical line extending from the outermost portion of a tree canopy to the ground.

Landscape plan means a plan indicating the location, size, quantity and species of replacement trees.

Park means all publicly maintained parks having individual names.

Planting strip means that part of a public street or highway, not covered by sidewalk or other paving, lying between the property line of adjoining property and that portion of the street or highway used or intended to be used for vehicular traffic.

Protected zone

means all lands which fall outside the buildable area of a parcel, all areas of a parcel required to remain in open space, and/or all areas required as yards, buffers or landscaped areas according to provisions of the city zoning ordinance or by conditions of zoning or variance approval.

Public, when used as a modifier for such words as “building,” “park,” “right-of-way,” and similar words, means government-owned or government-operated.

Public places means all grounds other than parks which are owned by the city.

Public tree means any tree which exists on publicly owned or controlled property or right-of-way.

Specimen tree or specimen tree stand means any tree or group of trees within the protected zone which has been determined to be of high value because of its species, size, age or other definable criteria and so designated by the city tree consultant.

Tree means any self-supporting, woody, perennial plant which has a trunk diameter of two inches or more when measured at a point six inches above ground level and which normally attains an overall height of at least ten feet at maturity, usually with one main stem or trunk and many branches.

Undeveloped property means property upon which no building, structure, pavement or other improvements have been placed.

Yard area means an open space on the same lot with a building, the space being unoccupied and unobstructed from the ground upward, with the exception of trees and other natural vegetation.

Zoning ordinance means the zoning ordinance and land use and development regulations adopted for use within the city.

Penalty for violation of article

Any person violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of the article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be subject to the penalties provided in section 1-12.

Appointment and qualifications of a city tree consultant; duties

  1. The city manager shall appoint a consultant on trees who shall be a person skilled and trained in the arts and sciences of municipal arboricultural, ornamental or landscape horticulture, urban forestry, or other related field.
  2. The city tree consultant shall be called upon to advise the city regarding the specifications and standards of practice governing the planting, maintenance, removal, fertilization, pruning and bracing of trees in public areas. The city tree consultant shall also review permit requests and site development plans submitted to the city and make recommendations concerning them to the city. The city tree consultant shall conduct followup and final inspections as appropriate to ensure compliance with this article.
  3. The city tree consultant shall identify and maintain a record of specimen trees and tree stands based on the following criteria:
    1. A stand with purity of species composition or of a rare or unusual nature;
    2. A tree or stand of historic significance; and
    3. A tree or stand with exceptional aesthetic quality.

General rules and regulations for city property

  1. Utility companies, private contractors, outside governments, and individuals must apply for and procure a permit, and comply with tree protection and replacement administrative guidelines to this article to protect and preserve city properties in any modification of their landscape. Written plans outlining purpose, proposed operations and approximate dates shall be submitted to the development director for approval.
  2. Wherever it is necessary to remove a tree from a planting strip in connection with paving of a sidewalk, or the paving or widening of a street or highway used for vehicular traffic, the city shall replant such trees or replace them; provided, however, that if conditions prevent planting on a planting strip, this subsection will be satisfied if an equivalent number of trees of the same potential size and species are planted in an attractive manner on adjoining property or other public property.
  3. No person shall deposit, place, store or maintain on any public place of the municipality, any stone, brick, sand, concrete, or other materials which may impede the free passage of water, air and fertilizer to the roots of any tree growing therein, except by written permit of the city engineer.

The information contained in this website has been provided for informational purposes only. It is general in nature, and should not be mistaken for specific legal advice. All information on this website is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or correctness, and without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied.

We know you’re really excited about getting started with your tree project, and Premiere Tree Services of Decatur is here to help! You’re just a call or a click away from getting started! Please contact Premiere Tree Services of Decatur by phone at (678) 271-8848, or by email decatur@premieretreeservices.com, or visit us at 2107 N Decatur Rd. Suite 101 Decatur, GA 30033-5305

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