[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Tarrytown 8-15-1988 by L.L. No. 8-1988; amended in its entirety 11-20-2006 by L.L. No. 15-2006. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
There is a direct relationship between the number of trees planted in a community and the health and safety and welfare of that community. Trees provide shade, add color, control water and air pollution, stabilize the soil and prevent erosion. The destruction of shade trees causes increased municipal costs for proper drainage control and impairs the benefits of occupancy of existing residential properties. In order to provide protection against the indiscriminate destruction of trees, this chapter establishes minimum standards for tree protection.
The General Foreman of the Department of Public Works shall have supervision over all trees planted or growing within the lines of all public streets and places of the Village and the planting, removal, care, maintenance and protection thereof pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. The General Foreman shall have the right to trim, spray, preserve and plant such trees as may be necessary to preserve symmetry or to remove or cause to be removed any tree or part thereof that is in an unsafe condition or that, by reason of its nature, is injurious to sewers or other public improvements or is infected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest. The General Foreman shall meet with the Tree Commission on an annual basis to provide the Commission with a tree planting and tree maintenance plan for the land within the lines of all public streets and places. Where there is any doubt as to whether a tree is in an unsafe condition or is causing an unsafe condition or is infected with any injurious fungus, insect or pest, the General Foreman shall consult with the Tree Warden prior to removal of any tree. In this situation the final decision is by the Tree Warden.
The Board of Trustees shall select an individual with knowledge of the planting and maintenance of trees to serve as the Tree Warden for the Village of Tarrytown. The Tree Warden shall represent the Tree Commission and shall have the powers, rights and responsibilities as provided for in this chapter and shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Trustees.
No person, firm or corporation or individual connected with such firm or corporation shall either purposely or carelessly or negligently cut down, top, prune, kill or otherwise destroy or commit any act that may lead to eventual destruction of any tree exceeding four inches in diameter at a height of four feet six inches measured from the ground on any private property unless said person, firm or corporation or individual connected with such firm or corporation shall have obtained a permit pursuant to § 281-11 of this chapter. Permits issued for any other purpose by the Village, including but not limited to building permits, shall not be considered as valid permits for the removal of trees unless permission for the removal of the trees has been granted by the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Appeals, subject to the provisions of Subsection B or C hereinbelow.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any property owner applying for a zoning variance, approval of which would require the removal of any trees on said property, shall make application to the Tree Commission for referral to the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Tarrytown, who, along with the Planning Board, shall have advisory jurisdiction regarding the proposed removal of such trees due to an approved site plan. The Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Tarrytown and/or the Planning Board of the Village of Tarrytown may grant or deny such application on such terms and conditions as it may prescribe.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any property owner applying for site plan approval which would require the removal of any trees on said property shall make application to the Tree Commission for referral to the Planning Board of the Village of Tarrytown, which shall have sole jurisdiction regarding the proposed removal of trees. The Planning Board may grant or deny such application on such terms and conditions as it may prescribe.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any property owner applying for subdivision approval whose plans would require the removal of any trees on said property shall make application to the Tree Commission for referral to the Planning Board of the Village of Tarrytown, which shall have sole jurisdiction regarding the proposed removal of such trees. The Planning Board may grant or deny such application on such terms and conditions as it may prescribe, it being understood that there must, in any event, be full compliance with the Subdivision Regulations of the Village of Tarrytown. In the event that a property owner, subsequent to the filing of a final plat, shall require the removal of any trees which deviates from the plans approved by the Planning Board, application must be made to the Planning Board, and all the requirements of this chapter shall be applicable.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any property owner applying for a building permit and not subject to the provisions of Subsection B, C or D hereinabove, approval of which would require the removal of any tree(s) on said property, shall make application to the Tree Commission, who shall have sole jurisdiction regarding the proposed removal of such trees. The Tree Commission may grant or deny such application on such terms and conditions as it may prescribe, including but not limited to the planting of new trees or other forms of landscaping.
The Board of Trustees shall create a Tree Commission which shall consist of seven members, including the Building Inspector, the Department of Public Works General Foreman, the Tree Warden, a member from the Environmental Advisory Council and three members selected from the residents of the Village of Tarrytown. A quorum shall consist of at least three members present. There shall be a liaison between the Tree Commission and the Planning Board. The Board of Trustees shall also select a Chairperson for the Commission who shall serve as liaison to the Village Administrator. The Chairperson shall be responsible for communicating to all departments.
