Knowledge Base

Residential Tree Removal

A residential property owner can remove up to three trees during a five-year period provided the required minimum ratio of four trees per each 5,000 square feet of total lot area remain on the site or are re-planted. 

A free land clearing permit exemption is required and must be obtained from the City prior to removing any trees, including those deemed hazardous or diseased. 

Hazardous and diseased trees are permitted to be removed following a site visit by the City’s Arborist, and do not count towards the minimum tree removal requirement. See Table 14T-66 for payment responsibility.

Permit Requirements

No tree removal is permitted on any residential property located within the City of Lacey without a land clearing permit or exemption. In certain cases, a class IV forest practice permit may also be required.

Permit Exemption

The following situations typically qualify for issuance of a permit exemption:

  • Removal of hazard trees and ground cover in emergency situation involving immediate danger to life or property or substantial fire hazards as determined by the City Arborist;
  • Removal of three or fewer trees in any 60 consecutive months, or ground cover for the purposes of solar access, general property and utility maintenance, landscaping or gardening;
  • Removal of trees and ground cover within a maximum of 10 feet of the perimeter of a single-family or duplex dwelling structure construction line, and any area proposed to be cleared for related driveway and utility purposes; and
  • Removal of obstructions required for vision clearance at intersections.

In all cases, the standards for tree density must be maintained.

Application for Permit Exemption

Properties owners must submit a completed permit exemption form, including a drawing of their property indicating all tree(s) to be removed.

There is no charge to obtain a permit exemption. If a property owner wishes to remove more than three trees within five years because they believe them to be diseased or hazardous, a “Request for Review” by the City Arborist needs to be submitted. The City Arborist is a recognized expert in tree preservation and management with whom the City has contracted in the interest of achieving professional assistance and consistency in tree protection decisions.

For explanation of payment of forester services, see Table 14T-66.


If you hire a contractor to remove the trees(s), the City requires that they have a Lacey endorsement to their State Business License. The City also recommends, for your protection, that the contractor be licensed and bonded. Any contractor who is removing a tree within the City must also sign and submit an agreement that they have read and understand the City of Lacey’s Tree Protection Regulations.

Updated 2/7/2024 10:52 AM
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