[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Glocester 4-15-1999, effective 5-13-1999 (Ch. II, § 6, 2-06-04, of the 1991 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter regulates the protection, maintenance, removal and planting of trees in the public right-of-way, parks, and all public property within the Town of Glocester and on private property endangering the public and/or public property, establishing the Glocester Tree Board which, together with the Town Tree Warden, shall recommend for Town Council approval the establishment of regulations relating to the protection, maintenance, removal, and planting of trees in the above-mentioned public and private places, providing for the maintenance or removal of trees on private property when the public safety is endangered and prescribing penalties for violations of its provisions, as amended. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all property within the Town of Glocester.
This chapter will serve to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Glocester by regulating tree management activities.
The protection of this valuable natural resource will serve to enhance the community in the following ways:
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Glocester Tree Ordinance."
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivatives shall have the meaning given herein. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future and words in singular number include the plural number. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
- A person who is applying for a license or permits required by this chapter.
- Written assent from the Glocester Town Tree Warden pursuant to a duly executed application for approval made on a form promulgated by the Town of Glocester.
- Diameter at breast height, at 4.5 feet (1.37 m) from the ground level.
- Includes any Town public spaces designated for recreation and/or conservation.
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, or organization of any kind, including public utilities and Town departments.
- PROPERTY LINE
- The boundary between private and Town-owned land.
- PROPERTY OWNER
- The person owning such property as shown by the records of the Recorded Deeds of the Town of Glocester.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Includes any other ground owned by the Town.
- PUBLIC TREES
- Includes all trees now or hereafter growing on any street, park, or any other public place.
- 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, for purposes of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
- TOWN TREE WARDEN
- The Municipal Arborist, Town Tree Warden, Landscape Architect, Director, Division of Grounds Maintenance Services, Supervisor, Community Forestry Operations, or other qualified designated official of the Town assigned to carry out the enforcement of this chapter.
- Any living, self-supporting woody plant that has a well-defined stem(s) with a caliper of at least 1 1/2 inches (3.81 cm) at DBH at 4.5 feet (1.37 m) from the ground level and capable of reaching a height greater than 16 feet.
- 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.
- TREE REMOVAL
- Includes any act that will cause a tree to die within a three-year period.
- TREE WELL
- Opening in the ground area surrounding the base of the tree trunk not covered by sidewalk and paving.
The Glocester Tree Board, hereinafter referenced to as the "Board," shall be the Glocester Conservation Commission and shall act in an advisory role to the Tree Warden over all forestry functions, including the planting, care and removal of trees, shrubs and other plants on the properties for which it is responsible. It shall do all acts necessary and develop tree planting specifications and tree care guidelines to insure the proper care, management, improvement, maintenance and protection of the public parks and street trees under its jurisdiction.
The duties of said Board shall be interpreted to include, but not be limited to, an advisory role to the Tree Warden on the protection, maintenance, removal, and planting of trees on public property, and to make such recommendations from time to time to the Town Tree Warden to desirable regulations concerning the tree program and activities for the Town.
Appointment and qualifications of the Town Tree Warden. The Town Tree Warden shall be appointed by the Glocester Town Council. Said person shall have training and experience in arboriculture, and shall have passed the Rhode Island Arborist exam.
Duties of the Town Tree Warden.
The Town Tree Warden shall affirm and endorse the purpose and intent of this chapter and shall cause the provisions of this chapter to be enforced.
The Town Tree Warden may, with the advice of the Glocester Tree Board and the approval of the Glocester Town Council, prepare and enact a Systematized Tree Management and Annual Tree Planting Program for the Town of Glocester, which may be prepared as an integral part of a Master Systematized Tree Management and Tree Planting Plan.
The Town Tree Warden is further charged with keeping informed of environmental and technical changes that could affect the Town's public and protected trees.
It shall also be the duty of the Tree Warden, with the assistance of the Tree Board, to implement such rules, regulations, and permit and penalty procedures as are deemed necessary to carry out the intent and enforcement of this chapter.
The Town Tree Warden shall communicate and work with all civic and public interest groups interested in or devoted to tree care, preservation or planting.
Authority of the Town Tree Warden.
The Town Tree Warden shall have the authority and jurisdiction of regulating and enacting the maintenance, removal, and planting of public and protected trees to insure public safety, preserving the aesthetics of public sites with regard to trees, and protecting the value and health of Glocester's community forest as a whole.
The Town Tree Warden shall consider the existing and future utility and environmental factors when recommending a specific species for each of the streets and other public sites and when issuing permits for tree work, removal, or planting.
The Town Tree Warden shall have the responsibility of regularly updating the Master Systematized Tree Management and Planting Program.
