[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Greenburgh 6-19-2007 by L.L. No. 7-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town of Greenburgh wishes to promote the reliable delivery by public utilities of electric power to residents and businesses within the Town. The Town recognizes that tree limbs may interrupt such reliable delivery if they become entangled with electric lines, and therefore public utilities must, from time to time, cut and/or remove trees. The Town also wishes to recognize and preserve the benefits of trees to the community, including without limitation, flood prevention, water purification, reduced soil erosion, removal of carbon dioxide from the air from traffic and other sources of carbon dioxide, and providing protection from the elements and reduced use of fossil fuels for heating and air conditioning. Removal of trees may lead to soil erosion, stormwater runoff and related drainage problems, which, if not regulated locally, could lead to flooding and other serious adverse impacts on private property owners and the Town.
The purpose of this chapter is to regulate such tree cutting and/or removal by public utilities by requiring that trees be cut and maintained in compliance with certain nationally recognized standards and further that, when tree removal is necessary, reasonable efforts be made to mitigate the loss of trees and any resulting threat by, among other things, either requiring the replanting of trees or such other steps as may be necessary to protect the public health, safety, environment and general welfare.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have these meanings, as indicated:
- Department of Public Works.
- DISTRIBUTION LINE
- An electric line having a voltage of less than 69 kilovolts.
- Any corporation, limited liability company, partnership, limited partnership or other nonmunicipal enterprise recognized by the State of New York or its agents and contractors.
- An easement or other right-of-way, whether granted by a public corporation or a private property owner, on which a distribution line is situated. As used in this chapter, a grantor of a ROW shall include the present property owner if the ROW had been granted by a predecessor in interest.
- Any woody plant of a species which grows at maturity to an overall height of a minimum of 10 feet, has a single trunk or multiple trunks which are, in combination, a sum of six inches in diameter as measured 4 1/2 feet above the ground.
Entities maintaining ROWs in the Town shall follow the tree maintenance practices for utilities established by The National Arbor Day Foundation from time to time in effect, unless otherwise authorized in writing by the Department's consulting arborist under such terms and conditions as may be specified by her/him. Nothing in this chapter prevents an entity from reaching an agreement with a grantor of a ROW that allows the ROW grantor to perform tree maintenance herself/himself, or to contract privately for it to be performed, as long as such tree maintenance conforms to the standards established by The National Arbor Day Foundation.
Except for tree pruning and trimming maintenance practices permitted by Subsection A, no entity or its agents or contractors shall cut, top or remove a tree on a ROW unless such tree poses a danger to a distribution line. Unless the entity has received in writing the consent of the grantor of the ROW at least five days before such action, the entity shall file with the Department at least five days before any such action a certification by an arborist designated by the Department that: such tree is diseased or dying, or with respect to a healthy tree, such tree is so entangled with a distribution line that pruning and maintenance practices cannot reasonably be expected to prevent such tree from falling on or otherwise interfering with the distribution line. Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this Subsection, an entity may cut, top or remove a tree on a ROW if it has fallen on a distribution line or, in the judgment of the entity, is in imminent danger of doing so.
Except for tree pruning and trimming maintenance practices permitted by Subsection A, any entity cutting, topping or removing a tree on a ROW (including if done on an emergency basis pursuant to the last sentence of Subsection B) shall: if requested by the public or private grantor of the ROW, replant a replacement tree for each such tree cut, topped or removed; or if not so requested by the grantor of the ROW, take such action as shall be determined by the Department's consulting arborist so that there will be no adverse environmental effects including, but not limited to, drainage and soil erosion, to the Town or private property owners within the Town. All replacement trees shall be native trees for this region as designated either by the County of Westchester Department of Planning, or in the New York City Parks Department "Native Species Planting Guide for New York City and Vicinity"; or in Cullina, "Native trees, Shrubs and Vines." All other terms and conditions of replanting shall be as agreed in writing between the entity and the grantor of the ROW, provided that, if such an agreement is not reached within 45 days after the action, such terms and conditions shall be as designated by the Department's consulting arborist.
The Department may issue such regulations and forms as it deems appropriate for the administration of this chapter. The Department may issue stop-work orders for violations of this chapter.
If a provision of this chapter is violated, the Town or the grantor of the ROW may, in any court of competent jurisdiction, seek injunctive relief restraining any violation of this chapter and/or compel the restoration of the violation. If a provision of this chapter is violated, the grantor of the ROW may also seek civil monetary damages in any court of competent jurisdiction. Any violation of this chapter shall also be punishable by a fine, as determined by the Town Court, of not less than $500 per tree.
This chapter is subject to any provision of New York State law expressly preempting local municipal regulation with respect to distribution lines. Nothing in this chapter repeals or supersedes any other Town law or regulation or modifies any outstanding franchise agreement between the Town and any entity.
If any provision of this chapter shall be declared unenforceable in a final and nonappealable order of a court of competent jurisdiction, that shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of this chapter, and the remaining provisions of this chapter shall remain in full force and effect.