Township of Swatara, PA
Dauphin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Swatara as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Shade Tree Commission — See Ch. 74.
Fees — See Ch. 147.
Grass, weeds and other vegetation — See Ch. 165.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 253.
Zoning — See Ch. 295.
[Adopted 4-9-1980 by Res. No. R-1980-15 (Ch. 25, Part 1, of the 1990 Code)]

§ 266-1 Authority.

These regulations are adopted by the Board of Commissioners pursuant to the provisions of Art. XXX, § 3024, of the First Class Township Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 58024 et seq.

§ 266-2 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
PERSON
Shall include individuals, firms, associations, and corporation.
SHADE TREE
Any tree located within the right-of-way of the public streets and highways of the Township.

§ 266-3 Written notice to be mailed to owner.

Whenever written notice to an owner of property is required to be given by these regulations such notice shall be addressed to the owner at the property address of the property in front of which the shade tree or shrubs, which are the subject of the notice, are situated, and such notice shall be deposited, postage prepaid, in the United States Mail.

§ 266-4 Custody and control of shade trees.

The Board of Commissioners shall have exclusive custody and control of the shade trees in the Township and may plant, remove, maintain and protect shade trees on the public streets and highways in the Township.

§ 266-5 Advertisement of trees to be planted, replanted or removed.

Whenever the Board of Commissioners proposes to plant, transplant or remove trees on any street or highway, notice of the time and place of a meeting, at which such work is to be considered, shall be given in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township, and if no newspapers are published in the Township, then in such a newspaper circulated in the Township, once a week for two weeks, immediately preceding the time of the meeting. The notice shall specify in detail the streets and highways, or portions thereof upon which trees are proposed to be so planted, replanted, or removed.

§ 266-6 Cost to be paid by owner.

A. 
The cost of planting, transplanting, or removing any shade trees in the highways of the Township, of the necessary and suitable guards, curbing or grading for the protection thereof, and of the replacing of any pavement or sidewalk necessarily disturbed in the execution of such work, shall be paid by the owner of the real estate in front of whose property the work is done.
B. 
The amount each owner is to pay shall be ascertained and certified by the Board of Commissioners and to the Township Treasurer.
C. 
Upon the filing of the certificate by the Township Commissioners, the Township Secretary shall cause 30 days' written notice to be given to the persons against whose property an assessment has been made. The notice shall state the amount of the assessment and the time and place of payment, and shall be accompanied by a copy of the certificate.
D. 
The amount assessed against the real estate shall be a lien from the time of the filing of the certificate by the Township Commissioners, and, if not paid within the time designated in the notice, a claim may be filed and collected by the Township in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.

§ 266-7 Notice to remove trees afflicted with disease.

The Board of Commissioners may, upon 10 days' written notice in writing to owners of property involved, require owners of property to cut and remove trees infested with insects or afflicted with the Dutch Elm or other disease which threatens to injure or destroy shade trees in the Township, under regulations prescribed by § 266-25 of this chapter. Upon failure of any such owner to comply with such notice, the Township may cause the work to be done by the Township and levy and collect the costs thereof from the owner of the property. The cost of such work shall be a lien upon the premises from the time of the commencement of the work, which date shall be fixed by the Township Engineer and shall be filed with the Township Secretary. Any such lien may be collected by action in assumpsit or by lien filed in the manner provided by law for the filing and collection of municipal claims.

§ 266-8 Cost of notice and caring for trees to be paid by Township.

The cost and expense of caring for shade trees after having been planted, and the expense, of the notice provided in the preceding § 266-7 shall be paid by the Township.

§ 266-9 Unnecessary harm to trees prohibited; permit required for necessary harmful action or removal of trees.

