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Tree Removal
Overview
A permit is required to remove any ordinance sized tree, which is a tree with a trunk circumference of 56 inches or greater measured at two feet above grade. If the tree is dead, a Dead Tree Removal Application is required and there is no fee.  If the tree is alive, then either an administrative Unsuitable Tree Removal Application (see below) is required or a Live Tree Removal Application, a public hearing, and a public noticing fee is required, per the criteria described below. 

For multifamily residences, commercial properties, and industrial properties, a permit is required for the removal of trees of any size. For trees on these properties, a Live Tree Removal Application is required if the tree is ordinance sized, or a Permit Adjustment is required if the tree is smaller than ordinance sized. 

Unsuitable Trees

For single-family residences, if the trunk of an ordinance sized tree is five (5) feet or closer to a dwelling or an underground utility line/pipe, or belongs to a species found by the City Council to be uniquely less compatible with the immediate environment, the tree is considered an Unsuitable Tree.  Unsuitable tree species are: Eucalyptus, Liquidambar, Palm (outside of the Palm Haven Conservation Area), Pine, Tree of Heaven, and Tulip.  Unsuitable Trees require an Unsuitable Tree Removal Application.  A public hearing is not required for Unsuitable Trees.

City Street Trees

City Street Trees, or trees in the public right-of-way, are commonly located within the parkstrip or the area between the curb and the sidewalk.  For permission to remove, prune, or plant City street trees (generally located between the sidewalk and curb), please contact the Department of Transportation at (408) 277-2762, or visit their website for additional information.

Heritage Trees

Pursuant to Chapter 13.28 of the San Jose Municipal Code, the City's Heritage Tree List identifies over 100 trees with special significance to the community because of their size, history, unusual species, or unique quality. This list is updated from time to time to add or delete certain trees (see City Council Resolution 75974 and the City's Heritage Tree Map).  The City Arborist's Office works with the respective property owners to protect the health and structure of Heritage Trees, and can be contacted at (408) 794-1915.