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Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Tree Work Permit & Building Plan Review Application

Street trees are important to our quality of life in the city, and it is NYC Parks’ responsibility to protect and care for them. Therefore, whether you are proposing construction on or near a City street tree, planting a tree on your own, or submitting a building plan for review, you must first apply for a Tree Work Permit.

Types of Work Requiring a Permit

Building Plan Reviews

Before you proceed with tree work, you may be required by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) to have your building plan examined by NYC Parks in order to receive a DOB Certificate of Occupancy. To do so, you must first enter a Building Plan Review, which is a multi-step design review process jointly administered by NYC Parks and DOB.

If you want to learn more about this process, please visit our Building Plan Review page.

Construction-Related Activities on or Near a Street Tree

If you, a contractor, or any other entity are looking to perform work on or within 50 feet of a tree under City jurisdiction, you must obtain a Tree Work Permit from NYC Parks prior to the start of construction, and perform all work in compliance with our Tree Protection Protocol.

Examples of activities requiring a Tree Work Permit include:

  • Excavation Near a Street Tree
  • Installation/Relocation of Utilities Near a Street Tree
  • Construction-Related Activities Near a Street Tree
  • Removal of a Street Tree
  • Removal of a Tree Stump
  • Tree Pruning & Transplantation
  • Managing Pests on Tree
  • Installation or Removal of Ornamental Decorations on Tree
  • Installation or Amendment of a Tree Guard
  • Tree Bed Expansion
  • Installation or Removal of Paving

Visit our Tree Work Activities page to learn more about each activity, and to determine whether your work requires a permit.

You must possess a Tree Work Permit to perform work on a tree. Illegal tree work is a serious offense and is punishable by law.

Planting a Tree on Your Own

If you are planting a tree on your own in front of your property or as required by the Department of Buildings, you must first obtain a Tree Work Permit. If you are required to plant trees, but cannot plant on-site or wish to receive a Certificate of Occupancy outside of a planting season, you may also wish to review our Tree Fund process.

Before you proceed, you should review our Tree Planting Standards and our List of Approved Species.

Who Can Apply

Permit applications can be made by property owners, general contractors, tree work contractors, utility services, businesses, and other entities. You must note the name of the entity performing the tree work. The entity must be qualified, and we reserve the right to deny a permit to any contractor or entity in poor standing.

When to Apply

Construction-related tree work permit applications must be received at least 20 business days prior to the start of work. Planting permit requests must be received no later than May 1 for a spring planting or December 1 for a fall planting. Sign-off is weather-dependent, so plan accordingly for potential snow and early summers.

Apply for a Tree Work Permit

Before you apply for a permit, make sure you have the following items ready.

  • The name and contact information of the landscaper, contractor, or other entity performing the tree work.
  • The location of the trees, including a street address and cross streets.
  • If applicable, whether your project is classified as a New Building, Alteration Type 1, or Alteration Type 2. Please also provide the DOB tracking number, or BIS, of your project. If you do not know your BIS number, please visit DOB’s Building Information Search page to find it.
  • Details of the type of work proposed, including the number of trees that will be affected by the project.

If you are submitting a Building Plan Review, the following items also must be uploaded.

  • Photos of the location where work will take place. The photos must be clear and in color, and Google Map or satellite images will not be acceptable. Please prepare both street frontage views and sidewalk views parallel to the street.
  • If you would like your design review expedited, you must also include a Certified Arborist Report. After review of the proposed tree work, Parks may require a Certified Arborist to be onsite during the project and to ensure that all work is done to industry standards and our protocol.
  • A building site plan, with 11”x17” architectural drawings. Refer to our Plan Review Checklist to develop your site plan.
  • If your project does not contain any existing trees within the City Right-of-Way, you may be eligible for our Fast Track program, which will expedite your permit process. Visit our Fast Track program page to learn more.

You may also be asked for the following documents. If you have gone through the Building Plan Review process, you may not need to submit this information.

  • A Pre-Construction Survey illustrating tree locations, with measured Critical Root Zones to be included in the site plan. Review our Tree Protection Details for a guide.
  • A proposed project design plan for review including street and private trees, a builder’s pavement plan, utility drawings, MTA subway road maps, and any other plans that may demonstrate conflict between City trees and your project. Please make sure the Critical Root Zones are labeled.
  • The design of your tree guards.

Once you have your documents ready, you can apply by clicking on the button below, filling out your information, and uploading your documents on the next page.

Apply Now

More Resources for Contractors

Construction Permits

If you are working on or near parkland or areas under NYC Parks’ jurisdiction or control, you must apply for an NYC Parks Construction Permit. Visit our Construction Permits page to learn more and to apply.

Best Management Practices

Our Tree Preservation Best Practices and Protocol outlines the best practices for protecting trees impacted by construction projects in the urban environment. These best practices apply to all trees under the jurisdiction of Parks & Recreation that are impacted by any construction work.

View the Tree Preservation Best Practices and Protocol

Protocol for Planned and Emergency Utility Work

Utility companies intending to do work in the proximity of a street tree are required to apply for a permit and ensure that any construction that occurs adjacent to or under the dripline of a City tree is performed according to Parks’ Utility Permit Protocols. This applies to public and private utility companies, including electric, gas, water, cable, communications, etc.

Download the Forestry Protocol for Planned and Emergency Utility Work

Tree Valuation

Parks’ Tree Valuation methodology reflects the unique importance of urban tree canopy to New York City. This valuation methodology is often used in the event of tree removal proposals or damage remediation incidents.

Download NYC Tree Valuation

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