A. 
No person shall plant, cut, trim, or remove any shade trees under the jurisdiction of the Board of Commissioners, or fasten any sign, wire, rope, or other material to, around or through any such shade tree, or deposit, place, store, or maintain any stone, brick, sand, concrete, or other material which will impede the free passage of water, air, and fertilizer to the roots of any such shade tree, unless he shall obtain a permit from the Township so to do.
B. 
No person shall move any building or other object on or over any public street within the Township in such manner as to damage or injure any shade tree or shrub in such street unless he shall first obtain a permit from the Township so to do.
C. 
To obtain such a permit he shall submit to the Board of Commissioners an application in writing on a form to be approved by the Township.

§ 266-10 Conditions to permit.

A. 
As a condition to any permit to remove any shade tree, the Board of Commissioners may require that the permittee plant, at his expense, another tree in place of the one removed. The Board of Commissioners in such case shall direct the type, size and location of the tree to be planted and the time within which the work shall be done.
B. 
As a condition to any permit to move any building or object on or over any public street the Board of Commissioners may require the applicant to furnish bond in an amount sufficient to cover any damage or injury to any shade trees or shrubs in such street and it may direct the route of any such moving so as to minimize damage or injury to shade trees and shrubs.

§ 266-11 Notice to remove certain trees.

The Board of Commissioners shall cause 10 days' written notice to be given by mail to the owner of the property in front of which a shade tree is planted, to remove a dead, dying, damaged, dangerous or prohibited species of tree, or one which is growing in or extending over the cartway. If the said owner does not comply with the said notice within the ten-day period, the Board of Commissioners may remove the said tree at the expense of the said owner. Replacement of said tree will be made at the discretion of the Board of Commissioners at the expense of the property owner. Either or both of said expenses may be levied and collected in the same manner as provided hereinabove in §§ 266-6 and 266-7.

§ 266-12 Removal of felled trees from the cartway.

In the event any shade tree or trees are felled by storm or other similar casualty, the said trees or stumps thereof shall be removed from the cartway by the Township without charge. Replacement of such trees will be made at the discretion of the Board of Commissioners and at the expense of the property owner. Said expense may be levied and collected in the same manner as provided hereinabove in §§ 266-6 and 266-7.

§ 266-13 Notice to plant shade tree.

The Board of Commissioners shall cause 10 days' written notice to be given by mail to the owner of the property in front of which it deems it advisable that a shade tree be planted, to plant such a tree. If the said owner does not comply with the said notice within the ten-day period, the Board of Commissioners may plant the said tree at the expense of the said owner. Said expense may be levied and collected in the same manner as provided hereinabove in §§ 266-6 and 266-7.

§ 266-14 Shade trees protected.

No person shall break, injure, mutilate, kill, or destroy any shade tree, or set fire or permit any fire to burn where such fire or the heat thereof will injure any shade tree, and no person shall knowingly permit any leak to exist in any gas pipe or main within the root zone of any such shade tree, or permit any toxic chemical, either solid or liquid, to seep, drain, or be emptied on or about any such shade tree, or permit any wire designed to carry electric current to come in contact with any shade tree unless protected by a method to be approved by the Board of Commissioners. No person shall attach any electric installation to any tree or excavate any ditches, tunnels or trenches, or lay any drive within a radius of 10 feet of any tree without first obtaining a written permit, as hereinbefore provided, from the Township.

§ 266-15 Electric service wires.

Whenever the Board of Commissioners determines it to be necessary in order to prune or remove any tree or for any other reason temporarily to protect, move or cut off the electricity from any service wire, it shall serve written notice on the owner of such wire and said owner shall comply with such notice within 24 hours after service thereof.

§ 266-16 Size of shade trees at time of planting.

The Board of Commissioners shall plant, or permit to be planted, trees of not less than two inches to three inches in caliber, 18 inches above the ground, symmetrical in shape and the trunk shall be clean and straight without branches for a distance of six feet from the ground.

§ 266-17 One specie of tree per street.

As far as practical, the Board of Commissioners shall plant, or permit to be planted, one specie of tree on each street.

