When City Laws Prevent The Removal Of Trees Within Your Property

Does a homeowner have the right to remove trees standing within his property? When Mike Dykstra moved into a new south end home, he removed some of the trees in the backyard. Mike’s backyard at 115 Dawn Avenue had plenty of trees and he decided to remove some of them to make way for a garage, a project that required the approval of the city.

Mike thought there was no issue to tree removal but unknowingly, he violated a city law that prohibits the removal of healthy trees without the city’s permission on city projects for properties that are more than 0.2 hectares in size. The bylaws do not apply to smaller lots. When Mike learned about the law, he made the effort to follow the rules and get permission for the removal of more trees in front of the property. He was turned down.

Mike’s case led to a rare challenge to the City of Guelph’s tree removal bylaw. Mike told the council that the trees he wanted removed from the front of the property has not been maintained for years; hence, the trees blocked visibility between neighbors. It could potentially become an insurance liability. Mike’s initial application stated aesthetics as the reason for tree removal.

According to the city, the tree removal bylaw was made to prevent people from cutting down trees. The bylaw further stated that for every tree removed from a property, replacement will be on a three to one ratio. In lieu of replacement, the property owner has the option to pay $500 for every tree removed. The money will be used to plant trees in another location within the city’s property.

The potential cost is too steep. The council made a compromise with Mike since he was trying to do the right thing. He was granted permission to remove 5 trees in the front yard.

If the only remaining option is tree removal, professionals must always be hired for the job for purposes of safety. It is very easy to call tree removal in Perth that is trained and experienced at handling the job with the right equipment and techniques.