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206-684-TREE (8733)
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Urban Forestry Permits

Urban forestry permits are issued for tree planting, tree pruning, tree removal/replacement in the public right of way. Permit requirements are based on specific site conditions and individual tree species. SDOT arborists review applications to ensure the health, preservation, and expansion of Seattle’s urban forest. For more information, visit SDOT Urban Forestry Arborist Office or call 206-684-TREE (8733).

Do you need a permit?

Yes. You probably do need a permit if your proposed work involves planting (type 1A) or removing/replacing (type 1C) a tree. If your proposed work involves major pruning (type 1B), which includes pruning branches or roots that are larger than 2 inches or which comprise more than 15% of foliage-bearing area, a permit is required.

In some cases, an Urban Forestry Permit application package requires more than just an Urban Forestry Permit application form. Please see the table below for details on conditions in which additional materials are required. Please review the Job Details column and check all that apply. This table is available with additional details as a printable PDF.

Job Details Document(s) Required Estimated Processing Time Cost
Planting street trees required as part of an already permitted Street Improvement Project (SIP) None NA NA
Minor pruning of street tree branches or roots less than 2" in diameter and comprising less than 15% of foliage-bearing area No Urban Forestry permit required. Other permits may be required (see below) NA NA
Performing
  • a street tree removal,
  • a street tree planting,
  • major pruning of street tree, branches or roots greater than 2 diameter, or
  • major pruning comprising more than 15% of foliage-bearing area
Urban Forestry permit application 20 business days Free
Site plan
Pruning plan if pruning
Work is on an arterial street and will take more than 2 hours per day Construction Use permit application 20 business days $599 + street use fees
Traffic Control Plan $98 review fee
Pedestrian Mobility form Free
Work is on a non-arterial street and will take more than 8 hours per day Construction Use permit application 5 business days $599 + street use fees
Pedestrian Mobility form Free
Work is in Hub Area or High Impact Area downtown Traffic Control Plan 20 business days $98 review fee
Contact hub coordinator via phone or email with proposed work dates and hours. Contact 3 weeks prior to proposed dates. Free
Costs accurate as of March 2016. Permit fees available here
$599 is base fee for Construction Use permit application. Additional fees are based on project size.

 

Urban Forestry, along with SDOT Street Use, has adopted new Permit Application Forms.

Download the new Urban Forestry Permit Application Form
Please print and fill out this application and return to us at:

Seattle Department of Transportation
City Arborist's Office
Seattle Municipal Tower
PO Box 34996
Seattle, WA 98124-4996

(A black and white printer setting may be preferred to save color printer ink.)

Or, you may fill out your application, scan it and email it to us via: SDOTPermits@seattle.gov

Other permitting details:

Approved permits will include site-specific requirements and best management practices (BMPs) that must be followed for the duration of the project.

Your approved permit must be maintained at the work site at all times.

Tree Planting: See our tree planting procedures web page. If you are planting a tree in the planting strip, you will need to choose a tree from our approved planting list and follow the details on the linked page.

Tree Pruning: See our tree pruning web page. There are tree pruning guides in 7 languages offering the best practices for tree maintenance.

Tree Removal and Replacement:  Street Trees must be protected and preserved unless the permit application for the removal and replacement has been approved. Exceptions to this requirement are allowed for emergency removal necessary for public safety. City of Seattle policy may require monetary compensation and/or a replacement for every tree permitted for removal. Tree replacement is required, as site conditions allow, using the same or similar species that provides the same level of tree canopy at maturity. 
The permit application for a removal requires a professional Tree Risk Evaluation and the tree is:

  •  If the street tree is determined to be dead, or
  •  If the tree is determined to be a hazardous tree, or
  • If the tree is a public safety hazard, or
  • If public or private construction related activities will negatively impact the viability of the tree to the extent that it is unlikely to survive.

A yellow Tree Removal Notice is required as part of every street tree removal permit. Removal Notices must be in place for a minimum of 14 days prior to removal as a condition of permit issuance. You may post a Tree Removal Notice yourself when submitting your removal permit application. You do not need to wait for permit approval to post the tree and begin the 14-day period. If you choose not to post the tree yourself, SDOT will post the removal notice at a later date when inspecting the tree.

Tree Removal Notices must be posted using the following standards:

  • Removal Notices must have black text on a yellow background.
  • Removal Notices must remain on the tree for at least 14 calendar days prior to removal.
  • You are advised to put the Notice in a plastic sleeve before posting to make it rain resistant. The person posting the Notice is responsible for ensuring it withstands the elements for the 14-day period.
  • Email SDOT Urban Forestry at Seattle.Trees@seattle.gov when you post a Tree Removal Notice.

Tree Removal Notice PDFs

  • Black and white version, requires printing on yellow paper
  • Full color version, allows printing on white paper
  • For information on additional requirements to remove a street tree, please see the Street Tree Manual, CAM 2307 Public Notice Posting, and CAM 2302 Tree Pruning or Removal Permits. Please note that simply posting a Tree Removal Notice for 14 days does not allow you to remove a street tree. All street tree removals also require an approved Urban Forestry Permit

    Contact the Arborist’s Office for more information or if you have questions.  SDOTPermits@seattle.gov or 206-684-TREE(8733).

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