City Wishes to Keep Citizens Informed on Tree Removal Permitting

May 31, 2012

The City of Fernandina Beach is receiving a number of questions from homeowners regarding tree removal.  In an effort to keep citizens informed, the following press release was distributed:

 “In the aftermath of the significant damage to trees from Tropical Storm Beryl, questions have arisen about the need for Tree Removal Permits.  Under the City’s Land Development

Remains of a Fallen

Code Section 4.05.09, a waiver for tree removal permits can be granted only for a period after a state of local emergency has been declared.  The City has not made such a declaration so the tree permitting requirements remain in effect. If you have any questions, please call the City’s Planning Department at (904) 277-7325.

Important facts to know are:

  • The City’s tree protection and permitting requirements only apply to trees that are 5” or greater in diameter measured 4 ½ feet from the base of the tree.  Smaller diameter trees can be removed with no permit.
  • A property owner has the right to immediately remove any tree damaged by disease, fire, windstorm, lightning, or other acts of nature, which pose an imminent danger to life or property.  The owner should document the damage through a photograph and submit an after-the-fact Tree Removal Application form to the City.  There is no fee for such removals.
  • If a protected tree has been damaged but does not pose an immediate safety hazard, the property owner 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.  Again, there is no fee associated with the permit for this type of removal.
  • Tree Removal Applications forms are available on the City’s website  or at the Planning Department located at City Hall, 204 Ash Street.  The counter is open M-F from 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Property owners are cautioned to deal only with licensed contractors.  The City cannot make any recommendations or referrals of a specific contractor.
  • 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.
  • The City is proud to have been designated as a Tree City USA for the 10th year.
  • Using 2008 aerial photos of the City, it was estimated that the overall tree canopy coverage for the entire City is 37%.
  • Trees are not just aesthetically pleasing, they also provide environmental benefits such as storm water management and increased air quality.
  • The City’s tree management plan is currently used by multiple departments, such as Maintenance and Parks & Recreation, to better care for the City’s existing public space trees by helping to identify hazard trees and to identify and prioritize maintenance tasks, such as pruning.”