How to Verify if a Permit Exists

On occassion, a property owner, developer or builder will claim to have a permit to erect a structure (including a fence or wall) or to disturb the soil near trees and/or cut the trees down when no permit actually exists.  There are two ways to verfiy if a buiilding or tree cutting permit exists: call the city arborist or look the permit up online.

Call the City Arborist

If you want to inquire about a permit that affects trees on a property, call the Arborist Division at  404-330-6836.  The office is open weekdays, 8:15am - 5:00pm. There is a specific field arborist assigned to each region of the City with whom you may speak directly:

Who is the Arborist in my neighborhood?

NW: Michael Franklin, 404.330.6079

NE: David Tachon, 404.330.6077

SW & SE: Stan Domengeaux, 404.330.6078

Arborist Zones

 

If the tree affected is on public property or in a park, you should call the Office of Parks at 404-546-6813, which is open weekdays 7:30am - 4:30pm.  If you are not sure whether or not the tree is on public or private property, call the Arborist Divison first.

When calling the city arborist, be prepared to give the exact street address and, if you can tell, the type of tree, size, and location of the tree(s) on the property you are calling about.  Ask if a current (within one year) permit exists for the tree(s) in question.  Make sure that the permit covers all the trees you are concerned about.  You don't want to assume that a permit issued for one tree means all the other trees on the property are permitted to be cut as well.

If a permit does not exist, ask for an immediate inspection of the property to be conducted and request a stop work order be placed upon the property.  You should follow up within 24 hours to see if indeed a stop work order sign has been placed on the property or a permit has been secured.  If not, you should escalate your concern to the manager of the division you are calling:

  • City Arborist Division's Arboricultural Manager  is Jorge L. Rivera.  He can be reached at 404-330-6328 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • Office of Parks' Director is Doug Voss.  He can be reached at 404-546-6745 or   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

If a permit is produced, verify that the permit is current (less than 1 year old) and that it is for the exact tree(s) being cut or potentially damaged, with the size and location on the property noted.  If you have concerns about why the permit was issued (i.e., the permit says the tree is dead or dying when it looks perfectly healthy to you), ask the city arborist for an explanation.

Look Up a Permit Online

You can look up and track the status of building and tree cutting permits online via the City of Atlanta's Accela Database.  Simply go to the database at https://aca.accela.com/Atlanta_Ga/Default.aspx and click the blue "Building" tab toward the top of the webpage.  A form will appear in the next screen.  Scroll down the form until you see the field for a "Street No." (the house or building number) and a "Street Name".  Enter the street address of the property here and immediately press "Search" at the bottom of the screen.  (It is not necessary to enter the city and state.)  Do not put in the "Street Type" unless the street name is associated with numerous road types, such as Peachtree Rd, Peachtree Ave., Peachtree Way, etc.  (The reason you don't want to enter in the Street Type is because sometimes a permit is assigned to the wrong street type.  By leaving this field blank, you will get all entries for the street name, regardless of street type.)

Hint: if you are curious as to what permits have been issued for an entire street, leave the Street No. field blank.

Once you press "Search", your search results will appear at the bottom of the same screen (scroll down until you see the search results).  Click on each permit record number in the search results to get details about that particular permit.

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