Borough of Phoenixville, PA
Chester County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 25-101 Definitions.

[Ord. 1544, 5/12/1987]
As used in this Part, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABUTTING PROPERTY OWNER
The owner of real property in the Borough of Phoenixville whose property line, as extended into the middle of a public highway or thoroughfare which abuts the real property of such owner, contains a shade tree.
SHADE TREE
Any tree in the Borough of Phoenixville which is located within the public right-of-way.

§ 25-102 Fixing the Cost of Replacing Pavement.

[Ord. 1544, 5/12/1987; as amended by Ord. 2194, 3/13/2012, § 5]
The costs of replacing any pavement or sidewalk necessarily disturbed in the execution of planting, transplanting, or removing shade trees shall be paid by the abutting property owner.

§ 25-103 Assessing the Abutting Property Owner.

[Ord. 1544, 5/12/1987]
1. 
The Council shall determine and certify to the Borough Treasurer the amount to be paid by the abutting property owner for the costs described in § 25-102 hereof.
2. 
Upon the certification by Council as aforesaid the Borough Secretary shall cause 30 days written notice to be given to each abutting property owner against whose real property an assessment has been made.
3. 
The notice shall state the amount of the assessment and the time and place of payment and shall be accompanied with a copy of Council's certificate.
4. 
The amount assessed against the real property of the abutting property owner shall be a lien on such real property from the date of the filing of Council's certificate, and if not paid within the time designated in the notice, a claim may be filed and collected by the Borough Solicitor in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.

§ 25-104 Removal of Diseased Plants, Shrubs and Trees.

[Ord. 1544, 5/12/1987; as amended by Ord. 2194, 3/13/2012, § 6]
The Council may, upon such notice as may be provided by ordinance, require owners of real property in the Borough to cut and remove plants, shrubs and trees afflicted with the Dutch elm or other disease which threatens to injure or destroy plants, shrubs and shade trees in the Borough. Upon failure of any such owner to comply with such notice, the Borough may cause the work to be done by the Borough, and levy and collect the cost 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 Borough Engineer and shall be filed with the Borough 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.

§ 25-105 Public Utility Companies.

[Added by Ord. 2015-2248, 3/10/2015]
Public utility companies shall notify the Borough Manager prior to pruning any tree located on Borough-owned property for the purpose of maintaining safe line clearance and shall carry out all such work in accordance with accepted arboricultural standards. A utility tree-trimming policy must be reviewed by the utility company and Borough Tree Advisory Commission with approval from the Borough Manager prior to any trimming by the utility company. If accepted arboricultural standards are not followed, the Borough Manager will immediately file a formal complaint with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

§ 25-106 Trees Planted in Violation of Distance Requirements.

[Added by Ord. 2015-2248, 3/10/2015]
Any tree planted in violation of § 25-206 shall be removed by the property owner after notice from the Borough. The failure to remove such a tree as identified previously shall permit the Borough to have the tree removed and to charge the entire cost of tree removal assessed and collected from the property owner. The Borough's cost of removal shall be a lien upon the property until such cost is paid, filed and collected by the Borough in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.

§ 25-107 Stumps.

[Added by Ord. 2015-2248, 3/10/2015]
All stumps of trees abutting any sidewalk, curb, or curbline and park trees shall be removed below the surface of the ground so that the top of the stump shall not project above the surface of the ground. The stump must be removed within 60 days after the removal of the tree. Residual chips shall be removed and the ground made level.

§ 25-108 Violations and Penalties.

[Ord. 1544, 5/12/1987; as amended by Ord. 1607, 11/14/1989; by Ord. 2118, 4/15/2008; and by Ord. 2015-2248, 3/10/2015]
1. 
Any person who shall violate any provisions of this Part shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of no more than $1,000 and costs of prosecution, and, in default thereof, suffer incarceration for no more than 30 days.
2. 
Any fine imposed under this section shall be a lien on the real property of the offender in the Borough and may be collected as municipal claims are collected.
3. 
All fines collected under this section shall be paid to the Borough Treasurer and deposited in a special account to be drawn upon by Council to further the objectives of this Part.
4. 
In addition to the fines specified above, any person found liable for violation of this chapter shall pay all costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the Borough in bringing and trying the action.

§ 25-201 Authority of Borough Manager.

