City of Houston Tree Ordinance, Chapter 33

Single Family Residential

  • A new section (33-110) was added that requires tree planting or preservation for new single-family homes.
  • Lots less than 5000 square feet will require one tree – new or preserved. A preserved tree may be on the building site or in the abutting street right-of-way A new tree shell be planted in the right-of-way unless the building official authorizes it to be planted elsewhere on the building site.
  • Lots 5000 square feet or greater will require two trees – new and or preserved. One tree must be planted in the abutting street right-of-way. The other tree, new or preserved, may be on the building site or in the abutting right-of-way. Options include planting one 4″ tree in the right-of-way in lieu of smaller trees or preserving 2 trees.
  • Trees must be a species listed on the street tree or parking lot tree list which will be a freestanding document (not part of the Ordinance) that may be amended from time to time by the Parks and Recreation Director.
  • A final code inspection will not be approved until the required trees are planted or preserved.
  • The Planning Director may waive the planning or preservation requirement and allow the property owner to purchase credits if it is determined that the size and configuration of the property and the house do not afford sufficient space for the planting or preservation of even one tree

Non-Single Family Residential

  • The formula for calculating the required number of street trees will be applied separately to each block face when a property on more than one street.
  • Street trees will be required to be planted at least 20 feet on center without extreme variation in the spacing excluding existing site conditions and driveway An existing street tree in the abutting street right-of-way may count toward the requirement of 1 required street. The Director may issue a waiver upon a determination that planting all the required street trees along a block face or street right-of-way would result in excess tree canopy.
  • A very significant change will affect the design of new parking lots. While the formula for calculating the tree requirements for parking lots remains the same, the revision requires each parking space to be within 120 feet of a parking lot or street tree. At least one-half of the parking lot trees will be large parking lot trees (as listed on the parking lot tree list). The reminder may be from the parking lot small tree list.
  • Seventy-five percent of the shrubs must be planted along the perimeter of the parking adjacent to the public street.

For more information on the City of Houston tree ordinance, please visit www.cityofhouston.org or www.treescape.org.

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