City of Geneva, NY
Ontario County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Geneva as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 7-3-1968 as Ch. 44, Arts. III, of the 1968 Code]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
PARK TREES
Park trees are herein defined as trees found in public parks having individual names and in all areas owned by the city to which the public has free access, including cemeteries.
STREET TREES
Street trees are herein defined as trees on land lying between property lines on either side of all streets, avenues or ways within the city.
A Shade Tree Committee for the City of Geneva, New York is hereby established. The Committee shall consist of six to nine members, appointed by the City Manager and approved by the City Council. Members should be drawn from a variety of backgrounds, including tree professionals; scientists; homeowners; the City Engineer in his capacity as Director of Public Works; and city government. The services of consultants may be sought from time to time.
The term of office shall be three years, staggered, with eligibility for reappointment. In the event of a vacancy during the term of an appointment, a successor shall be appointed to fill the unexpired term and shall be eligible for a full three-year appointment thereafter.
Members of the Committee shall serve without compensation. The Committee will have no budget.
A. 
It shall be the responsibility of the Committee to study, investigate, develop and administer a written plan for the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting and removal of trees in city parks, along streets and in all public areas. Such plan will be presented annually to the City Council and upon acceptance shall constitute the official city tree plan.
B. 
The Shade Tree Committee shall promote the establishment of an inventory of street and park trees, to be updated at least triennially.
C. 
The Committee will foster community education via news media, special occasions such as Arbor Day, and workshops from time to time.
D. 
The Committee will assist the City Manager in preparing the annual tree budget.
E. 
The Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the Director of Public Works, having no enforcement powers per se.
The Committee shall choose its own officers, make its own rules and regulations, and keep a record of its proceedings. A majority of the members shall be a quorum for the transaction of business. Meetings will be scheduled as activity warrants.
[Amended 5-1-2019 by Ord. No. 3-2019]
The Shade Tree Committee and the Director of Public Works will maintain lists of desirable and undesirable trees for planting on City property. Efforts will be made to assure a wide diversity of tree species, with no one species constituting more than 10% of the total urban forest.
[Amended 5-1-2019 by Ord. No. 3-2019]
The spacing of street trees will be based on tree sizes as follows: small trees - 15 feet; medium trees - 25 feet; large trees - 35 feet. Exceptions may be special plantings approved by the Committee. Tree lawns (the grassy area between curb and sidewalk) must be at least four feet wide for small tree planting, and at least six feet for medium and large trees.
A. 
No street tree shall be planted within 35 feet of a street corner.
B. 
No street tree shall be planted within 10 feet of a fire plug or utility pole.
C. 
No street tree other than those species listed as small shall be planted under or within 10 horizontal feet of an overhead utility wire.
A. 
The city shall have the right, upon written notification of the adjacent property owner at least 48 hours in advance, to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees within the lines of all streets, public ways and public grounds, as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to preserve and enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds.
B. 
The Shade Tree Committee may remove or cause to be removed any tree or part thereof which is in an unsafe condition or which by reason of its nature is injurious to electric power lines, gas lines, water lines or other public utilities; or is affected by 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 be in accordance with §§ 327-7 through 327-9 of this article.
[Amended 5-1-2019 by Ord. No. 3-2019]
It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm or City department to top any tree on public property. "Topping" is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs within the tree's crown to such a degree as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. Crown reduction by a qualified expert may be substituted, as appropriate. (Trees severely damaged by storms or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical may be exempted from this rule as the determination of the Director of Public Works with consultation with the City Arborist.)
[Amended 5-1-2019 by Ord. No. 3-2019]
Every owner of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the City of Geneva shall prune the branches so that such branches shall not severely obstruct the light from street lamps or obstruct the view of any intersection, and so that the lowest branches are at least 13 feet above the street surface and at least eight feet above the sidewalk surface. Said owners shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees, or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to public safety. The City shall have the right to prune any tree on private property which interferes with the proper illumination by street lamps, or interferes with visibility of any traffic control device or sign or sight triangle at intersections. Tree limbs that grow near high voltage lines shall be maintained clear of such conductors by the electric utility in compliance with applicable franchise agreements. The utility tree pruning policy must be reviewed by the utility and the Director of Public Works prior to any pruning by the utility.
All stumps of street and park trees shall be removed at least six inches below the surface.
In order to maintain the overall urban forest, all reasonable efforts shall be made to replace trees that are removed and to protect quality trees that are endangered. Removed trees shall be replaced, insofar as possible, on a one-for-one basis within one year. Location, species and planting technique shall be determined by the committee. Street trees shall be protected as much as possible from damage during construction, sidewalk repair, utilities work above and below ground and other similar activities. The zone of protection shall include the ground beneath the tree canopy. In-ground tree planters in sidewalks shall be at least six feet square and covered with bricks or pavers as appropriate.
The City of Geneva has an active policy to maintain the safety of public lands from potentially hazardous trees. The city will endeavor to eliminate, in a timely fashion, any tree deemed hazardous. When available fiscal, equipment or human resources limit the ability of the city to remove high-risk trees, priority shall be placed on trees deemed to carry the highest risk. The standard for rating the level of hazard of a particular tree will be the International Society of Arboriculture's twelve-point hazard evaluation system. The Director of Public Works will administer this program and have final judgment in all matters concerning the mitigation measures taken for any tree deemed hazardous.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the Geneva Shade Tree Committee, or any of its agents, while engaging in and around the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying or removing of any street tree or park tree, as authorized in this article.
It shall be unlawful for any person or firm to engage in the occupation of pruning, treating or removing street or park trees within the city without a license. No license shall be required of any public service company, including electric utilities and their agents and contractors or city employees doing such work in the pursuit of their normal endeavors.
[Added 5-1-2019 by Ord. No. 3-2019]
The standard of tree care, as adopted by the Shade Tree Committee, shall be the most recent version of the American National Standard for Tree Care Operations, ANSI A300 - Part 1.
No person shall mutilate, vandalize, carve or otherwise damage any public tree. When, as determined by the Shade Tree Committee, such damage results in destruction or removal of a tree, the guilty party shall replace that tree with a tree of equivalent value and species, or otherwise be subject to provisions of § 327-19, hereby appended.
Any person violating any provision of this article shall be, upon conviction or a plea of guilty, subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000.
The Geneva City Council shall have the right to review the conduct, acts and decisions of the Shade Tree Committee. Any resident may appeal from any ruling or order of the Shade Tree Committee to the City Council, who may hear the matter and render a final decision.
[Adopted 7-3-1968 as Ch. 80 of the 1968 Code]
The city elects to exercise and enjoy the powers and immunities prescribed and granted in §§ 164, 165 and 167 of Article 14 of the Agriculture and Markets Law with respect and in regard to the dutch elm disease within the limits of the city.