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Texas Cities Think They Own Your Trees

“Municipal tree-cutting ordinances are more than a nuisance; they effectively seize the property impacted by the
regulation. If a landowner wishes to remove a tree in order to construct an improvement— such as a backyard
swing set—and cannot, that area has been taken by the government without any compensation.”

~ Rob Henneke and James Quintero in the Austin American-Statesman

Now through Election Day on Tues., 11/7/2017, is the time your legislators are MOST attentive to your concerns.
Be sure to let your legislators know your stance on this issue during Special Session this July - August!
Find your legislators here:   Senators Contact Info   |    Representatives Contact Info

BREAKING NEWS (7/14/17): Texas AG Ken Paxton releases Opinion on Texas Tree Ordinances in response to
Sen. Donna Campbell's Request for an Opinion on the Constitutionality of Municipal Tree PreservationOrdinances.

Resources

Texas Public Policy (TPPF)

Overview: Local Control, from the 2017-2018 Legislator's Guide to the Issues, pp. 110-111.

The California-zation of Texas: Tree-Cutting Ordinances, TPPF's 2017-2018 Special Session Legislator's Guide to the Issues

Local Overregulation: Tree-Cutting Ordinances, Center for Local Governance

Commentary: Austin Tree Ordinance Violates Private Property Rights by Rob Henneke and James Quintero in the Austin American-Statesman

Gov-elect Greg Abbott on Local Control: Abbott: City regulations on trees, bags, fracking 'California-ize' Texas, by Peggy Fikac, January 8, 2015  My San Antonio.

Gov. Greg Abbott during 2017 85th Texas Session

Abbott Wants "Broad-based Law" that Pre-empts Local Regulations, by Patrick Svitek March 21, 2017, Texas Tribune.

Gov. Abbott: This country isn't the "United States of Municipalities", by Patrick Svitek March 27, 2017, Texas Tribune.

Constitutionality Opinion Request

Request to AG for an Opinion on the Constitutionality of Municipal Tree Preservation Ordinances

TPPF Applauds Request for Opinion on Private Tree Ownership, TPPF, by James Quintero, Robert Henneke (June 13, 2017)

Local Overregulation: Tree-Cutting Ordinances

Downloadable pdf of this great content from TPPF's Center for Local Governance.

“Few things are more important in Texas than private property rights. Yet some cities are telling citizens that you don’t own some of the things on your property that you have bought and purchased and owned for a long time. Things like trees. This is a form of collectivism.” ~ TX Gov. Greg Abbott

Over-regulation of Trees
Click to enlarge.
From The California-zation of Texas: Tree-Cutting Ordinances, TPPF's 2017-17 Legislator's Guide, Special Session Edition.

The Facts

Approximately 50 Texas cities have adopted burdensome regulations that restrict or prohibit a property owner’s right to prune or remove trees on their land, according to the Texas Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.

•   It is generally recognized that private property rights include ownership of the natural resources contained within the land. As John Locke states in the Second Treatise of Civil Government: “As much land as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates, and can use the product of, so much is his property.

•   Article I, Section 17 of the Texas Constitution states “No person’s property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made.

Recommendations

To better protect landowners and strengthen private property rights, the Texas Legislature should prohibit local governments from preventing the trimming or removal of trees or timber located on a landowner’s property.