[Ord. 7/20/1943, § A; as amended by Ord. 1237, 8/10/1976; by Ord. 1516, 8/13/1985, §§ 1-3; and by Ord. 2194, 3/13/2012, § 7]
The Borough Council hereby vests the Borough Manager with exclusive and absolute custody and control of and power to plant, set out, remove, replace, maintain, protect and care for public shade trees of the Borough of Phoenixville, and no such trees may be planted or removed except by order of the Borough Manager. The Borough Council hereby directs the Tree Advisory Commission to provide the Borough Manager, at his/her request, with written recommendation regarding the Borough Manager’s proposed actions.

§ 25-202 Definitions.

[Ord. 7/20/1943, § A; as amended by Ord. 2194, 3/13/2012, § 8; and by Ord. 2015-2248, 3/10/2015]
1. 
The following words and phrases, when used in these regulations, have the meanings hereby ascribed to them, except in those instances where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
PERMIT
A written permit or authorization issued by the Borough Manager or his/her designee.
PERSON
Any natural person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind, including the plural of each.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
Any tree, street, avenue, boulevard, highway, sidewalk, alley or similar place which is owned or controlled by any government entity.
PUBLIC SHADE TREES
All trees occupying or designated by the Borough Manager as occupying public shade tree positions on all streets, boulevards, malls, alleys, parks, or other public highways or properties shall be known as "public shade trees." These trees may include public trees and street trees.
2. 
In these regulations, the singular shall include the plural, and the masculine shall include the feminine.

§ 25-203 Prohibited Acts.

[Ord. 7/20/1943, § A]
1. 
No person, firm or corporation shall remove, destroy, break, cut, prune, trim, scrape, paint, whitewash or in any way deface, injure or interfere with the roots, trunk, bark, branches, leaves, flowers or fruit of any public shade trees in the Borough of Phoenixville without the permission of the Borough Manager for the work to be done.
2. 
No person, firm or corporation shall spray or otherwise treat any public shade tree infected or infested with any parasite, disease or insect pest with a view to its preservation from disease or insects, without permission of the Borough Manager covering the work to be done.
3. 
No person, firm or corporation shall, attach any wire, insulator or any other device for holding such wire to any public shade tree. All other wires shall be securely fastened so as not to come in contact with any public shade tree or any part thereof, nor shall any person, firm or corporation direct or allow their employees to climb any public shade tree without permission from the Borough Manager. The use of implements with sharp, penetrating points is positively prohibited for the purpose of climbing any public shade tree.
4. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to cause, authorize or permit any brine water, oil, liquid dye or other substance deleterious to tree life to lie, leak, pour, flow or drip on or into the soil about the base of any public shade tree.
5. 
No gas company shall permit any escape of gas so as to injure any public shade tree, and should such leak occur, must immediately repair same in such a manner as to prevent its recurrence.
6. 
No person shall hitch or fasten any animal to any public shade tree or to any device intended to protect same, nor shall any animal be permitted to bite, rub against or in any manner injure or deface same.
7. 
No tight guards or any other device not approved by the Borough Manager shall be attached to any public shade tree, nor will the removal or injury of any guard or device approved by the Borough Manager and intended for the protection of such public shade tree be tolerated.
8. 
Interfering or causing or authorizing interference with the municipality or any of its agents or employees while they are engaged in planting, inspecting, maintaining or removing shade trees.
[Added by Ord. 2015-2248, 3/10/2015]
9. 
Supervising or authorizing construction, alterations, repairs or demolition activities in the vicinity of any shade tree without first placing sufficient guards or protectors that will prevent injury or destruction of said shade tree arising out of such activities. The placement of guards or protectors shall be in accordance with any rules and regulations adopted by the Commission or with written authorization of the Arborist or the Administrator.
[Added by Ord. 2015-2248, 3/10/2015]
10. 
Placing or maintaining upon the ground any asphalt, cement, stone or other material or substance in such manner as may obstruct or further obstruct free access of light, air and water to the roots of any shade tree.
[Added by Ord. 2015-2248, 3/10/2015]

§ 25-204 Excavations in Planting Strip; Protection of Trees.

