Do I Need a Tree Permit?
In most cases, a Tree Permit will be required by the City for tree-related activities including, but not limited to, removal, pruning that qualifies as excessive pruning, and creating a wildlife snag. The most common exemption is for the removal of nonsignificant trees that are not protected by any other means. If you would like confirmation as to whether a Tree Permit is required for your circumstances, please email us.
Please note: A “Significant Tree” is defined as a tree at least six inches or greater DBH or an alder or cottonwood tree eight inches or greater DBH.
Public Agency Tree Removal Notification
Issaquah Municipal Code 18.812.030(C) allows for Tree Removal by a public agency or a franchised utility within a public right-of-way or upon an easement, for the purpose of installing and/or maintaining water, storm, sewer, power, gas lines, communication lines, or motorized or nonmotorized streets or paths. However, notification to the Community Planning and Development Department is required prior to tree maintenance or removal within City-owned rights-of-way. Tree replacement is required. Please submit the required Public Agency Tree Removal Notification prior to any tree removal.
Note: If a fee applies, it will be assessed at time of permit application. A decision on the permit may not be made until permit fees are paid. Please see Issaquah Municipal Code (IMC) 3.64 for fees.
- How do I calculate the canopy coverage for my lot, tract, or parcel?
We have prepared a step-by-step tutorial to assist you with calculating the tree canopy coverage for your lot, tract, or parcel. The Canopy Cover Worksheet also includes a list of approved trees with their projected 20-year canopy. A map of the City's Planning Subareas is also included.
- Why does the City want to Preserve Trees?
Trees are essential to the community for their aesthetic and economic value, as well as for their ecological benefits. Trees reduce the impact of stormwater runoff, improve air quality, moderate the effects of wind and temperature, and enhance the visual appearance of the community. Although trees can be removed and replaced with new plantings, it takes many years or decades for young trees to reach maturity and match the benefits of existing trees. If you are considering cutting or removing trees on your property you should review this material before beginning.
- Do I need a permit to remove, snag, or prune a tree?
In most cases a Tree Permit will be required by the City for tree-related activities including, but not limited to, removal, pruning that qualifies as excessive pruning, and creating a wildlife snag. The most common exemption is for the removal of nonsignificant trees that are not protected by any other means. If you would like confirmation as to whether a Tree Permit is required for your circumstances, please email us at CPD@IssaquahWA.gov.
Please note: A “Significant Tree” is defined as a tree at least six inches or greater DBH or an alder or cottonwood tree eight inches or greater DBH. A “Protected tree” means any tree in a greenbelt, environmentally critical area, common area, approved landscape plan, right-of-way, City-owned property, a tree previously planted as a replacement tree, or a tree protected by any other measure. Protected trees are also those which are permanently protected by an easement, such as a native growth protection easement (NGPE), tract, or covenant restriction.
- What defines a “Tree”?
“Tree” means any living woody plant species other than a shrub, characterized by one main trunk or few dominant trunks and many branches, known to achieve a typical mature height of at least 15 feet.
- Can the City Arborist come to my property?
The City does not employ an Arborist for the purpose of evaluating privately-owned trees. Should you need assistance locating an Arborist, you are encouraged to perform a search at the following site: https://www.treesaregood.org/findanarborist
- How do I apply for a Tree Permit?
- How many trees can I remove under one Tree Permit?
One Tree Permit application must be submitted per Lot, Tract, or Parcel. You may request to remove or modify (snag, excessive pruning) any number of trees under one permit, but each tree must meet the approval criteria in Issaquah Municipal Code (“IMC”) 18.812.050.
- Is there a Tree Permit fee?
All Tree Permits are assessed a fee pursuant to IMC 3.64.010. There is no fee applied when only trees deemed “hazardous” are proposed for removal.
- What do I do if this is an emergency?
The City allows for the removal of any number of hazardous trees prior to obtaining a permit under emergency conditions. Emergency conditions include immediate danger to life or dwellings, or similar stationary and valuable property. Please see IMC 18.812.050(D) for applicable regulations.
- What if I have concerns about trees located on City property?
Please contact us at CPD@issaquahwa.gov and City staff will determine whether the tree(s) in question are, in fact, on City property. If the trees are on City property, your concern will be directed to the Department responsible for maintenance of the area in question; this will generally be our Parks or Public Works Departments.
- What if I have concerns about a tree located on a neighbor’s property?
Please work with your neighbor directly and make them aware of your concerns. You are welcome to direct them to the Community Planning & Development Department should they have any questions about the Tree Permit process.
- What if I need to remove trees in association with a home addition or other development project?
In this case, a separate Tree Permit is not required. The removal can be reviewed concurrent with the underlying construction permit(s) but must meet the Tree Canopy Coverage and Minimum Tree Retention criteria in IMC 18.812.060 and 18.812.070, respectively. Replacement Trees may be required.
- What should I do if I think trees are being removed illegally?
Please contact us at CPD@issaquahwa.gov, and provide the address of the location where you believe a violation may be occurring. Photographs are always helpful, but not necessary.
- What are the penalties for illegally removing trees?
Violations of the Tree Preservation Ordinance are subject to the applicable Code Enforcement and penalty provisions set out in Chapter 18.108 of the IMC, which can include civil penalties.
- This has been very informative, but I have additional questions. Who can I speak with?
Please contact us at CPD@issaquahwa.gov.