[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the Borough of Punxsutawney as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted by Secs. 23-142 and 23-144 through 23-162 of the 1974 Code]
The following words and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings hereby ascribed to them, except in those instances where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- The Shade Tree Commission of the Borough.
- Any permit, in writing, as issued by the Secretary to the Shade Tree Commission.
- PUBLIC HIGHWAY
- Any street, sidewalk or alley open to the public.
- The Borough Secretary in his capacity as Secretary to the Shade Tree Commission.
- SHADE TREE
- Any tree, shrub or other woody plant, the center line of the base of which is within eight feet of any public highway in the Borough, or that part of any tree, shrub or other woody plant which extends within the lines of any public highway.
The Commission shall have exclusive custody and control of the shade trees in the Borough and is authorized to plant, maintain and protect shade trees on the public highways in the Borough.
[Amended 8-31-1987 by Ord. No. 943]
No person shall plant any shade tree in the Borough until a permit therefor is granted, such permit to designate where such tree is to be planted.
The application for any permit required by § 199-3 shall be made, in writing, to the Secretary. It shall specify the particular kind of work or operation the applicant desires to perform thereunder and shall state the exact location and the species of any tree affected.
It shall be the duty of the Secretary to submit every application for a permit required by § 199-3 promptly to the Commission for approval or disapproval.
The Commission, in its discretion, may, as a condition precedent to the issuance of the permit required by § 199-3, require the applicant to file a bond satisfactory to the Commission or to deposit security satisfactory to it to guarantee the compliance by the applicant with the terms and conditions upon which such permit is issued.
The Commission may refuse a permit required by § 199-3 to plant any species of tree which, in its opinion, is not suited to the location.
The permit required by § 199-3 shall be effective for such length of time as the Commission shall, in each case, determine, and such time shall be indicated on the permit.
Any permit required by § 199-3 may be revoked at any time upon proof satisfactory to the Commission that any of the terms or conditions upon which such permit was issued are being or have been violated.
All shade trees planted in and among any of the public highways in the Borough shall be set so as to form, as nearly as possible, a straight and uniform line with the other shade trees growing upon the same highway. Said trees shall be planted or set from 25 to 30 feet apart, where practicable, and shall be sound, straight and symmetrical. Every such tree shall be planted in a pit three feet square filled with good topsoil otherwise enriched and shall have an open space of ground outside the trunk of said tree with an area, where practicable, of not less than four feet square for the free entrance of water and air to the roots thereof. In order to secure uniformity and best results, all shade trees hereafter planted in or along any of the public highways in the Borough shall be trees known as Quercus palustris (pin oak), Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak), Acer platanoides (Norway maple) and Acer saccharum (sugar maple), except when and where otherwise authorized by the Commission.
All shade trees shall be kept trimmed by the owner of the property on or in front of which they are located:
So as not to interfere with the proper lighting of public highways by the streetlights.
So that the minimum clearance of any public highway of any overhanging portion thereof shall be 11 feet, provided that the Commission shall have the authority to designate a higher clearance on any public highway where heavy traffic or other conditions make it expedient.
If any property owner shall neglect or refuse to trim any shade tree as required by § 199-11, upon notice, in writing, by the Commission, within the time limit specified in such notice, the Commission may cause such trimming to be done at the expense of such owner, and the entire cost thereof shall be a lien upon said 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.
No person shall, without first obtaining a permit therefor, cut, break, climb with spurs, injure in any manner or remove any shade tree or cut down or interfere in any way with the main roots of any shade tree or spray any shade tree with any chemical or insecticide or place any rope, guy wire, cable, sign, poster or any other fixture on any shade tree or guard for any shade tree or injure, misuse or remove any device placed to protect any shade tree, except in case of immediate necessity for the protection of life and property.
No person shall, without first obtaining a permit, place or hereafter maintain any stone, cement or any other substance which shall impede the passage of water and air to the roots of any shade tree unless such person shall have an open space of ground surrounding the trunk of such tree, such space to be not less than four feet square.
In connection with any building operation or the performance of any work whatsoever in the Borough in the vicinity of any shade tree, before any work shall be commenced, guards shall be placed at all shade trees which might be affected by such work so effectually to prevent injury to them.
No person shall pour salt water, oil or any other material at any place in such a manner that injury might result to any shade tree.
No person shall, without first having obtained a permit therefor, attach any electric wire, insulator or any device for the holding of an electric wire to any shade tree.
Every person having any wire charged with electricity running along or through a public highway shall securely fasten such wire or place an adequate shield thereon so that such wire shall not come into contact with any shade tree so as not to injure the same.
Whenever, in order to take down or prune any shade tree in any public highway or having branches extending over any public highway, it shall be deemed necessary to remove any wire running through or along such public highway, the owner of such wire shall temporarily remove the same or cut off the flow of current therefrom within 24 hours after service of written notice from the Commission to do so.
The provisions of this article shall be enforced by the Commission in conjunction with the Mayor and the Borough police.
[Added 8-31-1987 by Ord. No. 943]
Any person violating any provision of this article, upon conviction before the District Justice, shall be guilty of a summary offense and shall be subject to pay a fine not less than $25 nor to exceed the maximum fine of $300, plus costs of prosecution, or to undergo imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both. Each 30 days that such conditions exist shall constitute a separate offense.
[Adopted 7-6-1976 by Ord. No. 819]
Trees situated within the boundary limits of the Borough of Punxsutawney shall not be permitted to exist and/or be maintained such that they are dead, partially dead or decaying in either root, trunk, branch or limb.
If any property owner shall neglect or otherwise refuse to remove any tree, branch or limb which is dead and constituting a public safety hazard, the property owner shall be notified, in writing, by the Shade Tree Commission of the existing condition, and, if said condition is not corrected within the time limit specified in such notice, the Commission may cause such trimming or complete removal of the affected tree or limb to be done at the expense of such owner, and the entire cost thereof shall be a lien upon said 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.
Every owner of the premises and other parties in direct interest shall have the right to demand, in writing, a hearing before the Shade Tree Commission to contest any decision or order made. Such demand for a hearing shall be signed by the contesting party, stating what portions of the Shade Tree Commission decision or orders are contested and his, her or their interest in the premises.
The Shade Tree Commission shall fix a name and a place for the hearing, not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after receiving such demand for a hearing, and cause a notice of the hearing to be served, personally or by certified mail, on the contestant owner of the premises and other parties in interest.
The contestant owner of the premises and other parties in interest shall have the right to appear in person or otherwise and give testimony at a hearing, and the rules of evidence prevailing in the courts shall not be controlling.
The Shade Tree Commission, within a reasonable time after such hearing and not exceeding 30 days, shall make its decision, in writing, with a finding of the facts and the reasons for its decision, and serve a copy of its decision, personally or by certified mail, on the contestant owner of the premises and other parties in interest.
[Amended 8-31-1987 by Ord. No. 943]
Any person violating any provision of this article, upon conviction before the District Justice, shall be guilty of a summary offense and shall be subject to pay a fine not less than $25 nor to exceed the maximum fine of $300, plus costs of prosecution, or to undergo imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both. Each 30 days that such conditions are permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense.