[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Las Vegas 9-15-1999 by Ord. No. 98-14 (Ch. 23 of the 1972 City Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The following words and phrases of §§ 409-1 through 409-10 shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
- The Public Facilities Director or his/her designee is the representative of the Tree Board who is responsible for administration of the community tree program.
- NUISANCE/HAZARD/DISEASED TREES
- Dead, defaced, broken, dangerous, diseased trees with severe structural damage, or trees interfering with views of traffic or pedestrians.
- PROPERTY OWNER
- The person owning such property as shown on the records of the San Miguel County Assessor's office.
- To remove dead or living branches from a tree or plant by severing the branch just slightly above the branch collar.
- PUBLIC PLACES
- Includes all streets, highways, parks and grounds owned by the City of Las Vegas.
- PUBLIC TREES
- Trees, shrubs, bushes and all other woody vegetation on land lying between the property lines on either side of all streets, avenues and boulevards within the City of Las Vegas.
- Land owned by the public for travel access or utility use.
- STREET or HIGHWAY
- The entire width of every public way, to include all rights-of-way.
- TOPPING or ROUNDING
- The systematic cutting back of limbs within the tree's crown to such a degree as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree.
- Any plant, shrub or tree over 36 inches in height measured from the ground level.
- TREE BOARD
- A group of people charged, generally by ordinance, with overseeing the needs of the urban forest.
- URBAN FOREST
- Trees and related organisms in urban settings, whether small towns, villages, communities, or large cities.
There shall be created and established a Tree Board for the City of Las Vegas, New Mexico, which shall consist of nine to 15 members who shall be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the City Council. The Public Works Director or his/her designee shall be a full voting member of the Committee. All members of the Board shall serve without pay. Vacancies caused by death, resignation or otherwise shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as original appointments are made.
Duties. The Tree Board shall perform the following duties:
Provide guidance to the City of Las Vegas on tree species, selection and management of woody plants in public areas of the City. The Las Vegas Tree Committee shall maintain an extensive list of recommended trees for planting in public areas. The purpose of the list is to provide guidance on the selection of appropriate trees to increase the tree species diversity in the community forest. Said list shall be available to residents of the City upon request.
Create and review City policies on tree planting, maintenance and removal.
Develop and/or acquire educational information and programs on tree species selection, planting, maintenance and removal.
Address issues concerning trees that City residents feel are important.
Consider and review any special matter or question relating to trees.
Make recommendations on the adoption and alteration of all rules, regulations and ordinances which it shall deem in the public interest and most likely enhance and beautify the community forest.
It is the duty of the adjacent owner (not including the City) to prune trees located in the City right-of-way. When specifically provided for in a City budgeted line item under the Public Works Department, the City may aid in pruning of trees located in the City right-of-way in an amount up to that financial limitation. Trees will be pruned in such manner that they will not obstruct or shade the streetlights, obstruct the passage of pedestrians on sidewalks, obstruct vision of traffic signs, or obstruct view of any street or alley intersections. The City will remove City-owned trees, including those located in the right-of-way, which are determined to be hazardous by the Public Facilities Director. It is the duty of the private property owner to prune trees located in their property, which may endanger those in the public right-of-way. The minimum clearance of any overhanging portion thereof shall be 10 feet over sidewalks, 12 feet over all streets, and truck thoroughfares shall have a clearance of 16 feet.
No street tree shall be planted closer than 30 feet from any street corner, measured from the point of the nearest intersection of curb or curblines. No street tree shall be planted closer than 10 feet from any hydrant.
Trees shall not interfere with the function of streetlights.
The Public Works Director or his/her designee shall have the authority to recommend to the City Council promulgation of rules and regulations governing the planting, maintenance, removal, fertilization and pruning of trees on the street or other public sites in the City and shall direct, regulate and control the planting, maintenance and removal of all trees growing now or hereafter in public areas in Las Vegas, New Mexico. The Public Works Director or his/her designee shall cause the provisions of this chapter to be enforced.
It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm or City department to top any tree on public property. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes, or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical, may be exempted from this section at the determination of the Public Works Director or his/her designee. If this language contradicts a utility franchise agreement, the utility franchise agreement controls.
Unless specifically authorized by the Public Works Director or his/her designee no person shall intentionally damage, cut or carve any public tree or allow any liquid or solid substance, which is harmful to such tree, to come in contact with it.
All trees on any street or publicly owned property near any excavation or construction of any building, structure or street work shall be guarded with a substantial fence, frame, or box not less four feet from the outer perimeter of the truck.
No person shall deposit, place, store or maintain upon any public place of the City any stone, brick, sand, concrete, or other material which may impede the free passage of water, air or fertilizer to the roots of any tree growing therein except by written permit of the Public Works Director or his/her designee.
Scope of requirements. Property owners shall consult with the Public Works Director or his/her designee on any of the following acts:
Cultivate, treat, prune, remove, or otherwise disturb any tree on public places.
Trim, prune, or remove any tree or portions thereof if such tree or portions thereof reasonably may be expected to fall on any public place.
Place on public places, either above or below ground level, a container or tree or other plants.
Damage, cut, tap, carve or transplant any tree, shrub or other plant located on any public place.
Attach any wire, nail, sign, poster, or any other man-made object to any tree or other plant located on any public place.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the Public Works Director or his/her designee, the Tree Board, or any of its representatives or agents while engaging in the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying and removing of any tree within public property.
Any person violating or failing to comply with any provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined a sum of no less than $50 and no more than $1,000 and/or 30 days in jail.