[Ord. 7/20/1943, § B; as amended by Ord. 1237, 8/10/1976, § 2; and by Ord. 1516, 8/13/1985, §§ 1-3]
1. 
All excavations in the planting strip within five feet of the center of any public shade tree shall be under the immediate supervision of the Borough Manager.
2. 
In the erection, alteration, repair or removal of any building or structure, the owner thereof shall be responsible for the placing of such guards around all nearby public shade trees as shall effectually prevent injury to them. No stones, bricks, cement or any other building material shall be placed nearer than five feet from the trunk of any public shade tree in any manner which may impede the free passage of air and water to the roots of same.
3. 
No person, firm or corporation shall attach any rope, wire, sign, poster, handbill or other object to any public shade tree or guard thereof.
4. 
It shall be the duty of the Borough Manager to see that all provisions of these rules and regulations are obeyed, and prosecution for all violations thereof shall be instituted by him in the name of the Borough of Phoenixville.

§ 25-205 Location of Trees.

[Ord. 7/20/1943; as amended by Ord. 1516, 8/13/1985, §§ 1-3]
With rare exceptions determined by the Borough Manager from time to time, public shade trees shall be planted only along the strip between the sidewalk and curb. In this strip each tree will be planted midway between the curb and sidewalk. The average distance required by shade trees for proper development is from 35 feet to 45 feet; hence there must necessarily be some houses that will not have trees in front of them. Fine shade trees, however, benefit the entire street and after they become large every house profits from them. When that time comes, it matters little in front of which particular property the stem of the tree is located.

§ 25-206 Spacing of Trees.

[Ord. 7/20/1943; as amended by Ord. 1516, 8/13/1985, §§ 1-3; and by Ord. 2194, 3/13/2012, § 9]
1. 
Specific Requirements.
A. 
These public shade trees will be spaced at an average distance of 40 feet apart.
B. 
The first along any block will be planted at a distance of 25 feet from the street intersection; i.e., 25 feet from the curbline of the intersecting street.
C. 
It will be the aim to plant the other trees in the block with a spacing of 40 feet between each two trees. As there are certain factors which will not always permit this, as, for example, the distance between intersecting streets and public and private alleyways, garage entrances, etc., there will be a tolerance of five feet allowed either way. That is to say, the spacing between trees may be reduced from 40 feet to 38, to 37, but not to less than 35 feet, or may be increased from 40 feet to 41, 42 and so on, but to not more than 45 feet.
D. 
Trees should be kept at least eight feet away from lamp posts and at least 10 feet from fire hydrants.
E. 
Whenever in any block it is found necessary to deviate from the standard forty-foot spacing, the spacing which is adopted, as for example, 37 feet, will be used throughout the block and on both sides of the street. It must not be lost sight of that the tree at the other end of the block must also be placed 25 feet back from the curb line of the intersecting street. The distance between these two end trees, each 25 feet back from the intersecting curb lines, will usually govern the spacing for the trees between them.
2. 
It will be the effort to establish a uniform spacing throughout the entire length of a street. It will happen, however, that the spacing fixed as most suitable for one of the blocks in the street will not fit another block. It may be necessary, therefore, to employ one spacing for one block and a different spacing for other blocks in the same street. The difference will be made as slight as possible so as not to deviate greatly from the desired uniformity.
3. 
Because of the many street obstructions, such as lamp posts, fire hydrants, crosswalks, etc., the exact spots where new trees are to be placed will be decided in the field and not from maps,

§ 25-207 Species to be Planted.

[Ord. 7/20/1943; as amended by Ord. 1516, 8/13/1985, §§ 1-3]
With certain exceptions all public shade trees to be planted on a street will be of the same species. The Borough Manager from time to time will determine the species to be planted on each new street as opened and upon any streets already opened but not yet planted.

§ 25-208 Planting Procedures.

[Ord. 7/20/1943; as amended by Ord. 1516, 8/13/1985, §§ 1-3]
No public shade tree shall be planted on any street where the distance between building line is less than 40 feet or where the grass strip is less than 24 inches in width and continuous along the street. No trees, when planted, shall be less than two inches in diameter and have a straight stem, clear of branches, to a height of seven feet from the ground and with a well defined leader.

§ 25-209 Care of Trees.

