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

To inquire about a permit, call the Arborist Division at  404-330-6874.  The office is open weekdays, 8:15am - 5:00pm. There is a specific field arborist, called a Field Inspector, assigned to each region of the City.  Click here to see how to contact the Field Inspector who is assigned to your area of town.  The Field Inspectors are responsible for coming out the the site and investigating any complaints.

In addition to the Field Inspectors, there are also several planning arborists called Plan Reviewers.  These arborists approve building site plans and issue tree cutting permits, but for the most part, do not visit the sites.  Site visits are conducted by the Field Inspectors who report their findings back to the Plan Reviewers.

The names and contact information for all Field Inspectors and Plan Reviewers can be found here.

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 any City employee about a tree or property, 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: David Zaparanick,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • Office of Parks' Director: Doug Voss,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Phone numbers are not provided online for the two division managers above, but if you do not hear back from a manager within 24 hours after emailing him, please contact us and we can let you know how to call that manager directly.

If a permit exists, 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 "Building" tab toward the top of the webpage.  A form will appear in the next screen.  Scroll down the form until you see the "General Search" form and then within that section you will see a field for a "Street No." (the house or building number) and a "Street Name".  Enter the street number of the property here (simply enter the same number for both sections of the "From" and "To" range) and the street address, 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. fields 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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