[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Butler 2-19-1987 as Part 1, Title 7, Art. 165, of the 1987 Codified Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
There is hereby established a Commission consisting of seven residents of the City to be known as the "Shade Tree Commission" under the provisions of 53 P.S. § 38801 et seq.
The Mayor is hereby authorized and directed to appoint seven residents of the City as Commissioners, three of whom shall serve for a term of three years, two of whom shall serve for a term of two years and two of whom shall serve for a term of one year. Successors to the original appointments to the Commission shall serve for terms of three years.
The Shade Tree Commission shall have full custody and control of the shade trees and other plant materials, grass excepted, within the rights-of-way of public streets and highways and in all public areas within the City limits, including trees and shrubs on private properties, insofar as their limbs and branches may overhang public streets, highways and other public areas.
The Shade Tree Commission, with the approval of Council, shall have the power to amend any of the rules and regulations as set forth in this chapter if, in the opinion of the Commission, public policy or arboricultural requirements shall indicate the advisability of making a change or changes from these established rules.
It shall be the policy of the Shade Tree Commission to cooperate with the public and property owners insofar as possible at all times, and no planting or removal of any plant materials of a public nature shall be undertaken without notifying the property owners in advance. This shall not include such minor items of work as pruning, bracing, bolting or spraying, which may be of a seasonal nature or which may be done by reason of immediate danger to the safety of the public or for proper protection of the trees or shrubs.
No person, firm or corporation shall, without a permit issued by the City Clerk, prune, bolt, spray, brace or paint or remove any tree, shrub or evergreen from within the limits of any public right-of-way, street, highway, park, parkway or public playground within the City limits, nor shall they interfere with the main roots in any way, nor place or affix any poster or any other fixture on any tree or tree guard, shrub or evergreen, so located, nor remove any device placed to protect same, nor shall they park an automobile nor pile any harsh or heavy materials against, nor shall they hang anything from any tree, shrub or evergreen within the limits of any public right-of-way, street, highway, parkway or public playground within the City limits.
No person, firm or corporation shall place or hereafter maintain upon the ground within the right-of-way of any public street, lane, alley, park or public playground, any stone, concrete, brick, mastic paving, gravel or any other substance which might impede the free passage of air and water to the roots of any tree, shrub or evergreen without leaving a clear space of at least eight square feet surrounding the trunk of the tree or evergreen or the base of any shrub.
Any person, firm or corporation or its agents or representatives in charge of the erection, repair or demolition of any structure or the excavation for the same, where trees, shrubs or evergreens within the public rights-of-way, streets, highways, parks, parkways or public playgrounds within the City limits might be affected, shall not proceed with such work until they have placed adequate guards around all trees, shrubs or evergreens that may be so affected.
Any person, firm or employee of any corporation, who shall injure in any manner any living tree, shrub or evergreen or ground cover, grass excepted, within the public rights-of-way, streets, highways or any public property within the City limits, shall be liable for damages and penalties as set forth in § 220-22.
No person, firm or corporation or its agents or representatives shall maintain any trees, shrubs or evergreens overhanging the traveled or used portion of any public rights-of-way, streets or highways, unless the same shall have an adequate clearance, wet or dry, to permit pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic. The Shade Tree Commission shall have the right to designate, from time to time, what shall constitute an adequate clearance wherever the condition of the site shall warrant a specific clearance for public safety or convenience.
[Amended 5-23-2002 by Ord. No. 1519]
The Code Enforcement Officer may require the owner or occupant of property having any shade trees, shrubs or evergreens which are or which appear to threaten to be a public nuisance or danger to children, traffic or the public, to remove or prune the same so as to abate the actual or threatened nuisance or dangerous condition and, on failure of the property owner or occupant to do so after reasonable notice, the Code Enforcement Officer may cause the same to be done with percentage and costs added as hereinafter provided.
Only such trees or other items of plant material shall be removed from the public rights-of-way, streets, highways or from public property as shall be considered by the Shade Tree Commission to constitute a definite hazard to life or property, a public nuisance or a definite threat to the uninterrupted service of the public utilities within the City or because of a change or revision in the planting plans for the City trees.
