How to Verify if a Permit Exists

On occassion, a property owner, developer or builder will claim to have a permit to erect a structure (including a fence or wall) or to disturb the soil near trees and/or cut the trees down when no permit actually exists. There are two ways to verify if a building or tree cutting permit exists: look the permit up online for trees on private property or call the Arborist Division for trees on private property and the Office of Parks for trees on public property.

Don't know if the tree is on public or private property? Call the Arborist Division first since most trees are on private property.  The Arborist Division should be able to tell you if the tree is on private or public property.

Look Up a Permit Online

For trees on private property, you can look up and track the status of building and tree cutting permits online via the City of Atlanta's Accela Database. For trees on public property, you will need to contact the Office of Parks at 404-546-6813. 

Call the City Arborist

The tree is on private property? Call the Arborist Division at 404-330-6874, open weekdays, 8:15am-5:00pm. Click here to see how to contact the Field Inspector who is assigned to your zip code.  The Field Inspectors are responsible for coming out the the site and investigating any complaints.

    • In addition to the Field Inspectors, there are several planning arborists called Plan Reviewers. These arborists approve building site plans and issue tree cutting permits, but for the most part, do not visit the sites. Site visits are conducted by the Field Inspectors who report their findings back to the Plan Reviewers.
    • The names and contact information for all Field Inspectors and Plan Reviewers can be found here.

The tree is on public property?  Call the Office of Parks at 404-546-6813, open weekdays 7:30am-4:30pm.

When calling any City employee about a tree or property, be prepared to give the exact street address and, if you can tell, the type of tree, size, and location of the tree(s) on the property you are calling about.  Ask if a current (within one year) permit exists for the tree(s) in question. Make sure that the permit covers all the trees you are concerned about.  You don't want to assume that a permit issued for one tree means all the other trees on the property are permitted to be cut as well.

If a permit does not exist, ask for an immediate inspection of the property to be conducted and request a stop work order be placed upon the property. (If the tree cutting is currently happening, please click here for what to do when you see a tree coming down.) You should follow up within 24 hours to see if indeed a stop work order sign has been placed on the property or a permit has been secured.  If not, you should escalate your concern to the manager of the division you are calling:

  • City Arborist Division's Arboricultural Manager: David Zaparanick, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • Office of Parks' Director: Doug Voss,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Phone numbers are not provided online for the two division managers above, but if you do not hear back from a manager within 24 hours after emailing him, please contact us and we can let you know how to call that manager directly.

If a permit exists, verify that the permit is current (less than 1 year old) and that it is for the exact tree(s) being cut or potentially damaged, with the size and location on the property noted. If you have concerns about why the permit was issued (i.e., the permit says the tree is dead or dying when it looks perfectly healthy to you), ask the city arborist for an explanation.

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