The voluntary members of the Tree Commission, excluding the Tree Warden, shall serve for three-year terms, such terms to be on a staggered basis. The members of the Commission shall receive no compensation for their services as members but may, in the discretion of the Board of Trustees, be permitted the necessary and actual expenses which shall be incurred in the performance of duties under this chapter.
All determinations and decisions made by the Tree Commission shall be by a majority vote. The Commission is hereby authorized and empowered to obtain the assistance, when necessary, of persons especially qualified by reason of training or experience in tree planting, preservation and landscaping. Should the Commission seek assistance, based upon an appeal permitted under § 281-11 of this chapter, all costs thereof shall be borne by the party seeking said appeal. Assistance requested by the Commission not related to the appeal process shall be borne by the Village.
The Tree Commission shall meet, at a minimum, on a monthly basis. Said meetings shall be regularly scheduled and advertised on the Village Calendar. At the meeting, the Commission shall review the tree permits that are pending, have been issued and denied by the Tree Warden, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board. The Tree Commission shall review site plan/zoning variance applications currently pending before either the Zoning Board of Appeals and/or the Planning Board and issue recommendations to either Board with respect to any aspect of said application that may impact trees, shrubs and/or related plantings. The Commission shall also hear any appeals based upon the denial of a permit by the Tree Warden. The Commission may have regular meetings or on a more frequent basis. A special meeting may be convened should either the Chairperson or two other members of the Commission deem such a meeting to be necessary.
The Tree Commission reserves the right to refuse permits for tree destruction if it feels that the best interests of the public are not served by the proposed development. It may further revoke any permit if the work is not proceeding according to permit and in an orderly and diligent manner.
No person shall, without first securing a written permit from the Tree Warden, cause any wire or insulator or any device for the holding of any electric wire to be attached to any tree in any street, park or other public place, or cause any wire or other conductor charged with electricity to come in contact with any such tree, or place or maintain any pole or post in such a manner as to interfere with any tree or shrub in any street, park or other public area.
No person shall fasten or tie any animal to or attach any sign, bill, card, notice or any advertisement to any tree or shrub in any street, park or other public place or allow any animal under his/her control to injure any such tree or shrub.
No person shall place or maintain on the ground in any street, park or other public place any stone, excess soil or other substance in such manner as may obstruct the free access of air or water to the roots of any tree without first obtaining a written permit from the Tree Warden.
No person shall cause brine, oil, gas, gasoline, liquid dye or other substance deleterious to tree life to pass onto or into the soil about the roots of any tree in any street, park or other public place.
Trees standing on any lot or land adjacent to any public street or place and having branches projecting into the public street or place shall be kept trimmed by the owner or owners or occupant of the property on which such trees are growing so that the lowest branches shall not be less than 15 feet from the roadbed and not less than eight feet from the sidewalk level. The Tree Warden may, however, allow newly planted trees to remain untrimmed, provided that they do not interfere with persons using the sidewalk or obstruct the light of any streetlight or traffic signal.
Topping of trees is to be avoided. Topping of any tree exceeding four inches in diameter at a height of four feet six inches measured from the ground, on any property, shall require a tree permit. The permit may be issued by the Tree Commission if there is sufficient evidence that failure to top the tree would pose significant danger in terms of safety or property damage.
Thinning of a tree canopy to create views known as peek-a-boos is permitted, provided the percentage of thinning does not exceed 25% of the overall canopy. No thinning shall occur in the upper or lower 25% of the tree canopy. "Peek-a-boos" are defined as the creation of a series of windows within a tree canopy to provide a vista without impacting the overall health and aesthetic value of the tree. The thinning (pruning) occurs only in the middle 50% of the tree. Only minor branches are pruned. This method of vista pruning lasts three to four times longer than topping (approximately 10 years versus three years for topping).
Hedges, bushes, shrubs, flowers or other growing plants shall be kept trimmed so as not to obscure the vision of motorists approaching the intersection. The owner or owners of property shall keep all hedges, bushes, shrubs, flowers or other growing plants trimmed so as not to impede pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks of the Village.
Any tree or shrub that is growing on private property and that is endangering or in any way may endanger the security or usefulness of a public street, public sewer or other public place or that is diseased shall be considered a public nuisance.
In case the owner or owners or the occupant or occupants shall neglect or refuse to trim such tree or trees, hedges, bushes, shrubs, flowers or other growing plants after being notified, in writing, by the Village, the Village shall have the right, after one week from the date of such written notice, to cause the trimming to be done and to charge the expense thereof against the land on which said trees, hedges, bushes, shrubs, flowers or other growing plants are located. This section shall not preclude the Village from enforcing the penalty clause in § 281-15 of this chapter.
