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

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 face a mandatory fine of $50 a tree, plus $25 for each inch of circumference exceeding 24 inches. The director of public works will enforce the ordinance and approve permits, which will cost $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 have a chance to contest the permit.

The council had approved formation of a tree commission at a recent meeting but had deferred any decision on the stricter tree ordinance until further details had been worked out.

The tree commission will hear appeals from residents if their tree-cutting 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 praised him for stopping a runaway refuse truck June 3.

The truck was being repaired on Piney Branch Road when the brakes failed and it began to roll backwards downhill. Jones managed to get inside the truck, steer it by force through traffic because the power steering was not working 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 suffered bruises but apparently no other injuries from the accident because the sides of the ravine held the truck off his body.

Jones was promoted to the highest step in his department, and he is back at work, Pusti said.