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Tree By-law

Brookline has a sizable urban forest made up of thousands of trees that filter out pollutants and clean our air, that reduce our energy costs by providing shade and protection from the wind, and that help reduce the stress and strain of urban living by reducing noise and providing us with natural beauty. There are over 11,000 street trees on public land that are managed by the Town, but the vast majority of our trees are found on private property.

Town of Brookline Enacts New Tree Preservation Bylaw and Regulations

This Bylaw was developed, reviewed, and enacted by Town Meeting in 2022 and approved by the Attorney General’s office in 2023. The full text of the bylaw and all associated rules and regulations can be found on the Town’s Website.
This new Bylaw aims to provide enhanced protections for private trees within the community. As stated in the Bylaw, “The intent of this Tree Preservation Bylaw is to encourage the preservation and protection of certain trees in connection with significant demolition and/or construction activity by designating areas of a lot where trees must be protected, and by requiring mitigation for trees that are removed by either the replanting of trees or the collection of fees to support the Town’s tree planting and maintenance efforts.”
There are three triggers for the Bylaw:

• Demolition of an existing structure of 250 gross square feet or greater;
• Construction of any building or structure on a vacant lot;
• Construction of one or more structures or additions to structures on a lot that increase the Gross Floor Area (GFA) by 50 percent or greater, as defined by Zoning Bylaw Section 2.07.1.

The Tree Preservation Bylaw Rules and Regulations were reviewed and approved by the Select Board on Nov. 28, 2023 and are in effect as of Nov. 29. Applicants can visit the Town’s Website to access the permit. The Department of Public Works will collaborate with other Town Departments and staff to implement and enforce this new Bylaw.
For any questions related to this new Bylaw, please direct inquires to the Town’s Tree Warden at 617-730-2088 or tbrady@brooklinema.gov.