[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Edgeworth 1-20-1988 by Ord. No. 423. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Council of the Borough hereby elects to exercise all the rights and perform the duties and obligations imposed by Article XXVII of the Borough Code upon the Shade Tree Commission of a Borough or by any provision of this chapter, subject to the provisions of § 95-2 hereof.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 47701 et seq.
The Council may, effective on January 1 of any year, create a Shade Tree Commission ("Commission") and transfer and cede the rights, duties and obligations assumed by the Council in § 95-1 hereof to the Commission. The Commission shall be composed of three residents of the Borough, who shall be appointed by the Council and who shall serve without compensation. In the first year of its establishment, the Commission shall have one member for a term of three years, another for a term of four years and the third member for a term of five years. On the expiration of the term of any Commissioner, a successor shall be appointed for a term of five years. Vacancies in the office of Commissioner shall be filled by the Council for the unexpired term.
It shall be the duty of the Borough Manager, under the direction of the Council, to regulate, protect and preserve the plants, shrubs and trees within the Borough by taking the necessary measures for the control or extermination of Dutch Elm or other disease, including damage by insects or pests, which may injuriously affect the plants, shrubs or trees on public or private property in the Borough. The Borough manager shall have the power to enforce the provisions of this chapter at the direction of the Council or upon the recommendation of the Commission as approved by the Council, as the case may be, and the Borough Manager may appoint or hire any qualified person or firm to assist him/her in any such enforcement.
Power. The Borough Manager or his delegate shall have the power to enter upon any public property within the Borough or any private property within the Borough but outside a public right-of-way, as defined in § 95-5 hereof, and, if necessary, in his opinion, to spray, remove, cut, trim or otherwise treat any plant, shrub or tree afflicted with Dutch Elm or other disease which threatens to injure or destroy plants, shrubs or trees in the Borough. Similarly, the Borough Manager or his delegate may remove, cut or trim any plant, shrub or tree on public property or on such private property to the extent that he/she determines that such plant, shrub or tree constitutes a clear and present danger to public safety. In this regard, the following conditions shall be deemed to be per se clear and present dangers to public safety, although such conditions are not intended to be all-inclusive:
Street. Any plant, shrub or tree overhanging a street or highway and not allowing a vertical clearance of 14 feet above ground constitutes such a condition.
Sidewalk. Any plant, shrub or tree overhanging a public sidewalk and not allowing a vertical clearance of eight feet above ground constitutes such a condition.
Public intersection. Any plant, shrub or tree preventing a clear sight triangle, as defined in Chapter 113, Subdivision and Land Development, constitutes such a condition.
Cost responsibilities. Whenever the Borough Manager determines that the spraying, removal, cutting, trimming or other treatment of any afflicted plant, shrub or tree is necessary and the same is located on public property, he/she or his delegate shall spray, remove, cut, trim or otherwise treat the same at the expense of the Borough. Whenever the Borough Manager determines that the spraying, removal, cutting, trimming or other treatment of any afflicted plant, shrub or tree is necessary and the same is located on private property within the Borough but outside a public right-of-way, as defined in § 95-5 hereof, he/she shall direct, by appropriate notice, the owner or occupant, or agent of either, of such private property upon which such plant, shrub or tree is located to spray, remove, cut, trim or otherwise treat the same in an appropriately corrective manner at the expense of such owner or occupant.
Procedure. Trees on private property which, in the opinion of the Manager, are sufficiently damaged, diseased or in such other condition as to constitute a hazard to the public or a threat to the survival of other trees, shall be ordered by the Manager to be removed, partially removed or treated by the owner of the property on which the tree is located. Property owners so ordered shall have 30 days, following receipt of the order, to comply with the order or to appeal to the Commission. The Commission shall hear any such appeal and make a decision within 30 days of the hearing of the appeal. Decisions of the Commission shall be appealable as provided by law. Appeals to the Commission shall be in writing and decisions shall be in writing and shall include findings of fact. Following a decision by the Commission that a tree shall be removed, partially removed or treated, the property owner shall comply within 30 days of the receipt of the decision by first class mail to the property owner. If the property owner shall fail or refuse to comply with such order, the property owner shall be subject to the penalties specified in § 95-9 hereof. In addition, the Manager is authorized, at his discretion, to remove the hazardous tree or portions thereof. All costs for such work shall be assessed against the property on which the tree is located and, if not paid, shall be a lien against the property in accordance with § 95-7 hereof.
