Never remove a tree from your property without checking with your local city or county office first. All of the 36 cities in the 5 Bay Area counties BTS services require a permit to do so. Without one, you are at risk of being fined large fees for the oversight. Click here for an example.
Each city and county have varying permit requirements which are based on the DBH (diameter at breast height) of the trunk. The DBH for trees requiring permits is first measured anywhere from 24” to 54” above grade level, then around the trunk ranging from 4” in diameter to 57” in circumference. Some cities require permits for certain species only, and each locality requires them for certain heritage trees indigenous to that area.
All of the cities have an application process which can require an arborist report, photos, plot plans, inspector visits, hearings and filing fees. The permit process can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks or even longer barring any unforseen difficulties.
To find out if you need a removal permit, click on “County Links” below to visit the website for the city or county you reside in.