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Do I Need HOA Approval to Remove a Tree in Lexington, KY?

If you live in a gated community or other place with a homeowners’ association, you probably wonder, “Do I need HOA approval to remove a tree?” When you need a reliable and prompt tree service company in Lexington, KY, contact Tree Care Inc. Whether you are a private property owner, a business owner, or must gain approval from  HOA boards, we’ll help you through the process.

City of Lexington Tree Removal Process

Every city has slightly different rules governing the tree removal process, all of which may still apply even if you’re a homeowner who joins an HOA.

Private Property Trees

You do not need a permit to remove a tree on your private property in most areas of the city. However, you likely still need approval from your HOA board. 

Properties in a Historic District

Lexington currently has 15 historic districts. If your home resides in any of the following neighborhoods, you’ll need a permit from the Office of Historic Preservation before you remove the tree, in addition to approval from your HOA:

  1. Ashland Park 
  2. Aylesford
  3. Bell Court
  4. Cadentown
  5. Constitution
  6. Elsmere Park
  7. Fayette Park
  8. Gratz Park
  9. Mulberry Hill
  10. Pensacola Park
  11. Northside
  12. Seven Parks
  13. South Ashland/Central Avenue
  14. South Hill
  15. Woodward Heights

In the Public Right-of-Way

The public right of way is any part of your land that offers public transportation or utilities, such as the space between your sidewalk and the road, property next to railroads, or pieces of land that have power lines. You may own the piece of land or may just have property that butts up against it. Either way, if you’re worried about a tree in this area, you need a permit.

In the specific situation where the tree sits between the curb and the sidewalk, you’re responsible for removing the tree. You should still seek approval from your HOA before doing so.

Other Important Lexington Tree Laws

Sections 12 and 17 of the city’s municipal code discuss the following guidelines and regulations for trees:

  • Homeowners cannot allow a tree or hedge to grow in a way that interferes with sidewalk or vehicle traffic
  • You must properly maintain trees in your right-of-way.
  • Property owners must not let trees interfere with trash collection or become a public safety risk or threat to adjacent property.
  • Property owners must maintain a clearance of at least seven feet over a sidewalk and 12 feet over a normal street (14 feet if the street qualifies as a truck route).

Understanding these guidelines can empower you to advocate your case with the HOA board. If your tree violates any of the above regulations, the city may take steps to remove it and charge you for their tree services.

Factors the Homeowners Association Considers Before Approving Tree Removal

If you’re searching, “Do I need HOA approval to remove a tree?” you should understand what factors determine whether you need approval from the HOA.

Your Specific HOA Policy

Your specific HOA bylaws are the most important consideration about whether you must consult them for tree removal. Why would your HOA restrict the circumstances concerning when you can remove a tree?

  • Trees add value: Healthy trees are almost always an asset to the property because they help clean the air, provide shade and entertainment space, house birds and other wildlife, and improve your curb appeal. A major purpose of the HOA is upholding property values, so they usually don’t remove trees unless necessary.
  • Trees create disputes: When a tree is growing near another property, it can cause disputes. If a neighbor likes the tree your shade provides or it overhangs their property, they may have different feelings about whether or not you should remove it. In this case, an HOA can help settle the discussion.
  • Service creates disruptions: Whether you’re trimming your tree or removing it completely, tree services create disruptions. It usually requires a crew and large and loud equipment, and it may restrict road access your HOA wants to avoid.

If you want to remove a tree on your property, carefully read your governing documents to determine if you require HOA approval.

Tree Ownership

One of the biggest issues in tree removal is determining who owns the tree and, thus, who must pay for its removal. According to state law, if the tree trunk sits on your property, you assume responsibility for removing it.

Reason for Removal

Your reason for removing the tree will greatly affect whether your HOA allows removal. In general, an HOA rarely allows removal of a tree unless it poses significant safety hazards, such as:

  • Poor tree health that puts it at risk of falling or spreading disease to other trees
  • Encroaching on powerlines
  • Overhanging a sidewalk, street, or another person’s property (they may allow trimming rather than complete removal)
  • A tree that has already fallen, thus posing a threat to safety 

Tips for Handling Emergency Tree Removal

What happens if a tree owned by the city poses a threat to your property? You shouldn’t need HOA approval (though read your bylaws to know for sure), but if you witness any of the following, call the city to remove the tree:

  • If you see a tree blocking a driveway or sidewalk, the city will remove it even if it grew on private property.
  • Trees that block roads can impede emergency services and back up traffic in other areas of the city.
  • If the tree caused personal or property damage, call 911 first.
  • If a city tree falls on your property, the city will dispatch a crew when you call them.

You can call 311 to report city trees that need service or that you believe pose public safety threats.

Call Tree Care Inc. for Reliable Tree Removal

Now that you know the answer to “Do I need HOA approval to remove a tree?” you’ll know how to start the process with your HOA. Whether you need help removing large trees or you need trimming services to avoid them encroaching on a sidewalk, you won’t find a better company than Tree Service Inc. 

If you want a free estimate, fill out our online form or call (859) 347-2237.


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