How to File an Open Records Request

To obtain information that is not readily accessible via the City of Atlanta's Accela Citizens Access website, you will have to file an Open Records Request (ORR).  If you are monitoring the progress of a building or tree removal permit, you will see that there are documents attached to the permit record that are not accessible via Accela. To obtain these documents, complete a Open Records Request form and email it to:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  • Click HERE for a fillable PDF version of the Open Records Request Form.  (Make sure to save your form after completing it and then email the form.)
  • Click HERE to download a more user-friendly Word Document version of the Open Records Request Form.  (Save it as PDF file before emailing it to the City.)

Call 404-546-1072 if you have any issues with completing the ORR form.

It is helpful to obtain a copy of a demolition or building site plan before it is approved. If you have any objections, you will want to voice them before a Preliminary Approval to remove trees is issued.  Once the Preliminary Approval to remove trees is given, your only recourse at that point is to file an appeal.

Many building permits go through several iterations or modifications of the building site plan before approval is given to remove trees.  As soon as you see a demolition or building permit filed for a property you're interested in, we recommend that you obtain a copy of all plans, documents, and photographs associated with the permit.  Keep submitting additional ORRs whenever you see additional material added in the "Attachments" section of the permit record.  Do not trust that the site plan or documents the developer is providing you personally is the same material that the City is looking at. 

All site plans should be linked in blue text in the Attachments section and available for download once a Preliminary Approval has been submitted to remove trees. If you cannot download these documents directly from Accela after the issuance of a Preliminary Approval, contact the arborist plan reviewer associated with this permit or Kathy Evans with the Tree Conservation Commission (404-330-6235,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and ask for these links to be made available in the "Citizens' View" of Accela.

Make sure to request in your ORR that all materials requested be returned to you in a digital form to avoid copying costs.  Normally, there are no costs associated with the "research efforts" in pulling files that are part of a building permit record.

You should expect a response to your Open Records Request within 3 business days.

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