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​Trees & Development

Any work that occurs in the right-of-way that impacts a city-owned street tree, including tree removal, tree planting and tree trimming, requires the submission and approval of a Forestry PermitThe permit is free, however, a canopy loss fee and/or tree appraisal will be charged for the removal of any city-owned street tree. 

Canopy Loss Fee

The canopy loss fee is a conservative estimate of the value the city-owned tree has to the community.  The canopy loss fee is determined by subtracting the total caliper inches of replacement street trees from the total DBH (diameter at breast height) inches of trees removed multiplied by the current average tree replacement cost per caliper inch.  The canopy loss fee is part of the Public Services fees that are approved by City Council. 

Effective July 1, 2013, the
canopy loss fee rate is:
$190/inch for shade trees
$172/inch for ornamental trees. 

Canopy Loss Fee Examples

Example A:
Trees to be removed:  12" Norway Maple, 6" Hackberry and 6" Sweetgum
Total DBH inches of trees removed= 24"
Replacement trees:  Three, 2" caliper trees
Total Caliper inches of replacement trees = 6"

Canopy Loss Fee Calculation:  (24" - 6") x $190/inch = $3420

Example B:
Trees to be removed:  8" Callery Pear, 4" Eastern Redbud
Total DBH inches of trees removed= 12"
Replacement trees:  Five, 2" caliper trees
Total Caliper inches of replacement trees = 10

Canopy Loss Fee Calculation:  (12" - 10") x $172/inch = $344


Street Tree Escrow

As a requirement for approval of a plat or site plan and in accordance with Chapter 57 Attachment C of the Land Development Regulations, developers are required to pay a street tree escrow fee for the purpose of planting and maintaining trees on the public street right-of-way abutting the new development. The street tree escrow rate is $1.30 per linear foot of street frontage.  In situations where there are existing street trees meeting City standards, the street frontage amount can be reduced by 45 feet for every existing acceptable tree. 

The street tree escrow must be paid prior to issuing building permits.  A request to refund the street tree escrow must be submitted in writing to Systems Planning, 301 E. Huron St., PO Box 8647, Ann Arbor, MI 48107-8647 or fax 734.994.1744 -- ATTN: Kerry Gray. Please refer to the project name and number on refund request.  The refund will be processed after satisfactory site inspection for long-term survival of planted trees, typically one year after the trees have been planted.  The street tree escrow will not be refunded if there were no street trees planted. 


Questions?  Please contact Kerry Gray, Urban Forestry and Natural Resources Planning Coordinator at or 734.794.6430 x 43703.

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