The Town Tree Warden shall have the authority to review all requests for permits for any planting, removal, pruning, and/or trimming or cutting of trees in any public area, with the exception of an historic or protected tree. He shall also have the authority to grant or deny and to attach reasonable conditions to all permits with the exception of those specifically exempted herein.
The Town Tree Warden shall enforce such rules, regulations and permit and penalty procedures as are deemed necessary to enforce the intent of this chapter.
Authority of the Town Tree Warden to remove and trim trees endangering the public and/or public property. The authority of the Tree Warden to enter upon private property to deal with trees endangering the public and/or public property is set forth generally in R.I.G.L. § 2-14, Tree Wardens, and in particular in R.I.G.L. §§ 2-14-5, 2-14-8, 2-14-9, and 2-14-10.
It shall be the duty of person(s) owning or occupying real property bordering on any public street or thoroughfare, upon which property there may be trees, to prune in such manner that they will not obstruct or shade street lights, obstruct the passage of pedestrians on sidewalks, obstruct vision of traffic signs or obstruct the view of any street or intersection so as to pose a threat to pedestrian or vehicular safety. The minimum clearance of any overhanging portion thereof shall be eight feet (2.44 m) over sidewalks, and 12 feet (3.65 m) over all streets and thoroughfares and/or at the discretion of the Town Tree Warden;
During development, redevelopment, razing or renovating, no trees shall be cut, damaged or removed except by specified permit. All trees removed, destroyed, or severely damaged shall be replaced as specified in the permit at the expense of the permittee. The total caliper of all trees planted in the course of restoration shall in no event be less than the total DBH of all trees removed. Replacement shall be made with two-and-one-half- to four-inch-caliper trees and/or as directed by the Town Tree Warden. If sufficient tree planting locations are unavailable within the contract area, the replacement trees shall be planted within the Town as determined by the Town Tree Board.
All trees within 30 feet (9.1 m) of any excavation or construction of any building, structure, or street work shall be guarded through the length of the project with a good substantial fence, frame, or box not less than four feet (1.2 m) high and eight feet (2.4 m) square, or equivalent. All equipment, building materials, chemicals, dirt, or other debris shall be kept outside the barrier at all times. Road maintenance, reconstruction, and resurfacing done by or under the direction of the Glocester Department of Public Works are excluded.
No person shall intentionally damage, cut, carve or transplant any tree; attach any rope, wire, nails, advertising posters, or other contrivance to any tree; allow any gaseous, liquid, chemical, or solid substance that 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 without first obtaining a written permit from the Town Tree Warden.
No person shall deposit, place, store, or maintain any stone, brick, sand, fill dirt, concrete, or other materials that may impede the free passage of water, air, and fertilizer to the roots of any tree growing therein, except by written permit of the Town Tree Board. Road maintenance, reconstruction, and resurfacing done by or under the direction of the Glocester Department of Public Works are excluded.
No person shall preclude the percolation of water or nutrients and gaseous exchange vital to a tree's survival by the placing any impervious materials (asphalt, macadam, and concrete) within the confines of the tree well opening. Road maintenance, reconstruction, and resurfacing done by or under the direction of the Glocester Department of Public Works are excluded.
Any person desiring to plant a tree upon any public street or public place must first obtain a permit from the Town Tree Board. Any permit shall be granted to a date certain and shall include consideration of appropriateness of species, location, size, and public safety.
Should the planting(s) be performed by persons other than the Town Tree Warden or his agents, the proposed method and workmanship for planting as prescribed by the Town Tree Warden shall be adhered to.
A planting plan is required where more than six trees are to be planted.
Any person desiring to plant more than six trees on public streets or on public places shall, in addition to applying for a permit, submit a plan or written statement in duplicate to the Town Tree Board, which shall return one copy to the applicant and keep one copy on file with the Town. The Town Tree Warden shall consult with the Glocester Tree Board prior to issuing a permit to plant.
All planting plans shall show accurately:
The proposed park or public place site, or proposed street width, with any curbs, parking strips, driveways, sidewalks and adjacent structures defined to scale;
The proposed location of each proposed tree, together with the location of each existing tree within the proposed site in scaled relation to the other features of the plan;
The species of each and every tree proposed to be planted and of these already existing within the proposed site, either indicated on the plans or referenced with a number with a key list.
The requirements of this chapter may be waived by the Town in the case of emergencies as declared by the Town Council, Public Works Director or Safety Committee, such as windstorms, ice storms, or other disasters, so that they, in no way, shall hinder private or public work to restore order in the Town. This work shall follow maintenance standards as outlined by the Town Tree Board.
