Before maintaining or cutting down a tree, residents should check with the City to ensure the work is legal. Trees are important – they improve our air quality, serve as habitats, and provide cooling shade. They are also historic. The City is currently in a process to consider enhancing legal protections for trees.
The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed updates to the City’s tree regulations on July 6, 2022.
View a recording of the hearing by clicking here – it begins at approximately 30 minutes into the meeting. Written comments were accepted through noon on June 30, 2022.
The City reviewed the proposed edits to the municipal code and the comprehensive plan currently under review before the Planning Commission. View the July 6 meeting materials as amended to include proposed edits to LMC Chapter 2.48, including the public comments received, here.
The City Council convened a committee to review existing tree code and suggest improvements. The committee met seven times between March and April of 2022.
The Committee report includes recommendations on several key issues: tree canopy, exemptions, permitting, definitions, establishing a heritage or historical tree program, tree replacement/ removal standards, the City tree fund, fines, and incentives.
The Planning Commission began reviewing the tree preservation code update on May 4, 2022. The Commission’s review will continue through June and July. The Commission will hold its public hearing on July 6: View the July 6 meeting materials as amended to include proposed edits to LMC Chapter 2.48, including the written public comments received, here.
Thousands of American soldiers perished in WWI, and 500 oak trees were planted along I-5 in their memory. As the highway expanded, many oaks were destroyed. Lakewood resident Mike Farley collected acorns from these oaks and worked with the City of Lakewood to find a new “Boulevard of Remembrance” in Fort Steilacoom Park.
About the Urban Forestry Program
The City of Lakewood penalizes parties that illegally remove trees. Fines may cost tens of thousands of dollars.
The City convened an Ad Hoc Tree Advisory Committee in 2022. The committee included representatives with a variety of perspectives on environmental issues and property rights. The committee’s recommendations will be considered by the Planning Commission and City Council.
Local Tree Code and State Law Related to Trees
There are three areas in the Lakewood Municipal code related to tree protection/preservation.
Lakewood Municipal Code Title 18A.70.300– Tree Preservation, promotes tree preservation by protecting the treed environment of the City of Lakewood by regulating the removal of significant trees and providing incentives to preserve trees that, because of their size, species, or location, provide special benefits.
Lakewood Municipal Code Critical Areas Ordinance, Chapter 14– which regulates critical areas in including Priority White Oak Woodlands. Priority White Oak Woodlands are defined in LMC 14.165 as
“Priority Oregon white oak woodland” means forested areas of pure oak, or of oak/conifer associations one acre or larger, and all oak trees located within, where oak canopy coverage of the area is at least 25 percent. Stands of oaks less than one acre in size may also be considered priority habitat when found to be particularly valuable to fish and wildlife (i.e., they contain many cavities, have a large diameter at breast height (dbh), are used by priority species, or have a large canopy).“
Shoreline Master Program– Provides for the management and protection of the state’s shoreline
resources located in the City of Lakewood.
Tree Removal Information
Tree removal permits are required for any tree to be removed on a property that is not exempt from the tree preservation regulations, the critical areas ordinance or the shoreline master program. If your property is located in a critical area or shoreline jurisdiction, please contact our permitting department at [email protected]
Single-family residential lots under 17,000 are exempt from tree preservation regulations. No permit is required for a single-family residential lot under 17,000 that is not located in a critical area or shoreline jurisdiction.
|Lot Size||Maximum number of significant trees allowed to be removed in 1 year without a permit||Maximum number of significant trees allowed to be removed in 5 years without a permit|
|Lots up to 17,000 sq. ft.||N/A||N/A|
|Lots 17,001 to 30,000 sq. ft.||2||4|
|Lots 30,001 sq. ft. or greater||4||8|
To find out the exact size of your lot, visit the City’s interactive GIS
Industrially zoned lots are generally exempt from the tree preservation code. To find out what your property is zoned you can visit the City’s interactive GIS
Tree removal permits are always required on commercial and multi-family residential lots
To apply for a tree removal permit please visit the City’s online permitting dashboard and select “apply online”. Tree removal permits are Land Use/ Environmental Permit applications.
How to Report Illegal Tree Removal
All recent permitting activity can be found on the City’s online permitting dashboard. Once on the dashboard, you can select “permit search” to verify if a permit has been received. Tree removal permits are not always required on lots zoned residential or industrial.