Protecting Dunwoody’s Stream Buffers
Know BEFORE you build!
Property owners in Dunwoody face limits if they try to build within 75 feet of state waterways that are identified by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as requiring a buffer. These waterways are marked on Dunwoody’s GIS SmartMap. To research your property, open the SmartMap site and turn on the layer called “State Waters.”
A vast majority of residential subdivisions in the city were developed prior to the adoption of Dunwoody’s stream buffer ordinance in 2013. As a result, many residential properties have structures and cultivated yards within designated stream buffer zones. If property owners want to construct building additions and other site improvements like decks and patios in these areas, they need to check with Dunwoody’s Community Development Department first for information on the permitting process.
A permit allows the property owner to do minor landscaping. Under state rulemaking, landscaping is limited to any work that can be accomplished with hand-held tools only. Machines which are required to be driven or mounted are not allowed in the stream buffer.
Know BEFORE you cut!
In 2018, the City of Dunwoody adopted a tree removal ordinance requiring an owner of a residential property to obtain a Tree Removal Permit prior to removal of any tree within the 75-foot stream buffer. This is true even if the tree is dead, diseased, or dying. There are many homes in Dunwoody with buffers in their yards. These are marked on Dunwoody’s GIS SmartMap. To research your property, open the SmartMap site and turn on the layer called “State Waters.”
To obtain a Tree Removal Permit, property owners must submit an application with a sketch/site plan of the property showing the location of the house, 25’, 50’, and 75’ stream buffer and the acreage of the lot. Existing trees must also be marked on the sketch/site plan, along with the tree(s) proposed for removal. Often the City arborist will want to know the reason for removal and ask for photos. On occasion, the City arborist may require a third-party certified arborist’s assessment of the tree(s). More: Tree Removal Code Requirements