Planning Board Revises Draft Tree-Preservation Bylaw

Bylaw’s proposed scope greatly reduced. If adopted by Town Meeting, will apply only to building activities.
Tree in front yard photo

Planning Board Chairman Brian Charville has announced release of the February 25, 2022 draft Tree-Preservation Bylaw for the Town of Lynnfield. This update includes a significant reduction in scope, and now applies to substantially fewer properties than the draft bylaw that had been proposed by the Board in autumn 2020.

“Our board is grateful for the feedback we have received from homeowners and other stakeholders, and for the time we have had to revise this bylaw since October 2020 Town Meeting”, says Charville. “We believe these revisions present a much better balance between the deep desire of our community to preserve its treescape with much less potential impact on individual homeowners.”

The aim of the bylaw is to encourage protection of trees at least 6” in diameter, primarily during building activity in existing zoning set-backs where building activity is already restricted. This is the “Tree Border” where if such protected trees are removed in the course of building activity, they would need to be replaced with saplings of minimum size or mitigated by payment into the Town’s existing tree fund to support the Town’s overall tree-planting and maintenance efforts.

Specifically, the bylaw if adopted by Town Meeting would apply ONLY to:  exterior building activity for new home construction or for any existing home expansion of 50% or greater; new subdivisions; projects requiring special permits or variances; and site plan approvals.  Protected trees that are removed would be replaced on a 1” for 1” diameter basis (e.g. if a 6” tree was removed within the tree border, it may be replaced with three 2” trees), or property owners could pay a tree replacement fee into the tree fund which would reflect the DPW’s current tree purchase and planting costs (the 2021 estimate is $400 for a 2” diameter tree).

The full text of the draft bylaw as of February 25, 2021, is available on the Planning Board website at