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Private Tree Preservation By-law
The trees in our community are essential for our quality of life today and they create a valuable legacy for future generations.
The Community Services Department is responsible for trees on Town lands. Trees on your private property are your responsibility. Together, we can enhance and protect our community's trees.
Tree Preservation By-law
Enacted March 19, 2007, the private property Tree Preservation By-law No. 41-07 regulates the destruction or injury of trees on private lands within the Town of Richmond Hill.
Our Town, Our Trees Brochure [PDF]
Tree Preservation By-law No. 41-07 [PDF]
The By-law requires that you obtain a permit before injuring or destroying any tree on private property in the Town of Richmond Hill with a diameter at breast height of 20 cm or more.
Obtain a permit application form
Fill out the application form completely
Have a Certified Arborist prepare an Arborist Report on your tree or trees
Pay the required non-refundable fee of $150 for the first tree, plus $50 for each additional tree to a maximum of $400
Anyone who contravenes any provision of the Tree Preservation By-law is guilty of an offence and subject to penalties.
How Do I Get a Permit?
You can download and print the permit application below.
Application to Permit Injury or Destruction of Trees on Private Property [PDF]
You can also obtain a permit application form from Parks Planning & Natural Heritage staff at the Municipal Offices, 225 East Beaver Creek Road, 8th floor. Completed applications can either be dropped off at or mailed to:
Parks Planning & Natural Heritage
225 East Beaver Creek Road
Richmond Hill, ON L4C 3P4
Are There Any Exemptions?
Yes, there are exemptions. In certain circumstances you do not need a permit, for example, you do not need a permit to remove dead, diseased or hazardous trees. In such cases, you must submit an Arborist Certificate, prepared by a Certified Arborist, to the Parks, Recreation and Culture Department. There is no fee required when submitting an Arborist Certificate.
Sites which are subject to the development review process under the Ontario Planning Act R.S.O. 1990 (e.g. a site plan or subdivision application has been submitted to the Town), are exempt from the Tree Preservation By-law permit process in order prevent duplication between the two processes. Tree preservation requirements on development sites are approved by the the Parks Planning & Natural Heritage Section of the Planning & Regulatory Services Department following review of Tree Inventory and Preservation Plans, which must now be submitted as a component of complete site plan and subdivision applications. The review of Tree Inventory and Preservation Plans submitted for developments is consistent with the review of Tree Preservation By-law permit applications.
Tree Inventory & Preservation Plan Guidelines [PDF]
Do you need a permit to prune a tree?
Trees that are being pruned to Arboricultural Standards do not require a permit. Check for pruning information at a Garden Centre, Library or via Online search under 'Tree Pruning' as possible sources.
What Should I Do if I Suspect an Illegal Tree Removal Is Taking Place?
You should call and explain the details to the Town's By-law and Licensing Enforcement Section at (905) 771-0198.
How Do I Get More Information?
You can download and print the helpful Our Town, Our Trees brochure [PDF] or pick one up from Parks Planning & Natural Heritage at the Municipal Offices (8th floor) or the Operations Centre. You may also call (905) 771-8800 or contact the Parks Planning & Natural Heritage Section via e-mail.
There are several Fact Sheets about the Tree Preservation By-law and permit application details available to help you, too. You can pick them up with the permit application form or download and print them here.
Fact Sheet 1.0 - Preserving Richmond Hill's Trees [PDF]
Fact Sheet 2.0 - Tree Preservation By-law Permit Process [PDF]
Fact Sheet 3.0 - Arborist Reports and Certificates [PDF]
Fact Sheet 4.0 - Measuring Tree Trunk Diameter at Breast Height [PDF]
Fact Sheet 5.0 - Guidelines for Construction Near Trees [PDF]
Fact Sheet 6.0 - Aborist Input During the Five Stages of the Development Process [PDF]