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If you suspect that you have a hazardous tree on your property, we suggest that you contact an ISA Certified Arborist that has their tree risk assessment qualification (TRAQ). In the case of an imminent threat to life or property, emergency removal of dangerous trees may be undertaken prior to receiving a permit. If this is the case, you must notify the Planning Department within one working day and apply for a tree removal permit within one week. Please take photos prior to any emergency removal. For more information, contact the Planning Department at 206-368-5440, stop by the Permit Center at City Hall. If the tree is not an imminent threat (i.e., could fall down at any time), fill out the Tree Removal and Replacement Application Form and turn it in to City Hall during permit counter hours. You can also email the application to the City Arborist to get the application process started.
If you wish to remove one or more significant trees from your property, or you wish to remove any tree in an environmentally critical area*, you will need a permit. Significant trees are defined as any tree that has diameter** of 6" or greater. Trees under 6" in diameter** can be removed without a permit as long as they are not in an environmentally critical area* or tree conservation easement and as long as they were not replacement trees for a previous permit. Read the full ordinance in the Lake Forest Park Municipal Code.
Exemption: Dead Trees - If the tree is completely dead, you can remove it without a permit, but first please email photos of the tree to the Planning Department to confirm the dead tree meets the definition of dead. If the tree is in an environmentally critical area, the stump must remain in the ground, and the City recommends leaving the bottom 12-18 fee of the tree for wildlife habitat.
*Contact the Planning Department to find out if the tree is in an environmentally critical area. **Diameter measured at 4.5 ft above grade.
Washington case law has determined that these issues are a civil matter between the neighbors involved. Though a dead or dying tree may pose a risk to property, there are no mechanisms by which the City may intervene in this case. If the tree(s) can be assessed from your property without entering your neighbor’s property, you may hire an ISA Certified Arborist to complete an assessment of the tree(s) and provide a report. This report may be useful in talking with your neighbor about the tree. You can search for an ISA certified arborist on the website Treesaregood.org.
All trees must be chosen from the Lake Forest Park Tree List unless you receive written approval from the City Arborist to use a different species. The growing conditions, such as sun exposure, soil type, and growing space should be taken into consideration when selecting tree species.