A tree removal permit may be required to remove a tree within the Town of Herndon Virginia. If your postal zip code is 20170, you are considered to be in the Town of Herndon, with some exceptions near Town limits. Property outside Town limits falls under the jurisdiction of Fairfax County.
Below you will find specific details and information regarding Herndon tree ordinance statutes, and the process for acquiring a removal permit when needed.
Tree Removal Permit Regulations for Residential Private Property
Private, commercial, and multi-family property owners in the Town of Herndon must acquire a tree removal permit for the lawful removal of protected trees within a Resource Protection Area (RPA).
In the absence of an RPA, property owners within the Town of Herndon ARE NOT required to attain a tree removal permit or notify the Town of the removal of trees on their property.
The following offers guidance for lawful tree removal and how to handle fallen trees.
Troubled, Diseased, Dead or Dying Trees – These trees (once identified by a property owner) should be addressed as quickly as possible.
The Town of Herndon’s Community Forester may require (by official notification) that a property owner take action on such a tree. Especially in cases where the tree poses an eminent threat to structures, people, and its surrounding ecosystem.
Typically the property owner is given 15 days to comply with the notification. Noncompliance is considered unlawful, and after such time has elapsed, the Town shall have the authority to remove such tree and charge the cost of that removal to the owner.
Protected Tree(s) on Private Property – Trees found along streams, watershed, easements, or other Resource Protection Areas (RPA) will require submission of an RPA permit application before any trimming, pruning, or removal activities may be performed.
For landscape improvement or construction, that is located on land that includes a Resource Protection Area, an RPA permit must be acquired.
Fairfax County’s Land Development Services – Customer and Technical Support Center should be contacted at (703) 222-0801 (option 2) for permitting and land disturbance support.
When in doubt, the Town’s Community Forester can be contacted to evaluate the location of the tree and offer further guidance.
Tree (on Town Property) Falls Onto Private Property – In this case, immediately notify the Community Forestry Department of the Town of Herndon at (703) 787-7380. A crew will be dispatched to remove the tree (in most cases, they will remove the tree in its entirety).
If the fallen tree caused physical damage to structures, inflicted bodily harm, or death on any person, file a claim using an e-claim form or mail a claim form to the Town Attorney (within 6 months of the occurrence). Pictures should be taken of the damages along with detailed documentation.
Tree (on Private Property) Falls Onto Town Property – The property owner is responsible for the portion of the tree up to the property line. After having notified the Community Forestry Department, they will dispatch a crew to remove the portion of the tree on Town property up to the private property line.
The Town will document any physical damage to structures, bodily harm, or death caused by the tree’s falling. Subsequently, the Town Attorney may file a claim against the property owner’s insurance policy.
Tree (on Private Property) Falls Onto Adjacent Private Property – The property owners are responsible for the portion of the tree that is on their respective property. Each should contact their homeowner’s insurance providers.
From where the tree(s) originated is irrelevant. However, if the property owner was previously notified of the tree posing an immediate threat, that property owner may be responsible for any and all resulting damages and injuries.
A Permit May Be Required for Commercial and Multi-Family Property
Within the Town of Herndon, commercial and multi-family properties are considered private property. The above guidelines for a private property owner may be applied here as well.
Town of Herndon and Fairfax County Tree Removal Permit Application Process for Trees in an RPA
The following will assist you in the lawful removal of dead, dying, diseased, or hazardous trees from RPA’s located on private property.
To determine whether or not an RPA (Resource Protected Areas) is located on your property, visit this digital map of Fairfax County: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/gisapps/DMV/Default.aspx
In the dropdown menu “Map Legends” select “Chesapeake Bay”. This will open the legend for Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas as seen here.
Once you have located your property on the map and found that the trees on your property are in an RPA, take the following actions:
For Dead, Dying, Diseased trees – You are permitted to remove them by hand and replace them with similar vegetation.
When in doubt, you should request that a County representative evaluate the trees and provide recommendations by contacting Land Development Services – Customer and Technical Support Center at (703) 222-0801 (option 2) for permitting and land disturbance support.
For Healthy Living Trees – The removal of healthy trees from RPA’s located on private property should only be done after consulting the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance which further defines RPA tree removal restrictions.
For trees protected under this ordinance located in the Town of Herndon, the submission of a Town of Herndon Virginia RPA permit application will be necessary.
For trees protected under this ordinance outside Town limits, a “Removal of Vegetation in a Resource Protection Area Application Form” must be submitted to Fairfax County and can be found here.
Applications proposing removal of 3 or more trees will require a letter from a Certified Arborist.
This application and all required documentation should be submitted to the Fairfax County Land Development Services Department.
