[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of East Hills 3-24-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Commission for Conservation of the Environment — See Ch. 15.
Gardeners; tree services — See Ch. 107.
Parks and recreation areas — See Ch. 137.
Trees, hedges and shrubbery — See Ch. 187.
Building construction — See Ch. 223.
Environmental quality review — See Ch. 235.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 239.
Zoning — See Ch. 271.
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 186, Tree Preservation and Protection, adopted 6-18-2007 by L.L. No. 5-2007.
The purpose of this chapter is to promote and protect the public health, safety and general welfare by providing for the regulation of the planting, maintenance and removal of trees within the Incorporated Village of East Hills.
Whereas it is in the public interest to protect the tree canopy for current and future generations, the intent of this chapter is to prevent the indiscriminate destruction or removal of trees within the boundaries of the Village and to ensure the relocation or replacement of trees which may be removed or destroyed.
It is the further intent of the Village to have trees generally continue to stabilize the soil and control water pollution by preventing soil erosion and flooding, absorbing air pollution, providing oxygen, yielding advantageous micro-climatic effects, have intrinsic aesthetic qualities, preserve and enhance property values, offer a natural barrier to noise, provide privacy, and provide a natural habitat for wildlife, and that the removal of trees deprives the residents of the Village of these benefits and disrupts fundamental ecological systems of which trees are an integral part. It is the further intent of this chapter to prevent the indiscriminate destruction or removal of trees within the boundaries of the Village and to provide for the relocation or replacement of trees which may be removed or destroyed.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The owner, lessee, occupant or person in possession of any premises in the Village, or any agent thereof, including contractors.
- ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD
- The appointed committee which has specific jurisdiction and responsibilities set forth in the Code of the Incorporated Village of East Hills. The Architectural Review Board ("ARB") may also be composed of subcommittees as from time to time may be appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Board of Trustees.
- The diameter of a tree measured at a point four feet above the base of the trunk.
- Perimeter or distance around tree.
- DESTRUCTION or REMOVAL
- Includes girdling, trenching near the roots, application of herbicides or any other practice or action which may reasonably be expected, either immediately or within the course of time, to result in the death of a tree, but does not include regular maintenance, such as pruning or pollarding of a tree.
- Includes the owner, lessee, occupant or person in possession of any premises in the Village, or any agent thereof.
- SUBSTANTIAL ALTERATION
- Any cutting, pruning, elevating or other alteration of the habitat of a tree which impairs or endangers the life of such tree or destroys its natural symmetry. Substantial alteration includes, but is not limited to, destruction or removal of a tree, heavy or unnecessary cutting of top branches (topping), cutting of major lower limbs (severe elevating), or drastic pruning, but shall not include customarily accepted or ornamental pruning as defined by National Arborist Association's standards for pruning of shade trees.
- Any living upright woody plant, together with its root system, which has at least one trunk of five inches or greater in diameter (or 18 inches in circumference) at a height of four feet above the base of the trunk.
- TREE PERMIT
- A written authorization by the Incorporated Village of East Hills or its authorized committee or agent to remove a tree or trees pursuant to this chapter of the Code of the Incorporated Village of East Hills.
- TREE SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIR
- Such person as is authorized by the ARB to head up the initial review and analysis by the Tree Subcommittee of proposals which are submitted for review by the ARB.
- TREE WARDEN
- A person designated by the Mayor and authorized by the ARB to perform on-site inspections for the purpose of issuing of tree permits under guidelines, restrictions and prohibitions contained in this chapter and required by the ARB.
- The Incorporated Village of East Hills.
Authorization vested in the ARB.
Within the jurisdictional limits provided under § 186-4A, the ARB is authorized to consider, research, study, review, examine, investigate and determine the resolution of any application which is submitted under this chapter of the Code of the Incorporated Village of East Hills. Further, the review process shall conform to the rules, procedures and guidelines, whether governing hearings or otherwise, pursuant to Article XX of Chapter 271, Zoning, of the Code of the Incorporated Village of East Hills.
The ARB is authorized to establish all subcommittees which it deems necessary and proper, including, but not limited to, the Tree Subcommittee. However, all members shall be subject to the appointment of the Mayor and approval of the Board of Trustees. Each subcommittee, including the Tree Subcommittee, shall consist of three members of the ARB, with one member appointed as the subcommittee chair.