§ 266-18 Spacing between trees.

The spacing between newly planted shade trees shall not be less than 40 feet nor more than 60 feet, and may vary with the kind of tree planted. No shade tree shall be planted less than 20 feet from a street intersection nor less than 10 feet from a fire hydrant, light standard, or telephone pole.

§ 266-19 Building line and sidewalk in relation to shade tree.

A. 
No shade tree shall be planted on any street where the distance between building lines is less than 40 feet. A space of at least 30 inches square must be allowed for the planting of a tree. When a tree has outgrown this space, or when a sidewalk has been laid without allowing such space, so that at least six inches must be left between the base of the tree and the pavement.
B. 
The Board of Commissioners shall cause 20 days' written notice to be given by mail to the owner of the property to relay or repair a sidewalk maintained in violation of this regulation. If the said owner does not comply with the said notice, within the twenty-day period, the Board of Commissioners may relay or repair said sidewalk to comply with this regulation at the expense of the property owner. Said expense may be levied and collected in the same manner as provided hereinabove in §§ 266-6 and 266-7.

§ 266-20 Allowable species specified.

The planting of any species of tree other than those listed below will be prohibited, except by special permission of the Board of Commissioners:
Pin Oak
Yellow Wood
Red Oak
American Elm
Silver Linden (Cordata or Tometosa)
Ginkgo
Norway Maple
White Ash
Schwedler Maple
Honey Locust (Thornless)
Sweet Gum
Scarlet Oak

§ 266-21 Code Enforcement Officer to administer shade tree regulations.

The Board of Commissioners hereby designates the Swatara Township Code Enforcement Officer or officers as the proper Township official to administer these regulations and the directives of the Board of Commissioners pertaining to the implementation of these regulations. He or they may issue such notices as are required under the terms of these regulations unless otherwise specifically indicated, may issue such permits as are provided for herein, and shall take any and all other actions necessary to properly implement and enforce these regulations.

§ 266-22 Penalties may be assessed for violation.

The Board of Commissioners, to the extent as may be provided by ordinance of the Township, may assess penalties for the violation of these regulations, and of the Article of the First Class Township Code[1] pursuant to which said regulations were promulgated, insofar as it relates to shade trees. Any penalty so assessed shall be a lien upon the real estate of the offender and may be collected as municipal claims are collected.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 55101 et seq.

§ 266-23 Penalties paid to Township Treasurer.

All penalties or assessments shall be paid to the Township Treasurer to be placed to the credit of the Township subject to be drawn for the purposes set forth in the aforementioned Article of the First Class Township Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 55101 et seq.
[Adopted 4-9-1980 by Ord. No. 1980-5 (Ch. 25, Part 2, of the 1990 Code)]

§ 266-24 Penalty for violation of shade tree regulations.

[Amended 4-11-1990 by Ord. No. 1990-1]
Any person violating any of the regulations §§ 266-1 through 266-23 of this chapter promulgated by the Board of Commissioners of Swatara Township relating to shade trees, or the provisions of any permit granted by or order given by said Board of Commissioners or any agents or employees to whom such authority is delegated, pursuant to said regulations or any requirement pursuant thereto and authorized thereby, shall, in addition to all other penalties provided by law, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $600 and costs of prosecution, or, in default of payment of such fine and costs, to undergo imprisonment of not more than 30 days, provided that the aforesaid penalty or fine shall be a lien upon the real estate of such person and may be collected as municipal claims are collected, and provided further that each day's continued violation of any provision of this article, after notice thereof, shall constitute a separate violation and shall be punishable as such.

§ 266-25 Removal of diseased trees.

The Board of Commissioners may, upon 10 days' written notice to be given by regular mail to the owners of the property to cut and remove trees afflicted with disease which threatens to injure or destroy shade trees in the Township, pursuant to regulations §§ 266-1 through 266-23 of this chapter adopted by said Board.