Outlined below are guidelines that will assist you in the lawful removal of trees from public or private property in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Tree Removal Permit Regulations for Residential Private Property
Residential property owners in Morgantown looking to improve their landscape, harvest or remove distressed trees should note that no permit is required by the City for the removal of 1 or 2 trees and stump grinding – as long as the root ball is left in tact below the ground.
Emergency Tree Removal Situations from Power Lines, Public Property, Sidewalks, or City Streets
The City of Morgantown Engineering Department and Urban Landscapes Department are responsible for the care, trimming, and removal of all trees on the City’s public right of way.
Listed below are various cases and how the removal of dead, dying, injured or hazardous trees are to be addressed:
Public Tree Blocking Road or Impeding Traffic – When a storm-damaged limb or fallen tree is encountered in the roadway or impeding traffic, the City’s Engineering Department should be contacted at (304) 284-7412 during business hours.
In the event of physical damage, personal injury, or an after hours emergency, call 911 for Emergency Services.
Tree Blocking Sidewalk or Driveway – If a fallen tree or large limb is blocking a sidewalk or driveway, the City’s Engineering Department should be contacted at (304) 284-7412.
The Engineering Department will dispatch a crew to cut and remove the portion of the tree blocking the public right of way. The portion on private property (if the tree fell from that property) will remain for the property owner to handle.
Tree Fallen on Private Property – If a tree or branch from an adjacent public right of way falls onto your yard or private property, contact the City’s Engineering Department for instructions on how to have the tree removed.
Power Line or Utility Interfering Tree – Mon Power will trim back or remove interfering trees. Residents should report trees that pose a hazard to utilities and power lines or power outages to Mon Power at (888) 544-4877.
For more info on how Mon Power manages tree damage or interference, visit firstenergycorp.com/help/safety/trees.html
Public or Private Tree Diseased, Dead or Dying – If there appears to be a dead or dying tree on city or private property that needs to be checked for removal, the City’s Engineering Department should be contacted at (304) 284-7412.
Note: If the City finds that a tree on private property has become a hazard, the City will notify the property owner giving them 30 days to prune or remove the tree. Residents that are unable to comply with the City’s notice are encouraged to contact the City’s Engineering Department at (304) 284-7412 to make arrangements.
Public or Private Overgrown Tree or Shrub – When a tree or shrub has become an obstruction to street lights, pedestrians, public right of ways, or private property, you can submit a request for their trimming at https://www.morgantownwv.gov/forms.aspx?fid=135
Private Tree Fallen on Public Property – If a tree from your yard or private property falls onto public property, the City’s Engineering Department should be contacted at (304) 284-7412. The City is only obliged to cut and remove the tree portion in the public right of way.
City of Morgantown Tree Ordinance Regulations
The City ordinances regarding trees within Morgantown allow City officials to determine whether or not a tree on public or private property poses a hazard, and take action to eliminate that hazard.
For in depth ordinance information as relates to property owners and trees, read the following excerpts from – The City of Morgantown, West Virginia’s Municipal Code Article 917 – Community Forestry.
The City Manager, or his/her designee, shall have the right and duty to prune, preserve or remove any tree or other plant existing upon any public place when such tree, or part thereof, is so infected with any injury, fungus, insect or other plant pathogens or when such tree, or part thereof, constitutes an interference with travel. The City Manager, or his/her designee, shall be authorized to take such measures with regard to such trees or plants as he or she deems necessary to preserve the function and preserve or enhance the beauty of such public place.
The City Manager, or his/her designee, shall have the authority and it shall be his/her duty to order the pruning, preservation or removal of trees upon private property when such trees meet the definition of a “HazardousTree” as defined within this article, are an obstruction as set forth in Section 917.18, or have a root system that is damaging infrastructure, such as sidewalks or streets within a public place.
