City of Fernandina Beach
Submitted by Kelly N. Gibson, A.I.C.P.
March 3, 2022

For many years, the City of Fernandina Beach has been working to retain and grow its tree canopy. One mechanism for protecting the canopy is a requirement to maintain at least 50% of the tree inches on a property. New homes or businesses are later occupied, and preserved trees require routine maintenance actions.

When evaluating your trees to determine if maintenance measures are needed it’s important to think about the following:

The City’s tree protection and permitting requirements apply to healthy, native trees that are 5” (five inches) or greater in diameter at breast height (measured 4 ½ feet from the base of the tree).

    • If a protected tree has been damaged or appears unhealthy, property owners should document the damage showing the need to remove the tree and submit a Tree Removal Application to the City to get approval before the tree is removed. The City Arborist can evaluate the tree to determine if removal is needed or other measures that might be considered to save the tree. There is no fee associated with the permit or the service.
    • Tree Removal applications forms are available on the City’s website or at the Planning and Conservation Department located at City Hall, 204 Ash Street. The counter is open M-F from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    • Trimming may be done without a permit, but only 20% of total canopy may be removed and in accordance with ISA best management practices.
    • Property owners are cautioned to deal only with licensed contractors. The city cannot make any recommendations or referrals of a specific contractor.
    • If you are working with a third-party arborist, you can validate their ISA certification at
    • The City suggests that the property owner obtain the cost of all work in writing before the work is started and the work statement clearly states the quantity of work that will be done, payment terms and how debris removal will be handled.

Did you know that the City offers a free tree replacement program? Please contact the Planning and Conservation Department for more information.

For additional information or questions regarding the City’s tree protection requirements, please contact the City’s Planning & Conservation Department 904-310-3480.

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DAVID LOTT (@guest_64106)
11 months ago

A good warning. I believe it is also a requirement that if a third-party is used to perform any cutting, they are responsible for removal of the debris and it cannot be placed on the curb for pick-up by the city’s waste contractor.

Alan Peralta
Alan Peralta (@guest_64155)
10 months ago

I am wondering if this law has an enforcement team as I recently observed two separate lots nearly clear cut. Obviously not within the law. These lots are being developed for home builders. Eat Elm street park.

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