Austin tree ordinance:
Since the Heritage Tree Ordinance was approved in February, 30 applications for tree removal permits have been filed and, of those, 20 have been granted, which has left some Austin residents wondering if the city cares more about its trees than its citizens.
The city has taken an interest in protecting its trees since 1983 when the council passed protected tree provisions. The Tree and Natural Area Protection Code is based on urban forest management, diversification, preservation and replenishment.
On single-family lots a permit is needed before a tree with a diameter between 19 inches and 24 inches may be removed. There is no regulation for trees smaller than 19 inches in diameter.
City staff inspects trees and sites when an application is submitted. If the tree meets the approval criteria, city staff may approve removal, regardless of size.