[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Catasauqua 10-4-1999 by Ord. No. 1104 (Ch. XXI, Part 1, of the 1962 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Borough of Catasauqua.
- The Shade Tree Commission of the Borough of Catasauqua.
- A written notification to any person from the Commission to plant, prune, remove or otherwise take action with respect to a shade tree.
- PARK TREES
- Trees, shrubs, bushes and all other woody vegetation in public parks having individual names and all areas owned by the Borough or to which the public has free access as a park.
- Written permission to any person from the Commission to perform some act with respect to a shade tree.
- Refers to any natural person, firm, unincorporated association, partnership or corporation.
- PUBLIC HIGHWAY
- Includes the vehicular cartway and the right-of-way attendant thereto.
- STREET AND/OR SHADE TREE
- Trees, shrubs, bushes and all other woody vegetation on land lying in the Borough right-of-way lines on either side of all streets, avenues, alleys or ways within the Borough of Catasauqua.
There is hereby created and established a Shade Tree Commission for the Borough of Catasauqua, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which shall consist of three members, citizens and residents of the Borough, who shall be appointed by the Borough Council.
As of passage of this subsection, the Shade Tree Commission is increased to consist of five members, citizens and residents of the Borough, who shall be appointed by Borough Council.
[Added 6-2-2014 by Ord. No. 1301]
[Amended 6-2-2014 by Ord. No. 1301]
The term of the three persons appointed to the Commission shall be for five years. With the increase in the membership of the Commission from three members to five members, in 2014, the term of the first new appointee (fourth member) shall be for a term expiring June 1, 2019. The term of the second appointee (fifth member) shall be for a term expiring June 1, 2016. Since the Commission is already in existence and under prior ordinances, the terms of the members were for a period of three years, the next member's term to expire shall be reappointed for a term of three years, the succeeding member shall be appointed for a term of four years, and thereafter, the Commissioner shall be appointed for a term of five years. On the expiration of the term of any Commissioner, a successor shall be appointed by Council to serve for a term of five years. Any vacancies in office of the Commissioner shall be filled by Council for the unexpired term.
Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation.
The Commission shall have the exclusive custody and control of the shade trees in the Borough, and is hereby authorized to plant, remove, maintain and protect shade trees on the streets and highways in the Borough. The Commission shall also have authority as hereinafter set forth concerning park trees.
It shall be the responsibility of the Commission to study, investigate, counsel and develop and/or update annually, 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. Such plan will be presented annually to the Borough Council and upon their acceptance and approval shall constitute the official comprehensive Borough tree plan for the Borough of Catasauqua, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The Commission, when requested by Borough Council, shall consider, investigate, make findings, report and recommend upon any special matter of question coming within the scope of its work.
The Commission shall choose its own officers, make its own administrative rules and regulations and keep "minutes" of its proceedings. A majority of the members shall be a quorum for the transaction of business
No person shall plant, prune or remove a street/park tree without first obtaining a permit from the Shade Tree Commission. The permit shall state the species of the tree to be pruned, removed or planted and its location.
No person shall destroy, break, cut, scrape, paint, whitewash or in any way deface, injure or interfere with the roots, trunk, bark, branches, leaves, flowers or fruit of any street/park tree without written permission of the Shade Tree Commission.
No person shall spray or otherwise treat any street/park tree which is infected or infested with any parasite, disease or insect pest with a view to the preservation of the tree from such disease or insects without the permission of the Commission for the work to be done.
All street trees shall be kept trimmed on or over the street, sidewalk and public alley of which they are located in accordance with §§ 245-13, 245-14 and 245-15. Street trees shall be trimmed so that no portion of any growing shrub or other woody plants (i.e., hedges) shall encroach to within 12 inches of any curbline of any property whereat there is no sidewalk or encroach over the sidewalk area where sidewalk has been installed. Any encroachment of over six inches over the sidewalk, or within 12 inches of the curbline where there is no sidewalk, shall constitute a violation of these regulations.
No person shall attach any wire insulator, or other device for holding such wire, or any other item, document, flier or material to any street/park tree. Exception: Newly planted trees may be guyed to provide stability during the first growing season.