Designation of Tree Warden.
The Mayor shall appoint a code enforcement official, certified arborist or otherwise qualified individual to perform the activities of Tree Warden. The Tree Warden will, as an agent of the Village, be authorized to conduct on-site inspections for the purpose of issuing tree removal permits in cases where, in the opinion of the Tree Warden, the need for removal is reasonable and will not have a significant impact on the surrounding properties and the community as a whole.
An application(s), permit(s) and fees to remove or destroy trees shall not be required, and the Architectural Review Board and the Tree Subcommittee shall have no jurisdiction and involvement whatsoever when the removal or destruction of trees results from either:
When the removal or destruction of trees occurs pursuant to a set of plans or drawings approved by either the Planning Board or its agent, or the Zoning Board of Appeals or its agent insofar as such plans comply with the terms of § 186-4C(1) and (2), and incorporate documentation for replacement trees and landscaping in accordance with § 186-6.
In all other cases it shall be unlawful for any person, except a Village official or authorized agent of the Village acting on behalf of the Village, to destroy, remove, or substantially alter any tree within the Village without having first obtained a valid tree permit from the ARB. This restriction extends to any tree planted within any right-of-way required, permitted or granted under the law.
Process. Every person, corporation or business seeking a tree permit shall submit to the Village a written application, a copy of which can be obtained from Village Hall, together with a filing fee as set forth in § 186-11. Each application shall include the following information:
The name and address of the applicant.
The status of the applicant with respect to the subject property (site).
Written consent of the owner or owners of the site, if the applicant is not the sole owner.
The name of the person preparing any map, drawing or diagram submitted with the application.
Location of the site, including a street number and address and legal description as shown on the Nassau County Land and Tax Map.
A diagram of the site, specifically designating the area or areas of proposed tree removal and the proposed use of such areas, and designation of trees to be removed.
Location of all proposed structures, driveways and paved areas on the site.
Identification of all diseased, dead or damaged trees.
Identification of any trees endangering any roadway, pavement or utility line.
Any proposed grade changes that might adversely affect or endanger any trees on the site and specifications to maintain them.
The purpose of the tree removal.
The size and species of all replacement trees.
In addition to the information, data and responses required in Subsection B above, the ARB, Tree Committee Chair or Tree Warden may require the applicant to submit the following:
A tree preservation plan specifying the methods to be used to preserve all remaining trees and their root systems and the means of providing water and nutrients to their root systems; and/or
A topographical survey of the site if development or construction will result in change in elevation of more than three feet or if the parcel of land is more than 1/2 acre in area.
Upon receipt of an application by the ARB, the Tree Warden shall visit and inspect the site. The Tree Warden will then make a determination on whether a permit should be granted without prior ARB review. The determination by the Tree Warden will be made on the basis of whether the need for removal is reasonable and the removal will not have a significant impact on the surrounding properties and the community as a whole. The Tree Warden's decision shall have the full authority and act on behalf of the Village and the ARB. Once a decision is rendered by the Tree Warden, a determination by the Tree Warden may be appealed within 30 days after the filing of the decision with the Village Clerk to the ARB. Appeals shall be in writing, pursuant to § 186-16, and must be filed prior to the removal of the tree(s) in question, unless the removal is performed due to an emergency situation pursuant to § 186-10.
Where the Tree Warden determines that the removal(s) may have a significant impact on surrounding properties or the community as a whole, the application shall be referred to the ARB for a determination.
The Tree Warden shall prepare a brief written report for submission to the ARB. The Tree Warden shall base his or her determination on the following criteria:
The condition of the tree or trees with respect to disease, proximity to existing or proposed structures and interference with utility services.
The necessity of removing the tree or trees in order to implement the stated purpose of the application.
The effect of the tree removal on erosion, soil moisture retention, flow of surface waters and drainage.
The number and density of trees in the area and the effect of tree removal on other existing vegetation and property values of the neighborhood.
Whether any tree in question is a tree worthy of preservation due to characteristics such as health, age, history, size, rarity, financial value or visual importance to the neighborhood.