Tree Removal Permit in The Town of Herndon – Within the Town of Herndon, a tree removal permit is necessary when:
- A healthy tree is to be removed and is located within an RPA on private property.
- When tree removal activities are for timber harvesting purposes.
Handling Emergency Trees on Public Property, Sidewalks, Power Lines and City Streets
Dead, dying, or hazardous trees on town property or in the public right-of-way should be addressed as follows:
Emergency Tree Removal from the Street or Public Property – When storm-damaged limbs or a fallen tree is encountered in the roadway or on public property and that tree poses an immediate hazard, call 9-1-1.
Power Line or Utility Interfering Tree – Trees that pose a hazard to utilities and power lines should be reported to Dominion Energy (866) 366-4357 (option 1).
NOTE: Never make contact with a tree that is touching power lines, as they may become energized and cause serious harm or electrocution.
Notification of Nuisance Trees – When you identify a troubled, diseased, dead, or dying tree on public property, notify the Herndon, Va Community Forestry Department at (703) 787-7380.
Herndon’s Town Services “Report A Problem” is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that may also be used to report nuisance trees.
Town of Herndon Community Forestry, Town Attorney, and Fairfax County Land Development Services
For further tree permit, Resource Protection Area, town and county jurisdiction, and other specific questions, contact the respective office(s) below:
Community Forester and Certified Arborist
Department of Community Development
Community Forestry Department
777 Lynn Street
Herndon, Virginia 20170-4602
Lesa J. Yeatts
Town of Herndon, Va
Land Development Services
Customer & Technical Support Center
Town of Herndon Tree Protection and Preservation Ordinance
The following is taken from chapter 26 of the Code of Ordinances for the Town of Herndon, Va and speaks to trees in the public right-of-way and the authority of the community forester to cause the removal of troubled trees on private property.
Sec. 26-23. – Tree permits on town-owned land and public rights-of-way.
(a) – The urban forester shall be authorized to issue tree permits for work on trees within the public right-of-way or on town-owned land.
(b) – No person, public utility or other firm shall plant, spray, fertilize, preserve, prune, remove, cut above ground, or otherwise disturb any tree within any public right-of-way or town-owned property without first filing an application and procuring a tree permit from the urban forester. The person, public utility or firm receiving the tree permit shall abide by the Arboriculture Specifications and Standards of Practice adopted by the National Arborist Association Standards.
(c) – Application for a tree permit shall be made in writing on a form approved by the urban forester and submitted to the office of the urban forester not less than 48 hours in advance of the time the work is to be done. However, the urban forester may waive this time requirement, if in his sole discretion, he determines that an emergency situation exists. The urban forester shall be notified within five days of the completion of the work in order for an inspection to occur.
(d) – A tree permit shall be issued in writing by the urban forester and shall specify the work permitted and the time period within which it is to occur. The urban forester shall have the right to inspect the work being done under a tree permit, and such tree permit may be revoked without notice by the urban forester if the conditions and terms of the tree permit are violated.
(e) – If any provision of this article conflicts with any provision of a franchise agreement with the town, then the provision in the franchise agreement shall govern.
(Code 1992, § 24.5-3)
Sec. 26-24. – Tree removal on private property.
(a) – The town shall have the right to cause the removal of all or a portion of any dead or diseased tree on private property within the town, when such tree constitutes a hazard to life or property, or harbors insects or disease which constitutes a threat to other trees within the town. The urban forester shall notify the owner in writing by certified mail of such tree, citing the tree’s condition and the corrective action required. Disposal of an insect infested or diseased tree shall also be done in the manner prescribed or approved by the urban forester. Removal or other required work shall be done by such owner at the owner’s expense within 15 days after receipt of the notice that indicates a hazard to life or property exists. It shall be unlawful for the owner to fail to remove such tree or to perform other work specified by the town. In the event of failure of the owner to comply with such provisions, the town shall have the authority to remove such tree and charge the cost of removal to the owner. If removal or other work is required by the urban forester and is not deemed to constitute a hazard to life or property, then a mutually agreed upon time frame to perform the work will be determined.
(b) – An appeal to the town council may be taken by any person aggrieved by a decision of the urban forester. Such appeal shall be made within 14 days of receipt of the notice from the urban forester by filing with the town manager a written appeal specifying the grounds of such appeal.
(Code 1992, § 24.5-4)
To examine the full City of Herndon ordinance (which governs the protection, preservation, removal, and relocation of trees in Herndon) is located in its entirety here – City of Herndon Tree Protection and Preservation Ordinance
For tree removal permit and ordinance info regarding other cities in Virginia visit: http://www.treeremovalpermit.com/virginia/