Drafting, Reviewing and Revising

Your working group, and the public, will need substantial time to review each tree ordinance draft and submit their comments.  The project coordinator will need time to summarize the input, submit the summary to the working group and gain consensus on what changes are to be made, and then re-draft the tree ordinance to incorporate those changes.  This draft, review, and revise process may occur several times before the proposed ordinance is ready to submit to the planning commission, city council or county commission for an initial vote.

Do not put “final” anywhere on your draft ordinance document until it is voted on and adopted!  Calling your document “final” gives the impression that final decisions have been made on what the ordinance will contain and that you may not be receptive to changes.  Instead, identify your document with the word “Draft” and a version number, such as 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 when major revisions are made.  For minor corrections or wordsmithing that doesn’t substantially change the content, you can republish the draft with a version number plus a “point” number, such as Draft 1.1, Draft 1.2, etc.  Your tree ordinance will not be final until it is adopted!

The review process should include field testing your draft regulations.  Develop some real-life scenarios that will test the ordinance and show you what you need to clarify, add, or omit.  Look at previously approved development site plans to see how compliance would differ from the current regulations.


Include an applicability and exemptions chart and distribute it along with your draft for review, such as the sample provided below.


applicability and exemptions chart.JPG


Creating the applicability and exemptions chart and developing a list of anticipated frequently asked questions with your answers, will help those reviewing your draft tree ordinance to better understand the regulations it contains.

These are some questions frequently asked by citizens and businesses during the tree ordinance building or rebuilding process.  Be prepared for these any many more questions.  Welcome all these questions that require you to revise your draft tree ordinance for better clarity, to do more research to avoid conflicts with other existing ordinances, and to make you aware of and consider the unintended outcomes that might result from the regulations you are proposing.

  • Do I need a permit to cut down a tree on my property?
  • Do I need a permit to harvest timber?  Can my site be clear cut?
  • As a developer, as a homebuilder, do I have to retain all trees on a development site, outside of the buildable area?
  • How can I conserve trees if I need to grade the site for proper drainage? 
  • Can I plant a tree on the street right-of-way, in the tree lawn?
  • My neighbors have a dead tree on their property.  Can the city tell them to take it down?