[Amended 12-17-2014 by L.L. No. 4-2014]
Whenever a tree is removed, a replacement tree shall be planted by the applicant by the planting of a tree with a caliper of not less than three inches, and of a type as determined by the Tree Warden or by the ARB, as the case may be. In selecting replacements by the Tree Warden or the ARB, priority shall be given, when conditions permit, to species of shade trees that are native to the area.
The Tree Warden or the ARB shall have the right to waive all requirements where it is determined that site conditions are not appropriate for the replacement of removed trees.
The Tree Warden or the ARB shall have the right to require, in lieu of replacement and replanting of a tree(s), the payment of a fee, as set forth from time to time by resolution of the Board of Trustees, but not less than $300. These funds will be paid into the East Hills Green Fund account, with the moneys used to purchase trees, shrubs, bushes, vegetation, flowers, plants and other fauna, and other greenery of any kind as the Board of Trustees directs, and their planting in the community. The Board of Trustees will administer the funds as it, in its sole and complete discretion, determines is in the best interests of the community.
Automatic review. Any application involving two or less trees which does not receive a response within 10 days after the application is filed may be deemed approved. A response includes either a written request for additional information, a written communication which raises an issue or concern, or a notice of a meeting which is scheduled by the Village.
Maintenance of street trees.
As maintenance of the street tree canopy is vital to the character of the Village, all property owners are required to maintain trees that are located along Village roads adjacent to their property. Maintenance shall include normal care and feeding, the periodic pruning to maintain the health and viability of the trees, and the removal of trees that are dead or dying.
Replacement of removed street trees is mandatory, unless determined otherwise by the Tree Warden according to the terms of § 186-6B.
It shall be unlawful for any owner, lessee or occupant of any land or any part thereof in the Village to permit or maintain on any lot or land any trees, shrubs or bushes or parts thereof which are dead, dangerous, or are infected or infested with organisms which cause or tend to cause disease, destruction or damage to such trees, shrubs or bushes by devouring the bark or foliage thereof and spread by passing from such trees, shrubs or bushes to other trees, shrubs or bushes, thereby causing destruction and damage to the property of others and becoming a public nuisance. Before removal of any infested or dead trees, a tree removal permit must be issued under the provisions of this chapter.
It shall be the duty of any such owner, lessee or occupant of land to remove any dead, dangerous or infected trees, shrubs or bushes, or destroy, by cutting, spraying, killing or by other effectual method, all organisms which cause or tend to cause disease, destruction or damage to such trees, shrubs or bushes or parts thereof as often as may be necessary to comply with the provisions of this chapter of the Code of the Incorporated Village of East Hills.
As part of the tree removal process, the burying of tree stumps is prohibited. All tree stumps must be ground and removed along with all branches, leaves and trunk. Subsequent to removal, the area is to be refilled to ground level with soil so as to prevent the creation of a hole.
Upon completion of removal of a street tree, the street must be swept clean and all debris removed.
Upon the failure, neglect or refusal of an owner, lessee or occupant of a lot or land to whom notice is served to comply with the provisions of § 186-8 of this chapter within the time allotted after delivery of such service or mailing of such notice, the Tree Subcommittee Chair or other duly appointed officer or employee of the Village shall cause such trees, limbs or organisms to be removed or destroyed by cutting, spraying, killing or by other effectual method, and the actual cost or additional cost in connection therewith shall be certified by the Tree Subcommittee Chair or other duly appointed officer or employee of the Village to the Village Clerk and shall, as soon as the work is completed, become a lien upon the property on which such infestation was located, and shall be added to and become and form a part of the taxes from the date of such certification to the Village Clerk next to be assessed and levied upon such lot or land, and shall bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and shall be collected and enforced in the same manner as taxes.
In the event of an emergency, all necessary and proper action may be taken with regard to the removal of trees by a resident to ensure the safeguarding of family and property. In this event there shall be no fee charged for the removal but replacement may be deemed necessary by the ARB. The burden of proof shall be on the resident to prove that an emergency existed, that appropriate, measured and necessary action was taken, and that professional and expert services were utilized. Failure to prove an emergency existed and that fair and necessary action was taken will result in the full imposition of fines and penalties, together with any other action required in the Code of the Incorporated Village of East Hills.
