§ 218-1Purpose; statutory authority.
§ 218-3Impairment and/or destruction prohibited.
§ 218-4Official tree.
§ 218-6Application and issuance of permit.
§ 218-7Penalties for offenses.
The vital environmental function which trees serve within the ecological structure is well recognized. Trees are recognized to provide various benefits to the environment, including the stabilization and preservation of the soil, the absorption of air pollutants and the provision of oxygen, and further provide natural barriers to noise and habitats for wildlife, while maintaining and offering an intrinsic aesthetic quality. The destruction or removal of trees deprives all sectors of society of these benefits, while disrupting the ecological systems of which they are an integral part. Moreover, certain trees are especially significant due to their age, size, location, historical setting and species, amongst other factors. One such tree known to the Town to be especially significant is an American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) located on Browns Road and which may be designated as the state champion American sycamore. Thus, it is the intent of the Town Board of the Town of Montgomery in enacting this chapter to regulate the alteration, impairment, destruction and removal of certain trees to secure these various benefits for the present and future inhabitants of the Town of Montgomery.
This chapter is enacted pursuant to the general police power of the Town of Montgomery and pursuant to § 96-b of the General Municipal Law entitled "Tree Preservation."
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms and phrases shall be given the meanings stated herein:
- The owner of real property or his duly authorized agent seeking a permit to alter or remove a tree as defined by this chapter or perform any substantial physical alteration to the existing terrain within the dripline of any such tree which is subject to the provisions of this chapter.
- Any individual, firm, partnership, entity, association, corporation, company, public utility or municipal corporation.
- TOWN BOARD
- The Town Board of the Town of Montgomery.
- A living, perennial, woody plant, including its branches, its root
system and its trunk, which tree shall be within 30 points of the point score
for the state champion tree for the particular species involved as ascertained
by a qualified forester with reference to the list of Big Trees of New York
State as set forth in Section 11 of this chapterEditor's Note: Original Section 11 of this chapter lists big trees in New York State and is on file for public inspection in the office of the Town Clerk.
No person shall destroy or cause any act which might reasonably be expected to destroy or impair the health and characteristics or commit any act which causes the destruction or cessation of life functions of any tree as defined by this chapter, including, without limitation, the substantial alteration or any excavation of the terrain within the dripline of any such tree without first having obtained a permit issued therefor as prescribed by this chapter.
The Town Board of the Town of Montgomery hereby designates the aforesaid American sycamore tree located at Browns Road to be the Official Tree of the Town of Montgomery. Nothing herein contained, however, should be construed to limit the application of the provisions of this chapter to this tree only.
This chapter shall be administered by the Town Board, which shall have the authority to promulgate rules and regulations for the effective administration of this chapter consistent with the legislative intent of this chapter. The Town Board also shall have the authority to delegate, by resolution, the administration of this chapter to appropriate municipal officials, boards or commissions as now existing or as may be created in the future.
Every applicant for a permit required by this chapter shall submit a written application to the Town Board or its duly authorized delegate, which application shall include but not be limited to the following information:
The name and address of the applicant and owner, if not the same, together with an identification of the tree and a summary of its physical characteristics.
The purpose and extent of the proposed tree removal, alteration or disturbance.
A sketch of the site of the proposed tree removal, alteration or disturbance with reference to existing structures, roadways and other significant features of the area within the vicinity of the tree.
A certification from a licensed arborist setting forth the basis for the proposed removal, alteration or disturbance, and, if the application requests a permit to alter or disturb the tree and/or the ground area contained within the dripline, the certification shall set forth the opinion of the arborist as to the effect of such alteration or disturbance on the overall health of the tree after the requested action has been completed.
In acting upon the application, the Town Board or its delegate shall take into account the following considerations:
The location, size, type, historical setting and age of the tree to be removed, altered or disturbed.
The condition of the tree with respect to disease and potential for creating hazardous conditions.
The proximity of the tree to existing or proposed structure and utility appurtenances.
The necessity of the removal, alteration or disturbance for the proposed project.
The environmental effect of the removal, alteration or disturbance.
Any of the considerations enumerated in the legislative intent of this chapter.
The Town Board or its duly authorized delegate shall advise the applicant, in writing, within 45 days of its receipt of a completed application, of its decision on the application and, upon the favorable determination of such application, issue a permit therefor. The issuance of any such permit may be conditioned upon the performance of certain enumerated conditions and may be subject to the posting by the applicant of a performance bond for a stated amount and for a stated duration, if the Town Board deems that the particular facts of the application warrant the same.
Criminal penalties. Any person who violates the provisions of the chapter or who destroys, impairs or removes any tree in a manner inconsistent with any such permit which may have been granted pursuant to this chapter shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or by imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Civil penalties. In addition to any criminal penalties which may be imposed pursuant to Subsection A, any person who violates any provision of this chapter may be ordered to restore the premises and/or trees damaged by the unlawful destruction, impairment, disturbance or removal of such tree or trees to such suitable conditions as the Town Board may require. In the event that such person refuses or fails to restore the real property to a condition ordered by the Town Board or its delegate, the Town Board may proceed in a court of competent jurisdiction for an order directing such person to restore such real property in conformity with the requirements of the Town Board or its delegate to accomplish the purpose and intent of this chapter. In the event that the Town of Montgomery is compelled to restore such real property, the violator shall be liable for all costs incurred incidental to such remedial efforts and restoration.
Any person with standing who is aggrieved by the final decision of the Town Board or any duly authorized delegate of the Town Board with respect to any matter contained in this chapter may commence a proceeding pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules, Article 78, in a court of competent jurisdiction within 30 days of the date the final decision is filed with the office of the Town Clerk of the Town of Montgomery.