Tree Removal

The City of Rochester values its urban canopy. Before any regulated tree with a diameter of seven (7") inches or greater is removed from public or private property, the City must be notified and consulted. Contact the City's Deputy City Manager & Professional Forester, Nik Banda, to discuss the removal of any trees at (248) 733-3700, or email him directly.

Tree Removal Permits

The City Council recently established an Ad Hoc Committee charging them with evaluating the City’s existing Tree Ordinance. The overarching goal of the request, was to better communicate the City’s desire to continue to not only protect the existing Tree Canopy Citywide, but increase it with an aggressive tree planting/education and preservation plan.  
“Under direction by Mayor Bixson, the Tree Committee began earlier on 2020.  Made up of two other council members and myself, we also had a resident very passionate about trees, along with an expert in the building and architectural field, we began work.  All of us quickly realized that we wanted to review the ordinance that had been in place for many years, with the goal of improving the tree canopy, protecting homeowner rights and preserving Landmark and Historic trees.  Despite meeting limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we engaged virtually to hear valuable public feedback from residents, Homeowner Associations, and commercial developments with large common areas.  This was a collaborative process that ensured we presented to City Council an Ordinance with language to increase the tree canopy in Rochester for future generations to come,” says Council Member Mark Albrecht.
The Committee met multiple times over the past several months and presented their findings to the full City Council for their consideration. The Committee also engaged the Homeowner Associations on the east side of the City as they have a unique situation within their subdivisions with general common areas, boulevards and designated woodlands.  
City Council adopted many of the changes the Committee suggested including but not limited to: how Landmark/Historic Trees removal requests are handled, replacement requirements., exempting dead trees from the nominal activity definition which allows for the removal of up to three, seven-inch or greater trees within a twelve month period as long as they are not Landmark or Historic Trees, establishing a permanent Tree Committee who staff could use as a sounding Board for issues resulting from the Ordinance and establishing a $50 permit fee for the first 3 “free trees” and $10 per tree fee after that.  It also changed the tree replacement policy for the Homeowner Associations and Commercial developments within the City in common areas, boulevard areas and designated woodlands. It also requires a yearly accounting report identifying our removals, plantings and affect on the Tree Canopy the first quarter of each year.  
The new Ordinance changes will take affect January 1, 2021.