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Removing a Tree for Agriculture

Land that is zoned for agricultural use has different requirements for tree removals than a typical property not zoned for agricultural use.

Definition

Agricultural use means the use of land for the growing of crops or the raising of livestock as permitted under the Zoning Bylaw.

The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR)  is  a  Provincial  zone  in  which  agriculture  is  recognized  as  the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-farm uses, such as residential dwellings, are restricted.

Find out if your land is on ALR land through COSMOS or by using the Agricultural Land Commission's website.

Tree removal

Tree Cutting Permits are Required for agricultural land and land zoned for agricultural use.

Tree cutting permit applications and fees are required for all tree removals on agricultural land as described in Surrey Tree Protection Bylaw, 2006, No.16100.

If the tree removal is required for agricultural purposes, on properties zoned to permit agricultural use under Zoning Bylaw 12000, the following is required:

  • An arborist report describing the type of forest, listing the number of Protected Trees within the area to be cleared and the impact the clearing will have on adjacent lands.
  • A sworn affidavit by the owner declaring that the tree removal is for agricultural purposes and the agriculture cannot occur on the property unless the site is cleared.

For land within the ALR:

The sworn affidavit made by the owner must also state that there will be no application for subdivision, rezoning or development of the lot for a period of five (5) years. Full replacement tree(s) and all other applicable provisions of this Bylaw, as determined by the General Manager, will apply should the development application be considered for the lot within the five (5) year period.

For land outside the ALR:

The sworn affadavit must also state that the owner enters into a restrictive covenant registered on the title of the lot documenting that the owner has agreed not to make an application for subdivision, rezoning or development of the lot for a period of ten (10) years. Full replacement tree(s) and all other applicable provisions of this Bylaw, as determined by the General Manager, will apply should the development application be considered for the lot within the ten (10) year period.

Watercourses and Environmentally Sensitive Areas

Where there are watercourses on the property, or the site is all or partly identified as being an environmentally sensitive area, additional approvals from other municipal or provincial departments may be required.

The General Manager may also require:

  • A raptor study by a Registered Professional Biologist
  • A farm plan, prepared by a Certified Agrologist, with:
    • A site plan showing the area to be farmed;
    • A review of surrounding land use for context;
    • A site specific review including soil capability, grade and drainage conditions;
    • Proposed on-site modifications including grading, fill and soil management;
    • Infrastructure to be implemented in relation to site drainage, irrigation and adequate access for labour, vehicles and related far machinery;
    • Planting scheme identifying crops with viable alternatives;
    • Overall contingencies for farm management and ongoing maintenance;
  • That a buffer of existing vegetation be retained around the perimeter of the site.

Fees and Securities

Current fees can be found in the Surrey Tree Protection Bylaw, 2006, No.16100

Questions

If you have questions or require further information please refer first to the bylaw or to the bylaw-related bulletins.

For additional clarification of these materials please email TreeBylaw@surrey.ca or call 604-591-4675.

For tree removals for non-agricultural purposes, such as construction, dead trees or trees affecting a residence or out-buildings, please follow the regular tree removal process.