The Atlanta City Council on June 18 approved an ordinance amending the Atlanta Tree Protection Ordinance to make it easier for the removal of trees within five feet of the structural foundation of existing single family residential structures or duplexes.

However, Atlanta homeowners will only be allowed to cut down one tree every five years under the new ordinance.

The ordinance is designed to protect home foundations from root damage and limb obstruction, while also placing limitations on how far a homeowner can go in getting rid of trees on their own property.

A homeowner must still obtain an opinion from a city arborist and obtain a permit. However, the city would not charge a fee for the permit.

The legislation was sponsored by Council members C.T. Martin, District 10, and Mary Norwood, Post 2 At-Large.

On June 4th, the City Council approved an ordinance allowing residents within the same Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) or someone living within 500 feet of said tree to appeal an arborist’s decision to allow the removal of a tree.

The council is concerned with striking a balance between preservation of the city’s trees and homeowner rights.

A recent report by the University of Georgia said metro Atlanta adds 55 acres of concrete daily, most at the expense of trees and green space.