Only such trees shall be planted as shall meet with the approval of the Shade Tree Commission from the standpoints of good appearance, longevity, freedom from insect and other diseases or trees of exceptional value in particular locations within the City. Where entire street blocks are to be planted, only one species shall be planted in any one given block unless the Shade Tree Commission shall have reason to grant a variance from this rule. No Carolina poplars, willows or catalpas shall be planted in the right-of-way of any street or highway in the City.
All trees to be planted within the public rights-of-way, streets, highways or upon public property within the City, shall not be less than one and one-half (1 1/2) inches in diameter, six inches above the ground, and at least 10 feet in height unless specifically specified otherwise by the Shade Tree Commission for use in some particular location where a smaller or balled type of tree may be advisable.
All such trees shall have straight trunks, well-developed leaders, tops and roots characteristic of the species or variety to be planted, and all stock shall have been grown north of Washington, D.C., free from all diseases and insect pests or mechanical injuries and any other objectionable features. Bottom branches shall be seven feet above the ground unless otherwise specified by the Commission.
All trees in public streets and highways of the City shall be planted in the center of the strip between the curb and the sidewalk, unless otherwise specified or allowed by the Shade Tree Commission, and shall be spaced at least 30 feet apart for such trees as hawthorns, dogwoods, flowering apples or cherries or other trees which do not grow to a normal height of over 30 feet. All trees growing to a normal height of 40 feet or over shall have a minimum spacing of at least 40 feet and preferably 60 feet if conditions will allow.
All trees, unless directed otherwise by the Shade Tree Commission, shall be planted in holes at least three feet in diameter, whatever space will allow, and the holes shall have a minimum depth of 30 inches with extra side drainage from the bottom in the case of poorly drained or very hard soil areas. At least one-half (1/2) new topsoil shall be provided together with three shovels full of peat moss.
All work in connection with planting, pruning, spraying, bolting or painting shall be done and performed in accordance with best accepted arboricultural or horticultural practice, including sterilization of shears, pruning saws, etc., after being used on diseased trees.
When trees are removed they shall be cut as close to the ground as conditions will permit with a power saw and all stumps shall be treated immediately with an approved root and stump destroyer.
The foregoing provisions of this chapter shall not apply where they materially interfere with lawful and public improvements, maintenance or repair of public playgrounds by the City, its authorized agents and employees or by the county, state and federal governments.
No person, firm or corporation nor any employee thereof shall be employed by the City or its Shade Tree Commission in connection with any of the work covered or contemplated under the provisions of this chapter unless he, she, it or they have furnished to the City Clerk proof of carriage of satisfactory workmen's compensation insurance so as to afford proper protection to the City and the Commission.
Any person, firm or corporation or employee thereof granted a permit to remove, spray, bolt, brace or prune any tree, shrub, evergreen or ground cover, grass excepted, within the public rights-of-way or on public property within the City shall post a bond or furnish evidence of the same to the City Clerk in an amount and form to be approved by him or the Mayor, or shall have taken out or take out and maintain satisfactory public liability and property damage insurance as follows:
Public liability insurance in the amount of $500,000 for injuries including accidental death to any one person and subject to the same limit for each person in the amount of not less than $1,000,000 on account of one accident.
Property damage insurance in an amount of not less than $100,000 to any one property and subject to the same limit for each property in an amount of not less than $300,000 aggregate for one accident.
The provisions of this chapter may be waived by the City Clerk as far as the bond and insurance are concerned if and when the City Clerk decides that the work to be performed is not likely to be of any foreseeable injury of a bodily nature to the public or to public or private property, but any person operating under such waiver must furnish evidence to the City Clerk that he or she carries full public and comprehensive liability of a reasonable nature as well as workmen's compensation and he or she shall waive all rights for compensation or damages by the City.
Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction by summary conviction or by proceedings by summons before any District Justice, be fined not more than $300 for any single violation of this chapter and, in default of payment thereof, shall be imprisoned for not more than 30 days, or the City may elect to collect such judgments and costs by execution or other process as provided by law. In lieu of or in addition to the penalty hereinabove provided, the City, at its option, may require the person, firm or corporation so injuring or removing any trees, shrubs or evergreens, in violation of this chapter, to cause the same to be replaced or the damage caused thereby corrected and, in default thereof, may cause the replacement or correction to be made or done and all costs thereof to be collected by suit in assumpsit or the filing of a lien with record costs and percentage added as provided by law.