[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Snow Hill 4-14-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-4; amended in its entirety 6-10-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-9. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PARK TREES
- Trees, shrubs, bushes and all other woody vegetation in public parks having individual names and all areas owned by the Town or to which the public has free access as a park.
- STREET TREES
- Trees, shrubs, bushes and all other woody vegetation on land lying between property lines on either side of all streets, avenues or ways within the Town.
The Mayor and Council recognize the ecological, economic and amenity value and benefit of trees, forests, and natural vegetation in the Town. The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the beautification of the Town through the planting, preservation and protection of trees, forests, and natural vegetation within the corporate limits of the Town through various methods which shall include, but are not limited to, landscaping, preservation/conservation or reforestation efforts.
The Town shall study, investigate, counsel and develop and/or update and administer a written plan for the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal or disposition of trees and shrubs in parks, along streets and in other public areas. The Town's approval of the written plan shall constitute the official Comprehensive Town Tree Plan for the Town of Snow Hill, Maryland.
The Town of Snow Hill has adopted the state-approved tree list.
The spacing of trees will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in § 178-3 of this chapter, and no trees may be planted closer together than the following, except in special plantings designed or approved by a landscape architect:
The distance trees may be planted from curbs or curblines and sidewalks will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in § 178-3 of this chapter, and no trees may be planted closer to any curb or sidewalk than the following:
No street tree shall be planted closer than 35 feet to any street corner, measured from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curblines. No street tree shall be planted closer than 15 feet to any fireplug.
No street tree other than those species listed as small trees in § 178-3 of this chapter may be planted under or within 10 lateral feet of any underground waterline, sewer line, transmission line or other utility.
The Town shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within the lines of all streets, alleys, avenues, lanes, squares and public grounds as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds.
The Town may remove or cause or order to be removed any tree or part thereof which is in an unsafe condition or which by reason of its nature is injurious to sewers, electric power lines, gas lines, waterlines or other public improvements or which is affected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest. This section does not prohibit the planting of street trees by adjacent property owners, provided that the selection and location of said trees is in accordance with §§ 178-3 through 178-7 of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm or Town department to top any street tree, park tree or other tree on public property. "Topping" is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree's crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. 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 chapter at the determination of the Town.
Every owner of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the Town shall prune the branches so that such branches shall not obstruct the light from any street lamp or obstruct the view of any street intersection and so that there shall be a clear space of 14 feet above the surface of the street and a clear space of eight feet above the sidewalk. Said owner shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public. The Town shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a streetlight or interferes with visibility of any traffic control device or sign or is within 14 feet clear space above the surface of the street.
The Town shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased tree on private property within the Town when such tree constitutes a hazard to life and property or harbors insects or disease which constitute a potential threat to other trees within the Town.
The Town will notify, in writing, the owners of such trees. Removal shall be done by said owner of such trees at his own expense within 60 days after the date of service of notice. In the event of failure of the owner to comply with such provisions, the Town shall have the authority to remove such trees and charge the cost of removal on the owner's property tax notice.
All stumps of street and park trees shall be removed below the surface of the ground so that the top of the stump shall not project above the surface of the ground.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the Town or any of its agents while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying or removing of any street tree, park tree or trees on private grounds as authorized in this chapter.
Any person violating the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a municipal infraction and shall be issued a civil citation for $100 for a first offense, and a fine of $250 for a second offense and subsequent offense(s). The person shall be given 20 days to pay the citation at Town Hall or request a trial in the District Court. Failure to pay the fine or request a trial date, or failure to appear at trial when scheduled, shall result in the fine amount being doubled. In addition, the Town may request that the Court issue an order of abatement and reimbursement for reasonable attorney fees and court costs. Each day that a violation continues after notice has been served shall be deemed a separate offense.