Street Tree Planting

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Planting trees within the Right-of-Way (ROW) requires a separate Right-of-Way Tree (RTRE) Permit. All tree planting, pruning, and removal work performed within the ROW shall be in compliance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 and Z133.1 and comply with Tacoma Municipal Code (TMC) 9.20 Urban Forestry and 13.06.090.B, as well as the standards set forth in the Urban Forestry Manual (UFM), Chapter 4.2 General Landscaping Standards.

Permits are available through the Planning and Development Department Permit Center, online at

A Right-of-Way Tree Permit will be granted if the adjacent property owner, or the owner’s authorized agent, can sufficiently demonstrate that the standards contained in TMC and the UFM can be met.

Standard clearances for trees in the ROW are as defined in UFM and in the City Standard Plan LS-02. There are limited exceptions allowed based on site specific review and approval by the City.

Tree species should be selected with a growth form that is fitting of the space available.  Lower branches overhanging the sidewalk and roadway should be pruned to maintain 8 feet of clearance over the sidewalk and 14 feet of clearance over the roadway, as the tree matures.

Pedestrian Crossings – Treatments in planting strips to accommodate for pedestrian crossings should be considered if the project site has on-street parking and is located within a mixed-use center, commercial area or other location that experiences heavy pedestrian traffic. Guidance on standards for pedestrian crossings are located in the MoMAP.

Tree pits (tree wells) and planting strips shall be adequately sized according to the tree species selected and City of Tacoma Standard Detail LS-03 Tree Well Dimension. The soil adjacent to the tree shall be  pervious to accommodate healthy tree growth, and reduce potential conflicts between infrastructure and trees. Tree grates are allowed but not recommended by the City, due to the maintenance necessary to ensure a surface flush with adjacent sidewalk for public safety, and allowing for expansion of the tree trunk as it grows. If proposed, all tree grates must meet the requirements set forth for ADA compliance, including surfacing (slip resistance) and maximum opening size. Refer to the Right-of-Way Design Manual, CHAPTER 8, Section 5 for the requirements regarding tree grates.

Types of trees allowed
The applicant must select a street tree from the City of Tacoma Approved Tree Lists (UFM, Volume 3, Appendix 7). If an applicant proposes an alternative tree, information on the growing characteristics of the tree from a published source such as a nursery “cut sheet” must accompany the application.

Types of trees prohibited
See the Prohibited Tree List contained in the Urban Forest Manual, Appendix 7A.

Planting Requirements
See standard detail LS-01 for standard planting requirements. The City of Tacoma Urban Forestry Manual.

Traffic Control
The property owner or tree care provider must provide appropriate traffic control during all regulated tree work operations. Traffic Control Plans are needed for activities in or near the ROW where equipment, materials, or people entering or using the street and sidewalk areas could create safety hazards or traffic congestion. Traffic Control Plans must be submitted with the Right-of-Way Tree Permit and must comply with the City of Tacoma Traffic Control Handbook.



Site Sketch Drawing & Site Information Proposed Tree Planting Information

1.     Location(s) of existing and proposed buildings, streets, sidewalks, and existing trees

2.     Location of known overhead and underground utilities (call  811 for utility locates prior to planting to confirm locations)

3.     Location of any excavation or construction proposed within Tree Protection Zone (refer to City of Tacoma Standard Detail LS-08)

4.     Contact information of adjacent property owner

a.     If the permit applicant is not the abutting owner and is making off-site improvements under a project permit, the following additional notice requirements shall apply:

i.    provide written notice by mail to the last known address of record of the owner of the abutting property indicating the intent to plant the street tree(s). Include a brief statement of the need and nature of the work intended and the location of the street tree proposed to be planted. Provide a good faith estimate of the time frame in which such work will occur and how the Permittee can be contacted regarding the street tree work. 

b.     Upload a copy of the letter that was sent to the abutting owner(s) as well as a list of addresses and contact information the letter was sent to must be uploaded to the permit.

5.     Proposed quantity of trees, planting location(s), and dimensions of planting space (length and width of tree pit or planting strip).

6.     Proposed tree species (common and scientific name), and sizes (small, medium, or large species)

7.     If proposed tree species is not selected from UFM preapproved street tree lists, provide tree growth information, often called “cut sheets”, describing the proposed street tree’s mature height, crown spread and growth rate.



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