Takoma Park residents with trees measuring more than a certain circumference now will have to get permission from the city to cut down the trees.

The City Council last week passed an ordinance that makes it a misdemeanor to cut down a tree without a permit if the trunk, measured at 4 1/2 feet above the ground, is more than 24 inches in circumference.

Violators of the ordinance will face a mandatory fine of $50 a tree, plus $25 for each inch of circumference exceeding the 24-inch regulation. The director of public works will enforce the ordinance and approve permits, which will be available for $10.

The ordinance also requires residents seeking tree-cutting permits to post notices near the tree that tentative approval has been given by the public works director, so neighbors may contest the permit if they wish.

The council approved a tree commission at its last meeting. The commission will hear appeals from residents wishing to cut down their trees if their permits are denied, City Clerk Sibyl Pusti said.

In other action, the council presented City Sanitation Supervisor Kenneth Jones with a citation before 50 people who came to praise his heroism when he climbed aboard a runaway refuse truck June 3.

The truck was being repaired on Piney Branch Road when its brakes failed and it began to roll backwards downhill. Jones managed to get inside the truck, force-steer it through traffic despite the loss of power steering and ditch it in a ravine near a vacant lot, where he was thrown from the truck.

Jones was pinned by the 40,000-pound truck from the hips down for two hours before special equipment could be brought in to raise the truck. He sustained bruises but no other injuries from the accident because the sides of the ravine held the truck off his body.