[Amended 11-18-2012 by L.L. No. 5-2012]
A nonrefundable filing fee of $25 shall accompany each tree removal application filed with the Village. Additionally, a permit fee of $100 per tree shall be due when and if a tree removal permit is issued. Fees will not be charged for trees which are demonstrably dead or dangerous.
In addition, whenever an inspection by a professional arborist is required by the Architectural Review Board and a report is necessary, a fee of $100 shall be charged to the applicant. Whenever extensive efforts are required, additional fees may be charged to the resident applying for the permit.
The ARB or the Tree Subcommittee Chair, if so designated by the ARB, may regularly require the inspection of trees within the Village. The ARB or the Tree Subcommittee Chair, if so designated by the ARB, may hire a qualified tree surgeon or arborist to inspect trees within the Village and may request confirmation of any findings by another qualified tree surgeon or arborist. If the ARB or Tree Subcommittee requests the opinion of an expert, whether for the purpose of a hearing or any other reason whatsoever, the costs and expenses of an expert shall be borne by the applicant.
If an owner, lessee or occupant of a lot or land in the Village does not comply with the provisions of § 186-4, the ARB (or the Tree Subcommittee Chair) shall serve or cause to be served a written notice upon the owner, lessee or occupant of such lot or land, requiring such person to comply with the provisions of § 186-4 within a period of 30 days (or such longer period as the ARB may determine is appropriate). If such person is a nonresident of the Village, the ARB shall mail or cause to be mailed such written notice to the last known address of such person as the same may appear on the most recent Village tax records.
Unless the person to whom such notice is served requests a hearing before the assessment roll with the ARB within the time directed to perform said work, such person shall take corrective action within the time allotted. If a hearing is properly requested, the ARB shall grant such hearing and determine whether the Village's notice should be enforced, modified or rescinded.
The ARB may deny a hearing and direct immediate compliance if it determines that an immediate danger exists to the health, safety and welfare of the Village and its residents.
The penalties for offenses under this chapter of the Code are as follows:
Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of $1,000 per tree that has been destroyed or removed without application and approval.
The failure to comply with any directive given by the ARB shall be punishable by a fine of $1,000 per day for each and every day the directive by the ARB is not obeyed.
The destruction or substantial alteration of each tree shall be considered a separate offense under this chapter.
In addition to all other remedies provided under this chapter and penalties imposed, any owner of real property who has violated or permitted a violation of this chapter may be directed by the ARB to replace any tree or trees with new and, if required, different species of trees, which are of any type and any size deemed fair and equitable in the sole discretion of the ARB. No demolition or building permit or certificate of occupancy shall be issued for structures upon said real property until such replacement has been completed.
In addition to all other remedies provided under this chapter and penalties imposed, any building permit or demolition permit of any violator of this chapter of the Code may have any permit, license or permission revoked.
The ARB may waive any of the requirements, standards, procedures or mandates contained in this Chapter 186 of the Code of the Incorporated Village of East Hills. The waiver may be based on any action taken or to be taken which is in the interest of justice and fairness, whether for a hardship or otherwise, which the ARB deems fair, appropriate and necessary under the circumstances. An application, in writing, must be sent to the ARB containing the facts, information, circumstances and proof of any extenuating situation or need.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the removal of trees on public rights-of-way conducted by or on behalf of a federal, state, county, municipal or other governmental agency in pursuance of its lawful activities or functions in the construction or improvement of public rights-of-way.
The Tree Warden or Tree Subcommittee Chair shall have the authority to make any decision pursuant to this chapter with respect to any application involving a permit for the removal of trees.
Any applicant aggrieved by any decision of the Tree Warden or Tree Subcommittee Chair may appeal to the ARB. Such appeal shall be taken within 30 days after the filing of the decision with the Village Administrator. The ARB may reverse, modify or affirm the action of the Tree Subcommittee Chair.
Any applicant aggrieved by any decision of the ARB may appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village, in the same manner and upon the same criteria as is provided for use variances. Such appeal shall be taken within 30 days after the filing of the decision with the Village Administrator. The Zoning Board of Appeals, after proceeding in the same manner as is provided for use variance applications, may reverse, modify or affirm the action of the ARB.