All other wires shall be securely fastened so as not to come in contact with said trees or any part thereof, nor shall any person direct or allow their employees to climb said trees without the written permission of the Commission. The use of implements with sharp, penetrating points, i.e., nails, staples, bolts, etc., is positively prohibited.
No person shall cause, authorize or permit any oil, liquid dye or any other substance deleterious to tree life to lie, leak, pour, flow or drop on or into the soil about the base of any street/park tree.
No person shall permit any escape of gas so as to injure any street/park tree. Any gas leak must immediately be repaired in such a manner as to minimize any chance of recurrence.
No tight guards or any other device shall be attached to any street/park tree without the permission of the Commission. No guard or device approved by the Commission and intended for the protection of a street/park tree shall be removed or damaged.
In the erection, alteration, repair or removal of any building or structure, the owner thereof shall be responsible for the placing of such guards around all street/park trees as shall effectually prevent injury to them. No stories, brick, cement or any other building materials shall be placed in any manner which may impede the free passage of air and water to the roots of a street/park tree.
No person shall attach any rope, wire, sign, or other object to any street/park tree guard without the written permission of the Commission.
Any of the regulations outlined above may be waived by the Commission when it is necessary to perform the regulated actions to protect or preserve life or property.
The following list constitutes the official street tree species for the Borough of Catasauqua, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. No species other than those included in this list may be planted as street trees without the written permission of the Commission. A permit must be secured before planting in accordance with § 245-18B of these regulations. The Commission may refuse to issue a permit to plant any species of tree which in its opinion is not suited to the location. This list of trees may be modified by resolution of the Commission.
The Commission shall determine the species size class for each location.
The spacing of street trees will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in § 245-8 of this chapter and no trees may be planted closer together than the following: small trees, 30 feet; medium trees, 40 feet; large trees, 50 feet; 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 § 245-8 of this chapter, and no trees may be planted closer to any curb or sidewalk than the following: small trees, two feet; medium trees, three feet; and large trees, four feet.
No street tree shall be planted closer than 35 feet of any street corner, measured from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curblines except where a stop sign is placed, then no street tree shall be planted closer than 35 feet of any stop sign. No street tree shall be planted closer than 15 feet of any fireplug.
No street trees other than those species listed as small trees per ordinance or resolution may be planted under or within 10 lateral feet of any overhead utility wire, or over or within 10 lateral feet of any underground water line, sewer line, transmission line or other utility.
The Borough 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 insure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds.
The Shade Tree Commission 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, water lines or other public improvements, or is affected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest. This section does not prohibit the planting of street trees by adjacent property owners providing that the selection and location of said trees is in accordance with this chapter.
The Shade Tree Commission may order removal of any tree which has become overgrown and when the base of the trunk reaches the curbline.
It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm or Borough department to top any street tree, park tree, or any 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 section at the determination of the Borough Shade Tree Commission.
The clearance of space between the street and the overhanging branches of the tree shall be 14 feet above the surface of the street continuing completely around the circumference of the tree. Branches shall not obstruct the proper spread of light from any street light or obstruct the view of any sign, traffic control device or street intersection. Dead, broken or decayed limbs must be removed so as not to constitute a menace to the safety of the public. (Newly planted trees will be exempt from height requirements in this section until the tree reaches maturity. Annual pruning may be required at the request and recommendation of the Commission.) The cost and expense of caring for such trees after having been planted (except for removal) shall be borne by the Borough.
The Borough shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased trees on private property within the Borough, when such trees constitute a hazard to life and property, or harbor insects or disease which constitute a potential threat to other trees within the Borough.
The Shade Tree Commission will notify in writing the owners of such trees. Removal shall be done by said owners at their expense within 60 days after the date of service of notice, unless exigent circumstances require removal in a shorter period as determined by the Commission. The above time frames may be extended by the Commission upon request in writing by the owner, setting forth the reasons for the same. In the event of failure of owners to comply with such provisions, the Borough shall have the authority to remove such trees and charge the cost of removal to the property owner in the form of a lien upon the premises, and a claim therefor shall be filed and collected by the Borough Solicitor in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.