917.11 TREES NOT ON A PUBLIC PLACE.
Trees located on land other than a public place or municipal public right of way are the property and responsibility of the owner of such land. Yet such trees have public usefulness, and value in energy conservation; in moderating extremes in temperature and humidity; in moderating storm water runoff; in reducing noise, glare and air pollution; in reducing soil erosion; in traffic calming; and in improving the City’s aesthetic character. To encourage the conservation of this resource, the City Manager with the assistance of the Municipal Tree Board, is empowered to take the following measures:
(a) Provide information and technical referral service to landowners, developers, builders, and other interested parties, including persons and private and public agencies, in protecting trees during planting and construction;
(b) Provide leadership for Arbor Day observances and other public education efforts as stated in Section 917.03 .
The City wishes to encourage and promote the planting of street trees to provide shade within the City; however public right of way space is limited and not always adequate for growing shade trees. Space on private land adjoining the right of way is often adequate for such planting of shade trees by the City, and the use of such space would ensure that many streets and neighborhoods that would otherwise be excluded from a municipal tree planting program would be included. The planting of shade trees by the City on private property adjoining the right-of-way would produce significant public benefits by providing a healthy and attractive tree canopy along City Streets, and also serve to encourage property owners to plant suitable shade trees in a similar manner on their property…
917.20 WRITTEN ORDER TO PRUNE, PRESERVE, REMOVE TREE OR WOODY PLANT.
When the City Manager, or his/her designee, shall find it necessary to order the pruning, preservation or removal of trees or plants upon private property as authorized in Section 917.06, he/she shall serve a written order to correct the dangerous condition upon the owner, operator, occupant, or other person responsible for its existence.This order shall be served in one of the following ways:
(a) By making personal delivery;
(b) Sent by certified or first class mail addressed to the last known address; or
(c) If the notice is returned showing that the letter was not delivered, a copy thereof shall be posted in a conspicuous place in or about the property to which the notice applies.
The order required herein shall set forth a time limit of no less than 30 days for compliance, dependent upon the hazard and danger created by the violation. In cases of extreme danger to person or public property, the City Manager, or his/her designee, shall have the authority to require compliance immediately upon service of this order.
Any person who neglects or refuses to comply with, or assists in the violation of, any of the provisions of this article, or order, permit or notice issued pursuant thereto, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each such violation. Each day any such violation continues shall constitute a separate offense, and in those cases where the violation involves the removal or damage of a tree, each such removal or damaged tree shall also constitute a separate offense.
917.24 DAMAGE AND COST OF REPLACEMENT.
Any person who causes a tree to be removed or damaged within a municipal public right of way or upon realty owned by the Municipality or realty owned by aboard, commission, or authority of the Municipality, in violation of this article, or any order, permit, or notice issued pursuant thereto, shall repair or replace any such tree at the violator’s sole cost and expense.The cost of replacement shall be determined by the City Manager.
The above statutes, articles, and full Codified Ordinances of the City of Morgantown, West Virginia can be found in the Municipal Code Library.
This Code of Ordinances and/or any other documents that appear on this site may not reflect the most current legislation adopted by the Municipality. Tree Removal Permit provides these documents for informational purposes only. These documents should not be relied upon as the definitive authority for local legislation.
City of Morgantown Application for Building Permit
A permit is required from the City of Morgantown when:
• 3 or more trees will be removed from your property
• Any tree will be uprooted from your property
• You wish to prune or remove any tree on public property
Use the following link to download the application for a building permit
Call 811 to have underground utilities identified and marked before digging into the ground or grinding a stump.
Note: on private property a permit is not required to remove up to 2 trees and their stumps – as long as the roots are left intact underground.
State of West Virginia Foresters and Loggers
The State of West Virginia has established a set of laws and regulations which address logging operations. While this manual was written primarily for loggers and foresters, you will find many useful laws and regulations applicable to other segments of the logging industry.
City of Morgantown Resources and Contact Information
389 Spruce Street
3rd Floor, Room 26
Morgantown, WV 26505
Damien Davis, P.E., CFM
Call Before You Dig