Permits for the removal of trees may be granted under the following circumstances:
If the presence of the tree would cause hardship or endanger the public or the person or the property of the owner.
Properties anticipated for or under zoning or planning review shall be schematically approved by required zoning or planning agencies prior to submission to the Tree Warden. Where intensive cutting of trees and shrubbery is planned, the Village Landscape Consultant may require an overall landscape design that includes an arrangement of specimen ornamental, flowering and/or evergreen trees, and trees which will grow tall in time. The expense of such an arrangement would be at least equivalent to the estimated value of the existing trees to be removed, as determined by the Village's replacement cost method.
Trees on property to be occupied by buildings or structures within a distance of 10 feet around the perimeter of such building or structure, depending upon tree species and conditions to be determined by the Tree Warden and/or Landscape Architectural Consultant. However, in proper instances, the Tree Warden may recommend to the Planning Board proposed buildings or structures to be relocated or removed from a building plan in order to save an important tree or trees.
If the trees substantially interfere with a permitted use of the property, the removal of the trees shall be performed in a selective manner, as determined by the Tree Warden.
The determination of the Tree Warden shall be final but subject to appeal and shall depend upon the species of the tree, the degree of injury and the likelihood of the survival of the tree, economical considerations of land use and consideration of the general welfare and the overall environment of the area, except that it shall be subject to such review as authorized hereinbelow.
In the event that the General Foreman determines that a tree or trees are hazardous to life or property, the General Foreman shall have the right to grant immediate approval for the removal of said tree or trees, waiving all notices as required under this chapter. In the event that such approval is granted, the General Foreman or Tree Commission, subsequent to the cutting of said tree or trees, shall have the authority to require complete compliance with all other provisions of this chapter as applicable thereto.
All applications for site plan review shall be made in writing upon forms prescribed by the General Foreman, Tree Warden or Landscape Architectural Consultant.
For all applications, the site plan review process requires the following, the Tree Warden and/or Landscape Architectural Consultant may require the applicant to submit plans showing existing and proposed contours at two-foot intervals on a map or plan at a scale no smaller than one inch equals 20 feet. Where trees are to be removed or destroyed, existing trees, specifying types, sizes, and condition, shall be shown and the reasons for removing or destroying said trees shall be set forth. The site plans must identify, classify and evaluate all existing trees within the site disturbance area and up to 50 feet beyond the site disturbance area. The plans must provide for new trees to be planted and specify their location and type to replace the existing trees in kind. When the existing trees are so large and matured that they cannot be replaced, the Tree Warden and/or Landscape Architectural Consultant may recommend to the Planning Board the required planting of multiple trees or a monetary contribution to the Village Tree Fund instead.
The General Foreman, Tree Warden and/or Landscape Architectural Consultant may require the site plan applicant to provide a tree value appraisal for any tree, to be preserved within the site disturbance area and up to 50 feet beyond the site disturbance area, greater than four-inch-diameter base height according to the latest edition of the Guide for Plant Appraisal by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers and published by the International Society of Arboriculture, Champaign, Illinois.
The General Foreman, Tree Warden and/or Landscape Architectural Consultant may require the site plan applicant to provide a comparative tree replacement chart specifying the total quantity of diameter base height trees to be removed versus the total caliper size of trees to be planted.
The General Foreman, Tree Warden and/or Landscape Architectural Consultant may require additional site plan information such as the design of walls, disposition and design of storm drainage and any information pertinent to the individual circumstances.
Where extensive tree cutting is planned, the Tree Warden may recommend to the Planning Board to require the site plan applicant to pay for a licensed professional inspector to supervise the orderly development of the land and ensure the protection of the trees. Said inspector may be recommended by the Tree Warden.
The General Foreman, Tree Warden or Landscape Architectural Consultant may recommend the Planning Board to require that the site plan applicant furnish the Village with a performance bond as approved by the Village Attorney in an amount sufficient to cover 90% of the tree preservation, planting and restoration work to be completed in accordance with the plans accompanying all applications. The remaining 10% of the cost of tree preservation, restoration and replanting shall be in cash and deposited by the applicant in a special tree preservation escrow account maintained by the village. The total amount of the bond and cash deposit shall reflect all tree preservation, restoration and protection costs and shall be in accordance with each set of individual circumstances. Upon completion of all planting and restoration work to the satisfaction of the Tree Warden, the performance bond shall be canceled and replaced with a maintenance bond to be approved by the Village Attorney and to run for a term to be fixed by the Tree Warden, but in no case for a period longer than two years. The 10% cash in escrow shall remain on deposit with the village until the maintenance bond is canceled.