No person shall move any building or any other large object that may injure public or protected trees or parts thereof, without first obtaining the written approval of the Town Tree Board and abiding by its requirements.
A permit shall be a written document that authorizes the bearer thereof to perform the proposed work as outlined on such permit. The permit shall be issued only by the Town Tree Warden or his/her representative.
A permit shall be obtained by filling out an application. Upon approving the application, the Town Tree Warden or his/her representative shall issue said permit.
A permit shall be required for planting, spraying, pruning, cutting above ground, removing, or otherwise disturbing any public tree on any street, park or other public place. Road maintenance, reconstruction, and resurfacing done by or under the direction of the Glocester Department of Public Works are excluded.
The Town Tree Warden shall issue any permit provided for herein if the proposed method and workmanship shall be of a satisfactory nature and the project shall be consistent with this chapter. Any permit granted shall contain a definite date of expiration and the work shall be completed in the time allowed in the permit and in the manner as therein described. Any permit shall be void if its terms are violated.
The Town Tree Board shall be notified by the bearer of said permit upon satisfactory completion of designated work.
The application required herein shall state the number of trees to be set out or planted on public places, the location, grade, species, cultivar or variety of each tree, the method of planting, and such other information as the Town Tree Warden shall find reasonably necessary to a fair determination of whether a permit should be issued.
The Town Tree Warden shall have the right to make the final determination as to location, species, cultivar or variety of each tree and the method of planting before issuing said permit.
Maintenance. The application required herein shall state the number and kinds of trees to be sprayed, fertilized, pruned, or otherwise preserved; the kind of treatment to be administered; the composition of the spray material to be applied; and such other information as the Town Tree Warden shall find reasonably necessary to a fair determination of whether a permit should be issued.
Removal, replanting and replacement.
Wherever it is necessary to remove a tree in connection with the paving of a sidewalk, or the widening of the portion of a street or highway, the Town shall require the party responsible for the paving or widening to replant the tree or replace it as deemed necessary by the Town Tree Board. This requirement will be satisfied if an equivalent number of trees of the same size and species as provided in the Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice are planted within the Town.
No person shall remove a public tree for the purpose of construction or any other reason, without first filing an application and procuring a permit from the Town Tree Warden. The Town Tree Warden may require replacement of a removed tree as a condition to the issuance of a permit. Such replacement shall meet the standards of size, species and placement as provided for in a permit issued by the Town Tree Warden. The person or property owner shall bear the cost of removal and replacement of all trees removed.
To protect the public, the Town shall require any person who removes or maintains trees on public property as a business to be:
Properly licensed to perform such work.
Certified by State of Rhode Island or any other agency that regulates arboricultural practices.
Covered by Workers' Compensation to the extent required by Rhode Island law and Public liability and personal property insurance in minimum amounts hereinafter mentioned adequate to cover and save harmless the Town of Glocester and its agents from all suits, claims, or actions of every class and nature for or on persons, or property damage caused or claimed to be caused, directly or indirectly, by the conduct of the work contemplated, or by acts of strangers, or any conditions due to the elements or any defects or insufficiencies in any method, material, ways, machinery, equipment or apparatus used in connection with the work. Public liability insurance with limits of not less than $500,000 shall be carried.
No person shall hinder, prevent, delay or interfere with the Town Tree Warden or any of his assistants while engaged in carrying out the implementation 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 Town.
Appeals of the Tree Board's findings may be appealed to the Town Tree Warden.
Any adjustment of the standards required by this chapter or an appeal of a decision of the Town Tree Board shall be taken to the Town Tree Warden. The Tree Warden, upon receipt of such request, on forms provided by the Town Tree Warden, shall have the authority and duty to consider an act upon the request. This application shall clearly and in detail state what adjustments or requirements are being requested, reasons such adjustments or requirements are being requested, reasons such adjustments are warranted, and shall be accompanied by such supplementary data as is deemed necessary to substantiate the adjustment. The Town Tree Warden may approve, modify, or deny the requested adjustment, based upon protection of public interest, preservation of the intent of this chapter, and possible unreasonable and unnecessary hardships involved in the case.
The Board shall act on the application as expeditiously as possible and shall notify the applicant in writing within five days of the action taken.
Any person violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to court action and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or the value of the trees removed or damaged. In addition, the person shall replace the tree and/or repair damage with a size and species permitted by the Town Tree Warden.
Each tree affected by noncompliance with this chapter shall constitute a separate violation.
Violation of the chapter shall be the basis of withholding a final inspection permit until such violation is corrected to the satisfaction of the Town Tree Warden and/or Tree Board.