ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Remember the days when streets were lined with beautiful elms, oaks, and maples? Modern-day street designs have changed, and it turns out you could get in trouble if you plant a tree between your sidewalk and the street.
According to the City of Rockford Public Works Department, a permit is required to plant a tree on the city-owned part of your property, between the sidewalk and the street.
The City Forester says applications for a permit will be considered based on the species and type of tree a homeowner wants to plant.
Rockford’s Tree and Shrubs ordinance states, “No person, except upon order of the city forester, shall plant, remove, transplant, move, spray, brace, trim, prune, cut above or below ground, disturb, alter or do surgery on any public tree or shrub within the city or cause such act to be done by others, without first obtaining a written permit for such work from the city forester.”
The City does not charge for a permit, but says any insurance costs associated with the tree will be the burden of the homeowner.
“Frequently a person will select a tree based on how they like a certain type of tree for its color and shape, giving little regard to how large it will grow. As the tree grows, we commonly see trees growing into overhead utility lines, breaking sidewalks and curbs, obscuring signs, creating traffic hazards, and growing out of scale with respect to their surroundings,” the tree planting policy reads.
The City says previous methods of planting trees close together along a boulevard to create a foliage canopy over the street made the trees susceptible to insect and disease problems, such as Dutch Elm disease.