[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Saco 5-1-1995 as Ch. XIX of the 1994 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Municipal Tree Regulations of the City of Saco."
For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply, unless the context clearly indicates another meaning:
- MUNICIPAL TREE WARDEN
- The designated official of the City of Saco assigned to carry out the enforcement of this chapter.
- PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT
- The designated department of the City under whose jurisdiction park and/or street trees fall.
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
- PROPERTY LINE
- The outer edge of a street or highway right-of-way.
- PROPERTY OWNER
- The person owning such property as shown by the Tax Maps of the City of Saco, unless proof to the contrary is available.
- PUBLIC PLACES
- All grounds owned by the City of Saco.
- PUBLIC TREES
- All shade and ornamental trees now or hereafter growing on any street or any public areas or trees standing on the public and private property line, in which case 1/2 or more of the tree trunk is standing on public property.
- STREET or HIGHWAY
- The entire width of every public way or right-of-way when any part thereof is open to the use of the public as a matter of right.
- TREE LAWN
- That part of a street or highway, not covered by sidewalk or other paving, lying between the property line and that portion of the street or highway usually used for vehicular traffic.
The duties of the Parks and Recreation Department shall be as follows:
To assist the properly constituted officials and citizens of the City in the dissemination of news and information regarding the selection, planting and maintenance of trees within the corporate limits, whether the same shall be on private or public property, and to make such recommendations to the City Council as to desirable legislation concerning the tree program and activities for the municipality.
To provide regular and special public meetings at which the subject of trees, insofar as it relates to the City, may be discussed.
Appointment and qualifications. The Municipal Tree Warden shall be a person skilled and trained in the arts and sciences of municipal arboriculture, landscape horticulture, park administration or a closely related field.
Duties of the Tree Warden. The Municipal Tree Warden shall have the authority to promulgate the rules and regulations of the arboricultural specifications and standards of practice governing the planting, maintenance, removal, fertilization, pruning and bracing of trees on streets 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 any public area of the City of Saco. He/She shall cause the provisions of this chapter to be enforced. In his/her absence these duties shall be the responsibility of a qualified alternate designated by the City Administrator.
Authority of the Tree Warden.
General authority and jurisdiction. The Tree Warden shall have the authority and jurisdiction of regulating the planting, maintenance and removal of public trees on streets and other publicly owned property to ensure safety or preserve the aesthetics of such public sites.
Supervision. The Tree Warden shall have the authority and it shall be his/her duty to supervise or inspect all work done under a permit issued in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
Condition of permit. The Tree Warden shall have the authority to affix reasonable conditions to the granting of a permit in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
Master Street Tree Plan. The Tree Warden shall have the authority to formulate a Master Street Tree Plan with the advice and approval of the appropriate committee. The Master Street Tree Plan shall specify the species of trees to be planted on each of the streets or other public sites of the City. From and after the effective date of the Master Street Tree Plan, or any amendment thereof, all planting shall conform thereto.
The Tree Warden shall consider all existing and future utility and environmental factors when recommending a specific species for each of the streets and other public sites of the City.
The Tree Warden, with the approval of the Tree Committee, shall have the authority to amend or add to the Master Street Tree Plan at any time that circumstances make it advisable.
Permit required. No person shall plant, spray, fertilize, preserve, prune, remove, cut above ground or otherwise disturb any tree on any street or City-owned property without first filing an application and procuring a permit from the Tree Warden or otherwise specified municipal authority. The person receiving the permit shall abide by the arboricultural specifications and standards of practice adopted by the Tree Warden. In emergency situations, such as storm damage to trees, requiring immediate pruning or removal, the work may be done. The Tree Warden must, however, be informed of such action within two days thereafter.
Applications. Application for permits must be made at the office of the Parks and Recreation Department not less than 48 hours in advance of the time the work is to be done. Applications for planting shall state the number of trees to be set out; the location, grade, species, cultivar or variety of each tree; the method of planting; and such other information as the Tree Warden shall find reasonably necessary to a fair determination of whether a permit should be issued.
Standards of issuance. The Tree Warden shall issue the permit provided for herein if, in his/her judgment, the proposed work is desirable and the proposed method and workmanship thereof are of a satisfactory nature. Any permit granted shall contain a definite date of expiration, and the work shall be completed in the time allowed on the permit and in the manner as therein described. Any permit shall be void if its terms are violated.
Notice of completion. Notice of completion shall be given within five days to the Tree Warden for his/her inspection.
Replanting by City. Whenever it is necessary to remove a tree or trees from a tree lawn in connection with the paving of a sidewalk or the paving or widening of the portion of a street or highway used for vehicular traffic, the municipality shall replant such trees or replace them. Provided that conditions prevent planting on tree lawns, this requirement will be satisfied if any equivalent number of trees of the same size and species as provided for in the arboricultural specifications are planted on the adjoining property.
Removal; permits and replacement required. No person or property owner shall remove a tree from the tree lawn for the purpose of construction or for any other reason without first filing an application and procuring a permit from the Tree Warden and without replacing the removed tree or trees in accordance with the adopted arboricultural specifications. Such replacement shall meet the standards of size, species and placement as provided for in a permit issued by the Tree Warden. The person or property owner shall bear the cost of removal and replacement of all trees removed.
Removal of elm trees. The City of Saco will prune and remove diseased elm trees up to and including tree trunks standing 30 feet on private property measured from the end of the public property line.
It shall be the duty of any person or persons owning or occupying real property bordering on any street upon which property there may be trees to prune such trees 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 intersection. The minimum clearance of any overhanging portion thereof shall be 10 feet over sidewalks and 12 feet over all streets, except truck thoroughfares, which shall have a clearance of 16 feet.
Unless specifically authorized by the Tree Warden, no person shall intentionally damage, cut, carve, transplant or remove any tree; attach any rope, wire, nails, advertising posters or other contrivance to any tree; allow any gaseous liquid or solid substance which is harmful to such trees to come in contact with them; or set fire or permit any fire to burn when such fire or the heat thereof will injure any portion of any tree.
No person shall hinder, prevent, delay or interfere with the Tree Warden or any of his/her assistants while engaged in carrying out the execution or enforcement of this chapter; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed as an attempt to prohibit the pursuit of any remedy, legal or equitable, in any court of competent jurisdiction for the protection of property rights by the owner of any property within the City.
Guards. All trees on any street or other publicly owned property near any excavation or construction of any building or structure or street work shall be guarded with a good, substantial fence, frame or box not less than four feet high and eight feet square or at a distance, in feet, from the tree equal to the diameter of the trunk, in inches [diameter at breast height (DBH)], whichever is greater, and all building material, dirt or other debris shall be kept outside the barrier.
Construction permits required. No person shall excavate any ditches, tunnels or trenches or lay any drive within a radius of 10 feet from any public tree without first obtaining a written permit from the Tree Warden.
No person shall deposit, place, store or maintain upon any public place of the City any stone, brick, sand, concrete or other materials which may impede the free passage of water, air and fertilizer to the roots of any tree growing therein, except by written permit of the Tree Warden.