[Ord. 7/20/1943; as amended by Ord. 1516, 8/13/1985, §§ 1-3]
1. 
A public shade tree should be symmetrical. The branches should begin at height from the ground that will allow the free public use of the street and sidewalk. The tree should have a well developed, compact head as nearly as possible of oval outline.
2. 
The fixing of the branching at a certain height above the ground will be done gradually, year by year, after planting. Trees must grow in diameter as well as height in order to support the top without bending. Low branching will cause a more rapid growth in thickness; therefore, the lower layer of branches will be removed only at intervals of a year or more until the proper height of clear stem (10 feet) is reached. Ten feet in the clear, above the street level, will be height to which all trees will gradually be headed up. No limbs or foliage will be left to obstruct the street lights. In doing this it is not necessary to clear the main trunk of limbs to a very great height; but subdivisions can be removed, giving the branches a graceful upward turn. The ends of the branches can be shortened, thus preserving the natural form of the tree. All dead and imperfect limbs will be removed.
3. 
The main point to be constantly borne in mind in the pruning of shade trees is to preserve, as much as possible, the character, natural shape and habit of growth of each tree and to avoid all artificial shaping of trees. The art of pruning consists of making the finished tree look as if no limbs had been removed.
4. 
It is the purpose of the Borough Manager, over a period of years, to plant all streets that are plantable throughout the Borough with new trees of the selected species, and as this is done, year by year, gradually to remove the original planting of unsuitable, mixed and diseased trees.

§ 25-210 Application for Permit To Plant, Prune, Treat, Remove or Cut.

[Ord. 2194, 3/13/2012, § 10]
1. 
In a fiscal year where the Borough Council has not appropriated funds for the care of trees, the Borough shall accept applications from adjacent property owners for a permit to plant, prune, treat, remove or cut above or below ground any public or street tree.
2. 
The Borough shall develop a permit application. The Borough application for a permit shall be submitted by the adjacent property to the Borough Manager. The application may be further accompanied by an application fee, as may be set from time to time by the Borough Council by resolution, and such other information as may be required by the Borough Manager.
3. 
The Borough Manager shall refer the application to the Tree Advisory Commission. Additional Borough personnel may be involved at the Borough Manager's discretion. The Tree Advisory Commission and personnel participating in the Borough review of the application are charged with the responsibility of reviewing, evaluating and recommending to the Borough Manager the approval/disapproval of the application. The Tree Advisory Commission and other personnel conducting the Borough review shall recommend either approval or disapproval of the application, submit the conditions required if approved and any other related issues to the Borough Manager within 45 days of receiving the application from the Borough Manager.
4. 
Any approval of the application shall require compliance with all Borough ordinances and regulations, as well as applicable federal and commonwealth laws and regulations. The Borough Manager may require additional conditions not herein mentioned as may be necessary to maintain peace and order or to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the Borough or any neighboring property.
5. 
Final approval of a permit, along with all conditions attached, shall be made by the Borough Manager. The Borough Manager shall notify the applicant within five days of the final decision. If the notification is an approval, it shall include any conditions attached to the approval. If the notification is a denial, it shall include the reasons for denial.
6. 
An applicant who has been denied a permit or who objects to a condition of the permit shall have the right to appeal said denial or condition to the Borough Council, in writing, within 15 days from receipt of the notice of said denial or condition. The Borough Council shall conduct a hearing on said appeal within 30 days from the date of filing of the appeal. The Borough Council shall render a decision within 45 days after the hearing, either upholding the denial or condition or granting the appeal and ordering the Borough Manager to grant to the permit or remove the condition.
7. 
This procedure may be waived by the Borough Manager, at his/her sole discretion, where an emergency condition exists or the tree poses an immediate safety hazard to the Borough.

§ 25-211 Tree Removal.

[Ord. 2194, 3/13/2012, § 11]
1. 
Where an emergency condition exists or the public shade tree poses an immediate safety hazard to the Borough, the Borough Manager may order immediate removal of the public shade tree.
2. 
The Borough Manager may solicit recommendations from the Tree Advisory Commission regarding the removal of public shade trees.

§ 25-212 Violations and Penalties.

[Ord. 1237, 8/10/1978, § 3; as amended by Ord. 1607, 11/14/1989, § 4; by Ord. 2118, 4/15/2008; and by Ord. 2194, 3/13/2012, § 12]
1. 
Any person or persons who shall violate any rules and regulations as herein set forth shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 and costs of prosecution or, in default of payment of such fine and costs, to undergo imprisonment for not more than 30 days.
2. 
In addition to the above provided penalties, the Borough may maintain any action or proceedings in the name of the Borough in any court of competent jurisdiction, at law or in equity, to compel compliance with or enforce any violation of this Part 2.
3. 
In addition to the fines specified above, any person found liable for violation of this chapter shall pay all costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the Borough in bringing and trying the action.
[Added by Ord. 2015-2248, 3/10/2015]