City of Mill Valley's Tree Policy

Trees contribute greatly to the identity, character, environmental health and natural beauty of Mill Valley. The City of Mill Valley has a longstanding policy regarding maintenance, pruning, removal and management of trees within City limits. That policy requires a permit for cutting or significant pruning of a number of types of trees.

Topping of redwood trees on private property is prohibited without specific City approval.

The goal of the City’s tree policy is quite simple: It is in the interest of the community health, safety and general welfare to protect and preserve the City's urban forests and natural, wooded setting. This goal includes protection of "heritage trees," such as oak, tanbark oak, madrone and redwood trees of a certain size, and also restricts significant pruning or removal of other important tree species.

Heritage Trees
The City’s Zoning regulations protect all heritage by regulating their removal and, where appropriate, encouraging their replacement. “The uncontrolled removal or destruction of these trees threatens to adversely affect the scenic beauty, destroy wildlife habitat, reduce privacy and increase the risk of erosion, mudslides and flooding,” states the City’s tree policy, which can be found in Chapter 20.67 of the City’s Municipal Code. The City only allows removal of heritage trees when specific conditions are met, such as health and safety criteria.

A permit is required for major pruning of heritage trees.

Removal of any heritage tree requires a tree removal permit, and is only allowed under certain circumstances such as health and safety, public utility safety, etc.

Topping of redwood trees is considered removal and is allowed only with an approved Tree Permit. Topping of redwood trees for ‘view improvement’ is not allowed.

No more than three trees of any kind may be cut in any 12 months without a tree permit.

All Other Trees
The City’s tree regulations prohibit the removal of more than 3 trees of any kind in any one year without an approved tree permit. In addition, trees may not be cut on any vacant site without a permit.

A permit is required to cut more than three trees over 19-inch circumference in a 12 month period on a developed lot.

No tree over a 12 ½ inch circumference may be removed from a vacant site without a tree permit.

Tree removal permits that are part of a larger development project are reviewed as part of the development application (Design Review, etc.).
For trees removed as part of a vegetation management plan, please contact the Planning Department.

The Department of Public Works reviews all requests for removal of trimming and trees on public property. Contact the Public Works staff at (415) 388-4033 for more information.

Call the Planning Department if you have questions prior to the removal of a tree on private property at 415-388-4033 or