The Tree Warden, within 20 business days from the date the site plan application is submitted in final form, shall notify the applicant of his intent to approve the application or shall disapprove the application for permit. No trees shall be cut for a period of 20 business days from the date of the issuance of said notice.
All decisions or determinations made by the Tree Warden approving applications pursuant to this chapter shall be sent to adjoining property owners and to the Environmental Advisory Committee.
Any person aggrieved, affected, or interested in the determination or decision of the General Foreman or Tree Warden shall have the right, within 10 days from receipt of the decision of the General Foreman or Tree Warden, to appeal to the Village Board of Trustees for existing properties and to the Planning Board for proposed development, which shall review the decision. Any decision or determination of the General Foreman or Tree Warden that is appealed to the Village Board of Trustees or Planning Board shall be stayed pending review by the Village Board of Trustees or Planning Board. Any determination made by the General Foreman or Tree Warden can be reversed, affirmed or modified by the Planning Board and/or Village Board of Trustees; furthermore, the Planning Board and/or Village Board of Trustees may review and/or amend any decision of the General Foreman or Tree Warden or Tree Commission.
The General Foreman or Tree Warden and/or Landscape Architectural Consultant has the right to refuse permits for tree destruction if he feels that the best interests of the public are not served by the proposed destruction. The General Foreman or Tree Warden and/or Landscape Architectural Consultant may further revoke any permit if the work is not proceeding according to permit and in an orderly and diligent manner.
The cost of the tree permit application shall be set by the Village Board.
All persons who remove or cause to be removed trees, with or without a permit, as required, shall restore the area by backfilling all holes and by creating an acceptable grade and covering. Any tree damaged/removed during construction or development of the property shall be either replaced in kind, or, where existing trees are so large and mature that they cannot be replaced, the Tree Commission may require the planting of multiple trees or may assess the value of the destroyed trees per § 281-11D(3), said value to be paid to the Village Tree Fund. Minor tree damage shall be repaired in accordance with accepted tree surgery practice.
Tree stumps shall be removed, or ground down, not cut flush. A property owner may appeal the tree stump removal requirement of this section to the Tree Commission. After the planting of trees, removal of all debris in the undisturbed area shall be made immediately. The property where such planting is done must be left in a neat and orderly condition, in accordance with good and acceptable planting and tree surgery practice.
All trees which fail to survive for a period of two years following planting shall be replaced by the permit holder at no expense to the Village or the owner of the land, if other than the permit holder. Said replacement shall be within 60 days following written demand for such replacement from the Tree Commission or within an extended period of time as may be specified.
Upon proof by the person seeking a tree permit that compliance with the requirements of this chapter in terms of planting of trees in replacement of those destroyed and for purposes of screening is not feasible on the property, in whole or in part, the Tree Commission may approve the payment by the person of a sum or sums equivalent to the value of the trees destroyed, according to generally accepted standards in the landscaping/landscape architecture profession (i.e., International Society of Arboriculture Guidelines), to be paid to the Village Tree Fund, which shall be held for the sole purpose of planting and maintaining of trees on public land in the Village in accordance with this chapter. Disbursement of moneys in the Village Tree Fund shall be based upon the direction of the Tree Commission.
All trees are protected in the Village according to the foregoing legislation. Specimen tree species of any size designated as "specimen" may not be removed unless the Tree Commission determines, because of their condition, that they are a danger to persons or property or that they are diseased and cannot be saved. The following trees are further protected and shall be double value for appraisal purposes:
This chapter shall be enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer of the Village of Tarrytown except where such enforcement is vested with the Highway Superintendent by the laws of the State of New York.
[Amended 9-2-2008 by L.L. No. 13-2008]
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and shall be fined the greater of $500 or the replacement cost of any tree(s) improperly removed pursuant to this chapter and/or imprisoned not to exceed 15 days. Each day the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense. The replacement cost shall be calculated based upon the cost to replace the removed or damaged tree(s) with tree(s) having the same characteristics and species. The replacement cost method will include the cost of tree installation and utilize the usual and customary guidelines of the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers (as noted in the Guide to Plant Appraisal, 9th Edition or similar manual) and/or the American Nursery and Landscape Association, the American Society of Consulting Arborists, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, the International Society of Arboriculture, and the National Arborist Association.
In addition thereto, any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty enforceable and collectible by the Village in the amount of $200 each day the violation continues for every tree.