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.
Any person receiving a written notice from the Commission to perform any of the actions requested in this chapter must conform to the notice within the time specified on the notice. Failure to comply with the notice will result in the work being done by the Commission at the expense of the person receiving the notice. The entire cost of the work performed shall be a lien upon the premises, and a claim therefor shall be filed and collected by the Borough Solicitor in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.
Applications to the Commission for permission to plant a street tree must state the species and the location of the tree to be planted. The Commission may refuse to issue a permit which in its opinion violates this chapter or is not suited for its location. Issued permits will state the approved species and the approved location of the planting. The Borough will mark the exact location where the tree(s) may be planted according to code. Any violation of any such conditions or limitations shall be a violation of these regulations.
Upon completion of work, the applicant shall fill out the bottom section of the permit and return the stub to the Shade Tree Commission.
There shall be no charge or fee for any of the permits required under these regulations.
Whenever the Shade Tree Commission proposes to plant, transplant or remove shade trees on any street, notice of the time and place of the meeting at which such work is to be considered shall be given in one newspaper of general circulation in the Borough once a week for two weeks immediately preceding the time of the meeting. The notice shall specify in detail the streets or portions upon which the trees are proposed to be planted, replanted or removed.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the Catasauqua Shade Tree Commission, or any of its agents, while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying or removing of any street trees, park trees or trees on private grounds, as authorized in this chapter.
[Amended 11-7-2005 by Ord. No. 1190]
It shall be unlawful for any person or firm to engage in the business or occupation of pruning, treating, or removing street or park trees within the Borough without first applying for and procuring a license. The license fee shall be as set from time to time by resolution of Borough Council; provided, however, that no license shall be required of any public service company or Borough employee doing such work in pursuit of their public service endeavors. Before any license shall be issued, each applicant shall first file evidence of possession of liability insurance in the minimum amounts of $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 property damage indemnifying the Borough or any person injured or damages resulting from the pursuit of such endeavors as herein described.
The Borough Council shall have the right to review the conduct, acts and decisions of the Shade Tree Commission. Any person may appeal from any ruling or order of the Shade Tree Commission to the Borough Council who may hear the matter and make a final decision.
[Amended 4-1-2013 by Ord. No. 1288]
Any person who shall violate any of the forgoing regulations may, upon conviction therefor before the appropriate authority, be sentenced to pay a fine of $50 but not more than $300 for each and every violation and for each tree concerned, and all costs of prosecution, and in addition thereto, or in the alternative, where authorized by the forgoing regulations, charges may be assessed against the owners of property and liens placed against real estate of the offender and collected in the same manner as municipal claims are collected. Any person found guilty of violating an ordinance shall be assessed court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by the Borough in the enforcement proceedings.
In the event of a shade tree being damaged, the Shade Tree Commission may make a charge for treatment to the tree, plus, should the tree be destroyed, all costs for removal and replacement of the tree, against the person causing the damage to the said tree(s). The payment of damages as set forth herein is in addition to the penalties set forth in § 245-22.
The cost of planting, transplanting or removing any shade trees in and along the streets and highways in the Borough, of the necessary and suitable guards, curbing or grading for the protection thereof, and of the replacing of any pavement or sidewalk necessarily disturbed in the execution of such work, shall be paid by the owner of the real estate abutting that on which the work is done, unless the work is done under grant. The amount each owner is to pay shall be ascertained and certified by the Commission to Council and to the Borough Treasurer.
Upon the filing of the certificate with the Council, the Borough Secretary shall cause 30 days' written notice to be given to every person against whose property an assessment has been made. The notice shall state the amount of the assessment, and the time and place of payment, and shall be accompanied with a copy of the certificate. The amount assessed against the real estate shall be a lien from the time of the filing of the certificate with the Council, and if not paid within the time designated in tile notice, a claim may be filed and collected by the Borough Solicitor in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.
These regulations shall be enforced by the following parties: the Shade Tree Commission in conjunction with the Code Enforcement Officer, the Mayor, the Police Department, the Borough Manager and Borough Council.