Tree Conservation

Last updated Nov. 03, 2017 - 2:03 pm

Tree conservation is a regulatory requirement for some residential and commercial development projects. The requirement applies to existing stands of trees that are to be saved based either on location or basal area, a term used in forest management that defines the area of a given section of land that is occupied by the cross-section of tree trunks and stems at their base

There are other regulations related to tree removal that do no fall under tree conservation, such as minor tree removal, which is reviewed under a separate process.

Tree Conservation Reviews are required as part of these plan reviews:

Site Plan approval

Commercial building plans

Residential building plans - Single family and duplex



Approvals or Permits Issued

  • Tree Conservation Permits

Key Steps In The Process

  1. The first is approval of the locations with any subdivision or site plan for a parcel two acres or larger, under the requirements of UDO article 9.1.
  2. The next is issuance of a tree conservation permit to be obtained.
  3. The third is the recordation of these areas on a recorded map that has been approved by the city and then taken to Wake County register of deeds for recordation. Tree Conservation Plat Statement.

Submittal Requirements

Required for Submittal
  • Permit Application
  • Four sets of tree conservation plans. Plans should show location of tree conservation areas, based on code priorities, with standardized names, acreage of each area, metes and bounds, four aerial photographs, and four tree conservation plan data sheets
Required for Tree Conservation Areas that must contain at least 30 square feet of basal area
  • Four tree cover reports. Requirements of a tree cover report appear in UDO section 9.1.4.E.3.b
  • Four sets of photo panoramic panels or an actual survey of trees may be submitted in place of aerial photographs and photo panoramic panels

Additional Information

  • Metes and bounds are not required for initial preliminary plan review
  • Tree conservation and grading reviews are typically done during the same plan review; however, a tree conservation review may be done separately, if requested
  • Standard Temporary Silt Fence Detail Drawing and 40.03-Standard Temporary Silt/ Tree Protection Fence Detail Drawing
  • See Tree Conservation Section of Concurrent Review Checklist

Expected Processing Time

Five business days


  • Tree conservation area permit is assessed per acre of tree conservation area.
  • See Development Fee Schedule for specific fees
  • Fee is due at the end of the process before permit is issued
  • The Development Services Customer Service Center processes payments.
  • Payment types include cash, MasterCard, Visa or check made payable to the City of Raleigh.

Next Steps

Tree conservation areas must be recorded prior to or concurrent with subdivision recording with the local county Register of Deeds office prior to issuance of a building permit and after plat approval from City of Raleigh.

Was this page helpful?