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Tree Preservation
The City of White Plains has adopted Tree Preservation Guidelines. The primary goal of these guidelines is to enhance both the aesthetic and environmental qualities of properties, protect and preserve worthwhile healthy trees, and plant new trees whenever possible on properties which are proposed for development.

The Tree Preservation Guidelines apply to the following areas:
  • Conservation developments and conventional subdivisions
  • Development of new one- and two-family homes
  • Development proposals on vacant land
  • Redevelopment of land with existing structures

Exceptions to Guidelines
Changes to single- and two-family homes constructed prior to November 5, 1984, which involve no physical additions to the building's footprint or do not involve the construction of an accessory structure such as a garage or deck, are exempt from the Tree Preservation Guidelines.

Application and Approval Agency
Applications are made to, and are reviewed by, the Department of Building, which refers them to the agency designated by the Zoning Ordinance as responsible for approvals. Approving agencies are required to use the Tree Preservation Guidelines in their review of applications for site plans, special permits, variances, conservation developments, and conventional subdivisions. These applications must include a Tree Preservation Plan (Tree Plan).

The Tree Preservation Committee (consisting of representatives of the Commissioners of Public Works and Planning as well as the Environmental Officer) examines the application and the Tree Plan, visits the site, and makes written recommendations to the approving agency based on the standards listed in the guidelines. The approving agency may include these recommendations as part of the approval. Recommendations may include tree protection, or tree removal and planting of new trees. Once approved, a Tree Plan becomes a permanent part of the approval record for the property.

Standards and Procedures
The standards and procedures for Tree Preservation include the following:
  • The applicant must submit a complete tree inventory.
  • The inventory shall include "specimen" and "protected" trees as defined in the Guidelines.
  • This includes all trees with a minimum trunk diameter of 8 inches at a point 4 feet above the natural grade and groupings of 20 or more trees.

Based on the inventory and site inspection made by the Tree Preservation Committee, trees, to be preserved, must be identified and tagged.

The applicant is required to protect these trees during the construction phase. A planting plan may be required in accordance with the Tree Preservation Guidelines to compensate for trees lost as a result of the construction on the property.

A final tree inspection is conducted by the Tree Preservation Committee when the project is completed to assure compliance with the Tree Preservation Guidelines and with any Tree Plan approved for the site.