[Added 5-17-2016 by Ord. No. 543]
[Amended 5-17-2016 by Ord. No. 543]
Definitions. As used in this section and § 95-6, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Shade Tree Commission established under § 95-2 hereof or, absent its establishment, the Council.
- PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
- Any easement area along the cartway of a street or highway in the Borough granted or dedicated to public use, including the area between such cartway and the nearest public sidewalk parallel thereto.
Duty of maintenance. The Borough shall be responsible, at its expense, for the maintenance of all trees within the public rights-of-way in the Borough. No person, except the Manager or his delegated representative, may cut, trim, prune, damage or remove any part of a public tree, including the roots within the dripline of the tree, without a permit in writing as described in Subsection E.
Cost responsibilities for planting, transplanting or removal. The cost of planting, transplanting or removal of any trees within the public rights-of-way of the Borough, the cost of installing suitable guards, curbing or grading for the protection thereof and the cost of replacing pavement or sidewalk necessarily disturbed in the execution of such work shall be borne by the owner of the real estate abutting the land where such planting, transplanting, removal, installation or replacement occurs. The amount any owner is to pay hereunder shall be ascertained and certified by the Commission in accordance with § 95-6 hereof.
Permit for planting. No tree shall be planted, in any public right-of-way without a written permit from the Commission, such permit to designate the type of tree and place where such tree is to be planted. No such permit shall be granted unless written application is made to the Commission on a form acceptable to the Commission. In determining whether to grant a permit for the planting of a tree, the Commission shall follow generally acceptable land development and arboricultural principles and shall apply such principles in a fair and uniform manner throughout the Borough.
Permit for removal. No tree shall be removed from any public right-of-way without a written permit from the Commission, such permit to designate the tree to be removed. No such permit shall be granted unless written application is made to the Commission on a form acceptable to the Commission. The applicant for any tree proposed to be removed within a public right-of-way must, through the testimony of an International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist, demonstrate that: 1) the tree is afflicted with a treeborne disease that cannot be cured; 2) the tree poses a serious risk to public safety and welfare and cannot be pruned or otherwise maintained to prevent said risk; or 3) the tree presents a serious risk to an existing structure and cannot be pruned or otherwise maintained to prevent the risk to said structure. Notwithstanding the foregoing, an applicant may not satisfy its burden for removal under this Subsection E by showing actual or potential damage to sidewalks or underground utilities. Any applicant will be responsible for the cost of: 1) the removal of tree and stump, including hauling away of all debris, and proper filling of stump hole; and 2) the planting of sufficient replacement trees as specified by the Manager. Replacements shall be at least two-inch diameter, nursery-grown stock. The Manager may, at his or her discretion, require larger replacements or multiple replacement trees.
Regulations. The Commission is urged to promulgate supplementary regulations pertaining to the planting and transplanting of shade trees in the public rights-of-way of the Borough. These regulations shall deal with the species of permitted trees, distance between trees along the same right-of-way, permitted methods of planting, appearance, risk of interference with utility wires and cables and uniformity. Any such regulations so promulgated shall be in writing and, unless established by the Council itself, be approved by the Council. Once such regulations are in force, the Commission shall follow them in issuing permits under Subsection D.
Required planting. The Commission may, only upon petition of a majority of the property owners along any public right-of-way in the Borough, require the planting and replanting of suitable shade trees along such right-of-way upon such alignment and at such points as this chapter shall sanction. The expense of this work shall be borne by abutting property owners in accordance with Subsection C hereof.
Required removal. The Commission may require the removal of any afflicted tree in any public right-of-way in the Borough upon its determination that such tree threatens other plants, shrubs or trees in the Borough, is harmful to public safety or welfare or has a negative impact on the aesthetic qualities elsewhere along such right-of-way. The expense of this removal shall be borne by abutting property owners in accordance with Subsection C hereof.
Whenever the Commission proposes to plant, transplant or remove shade trees on any public right-of-way in the Borough, notice of the time and place of the meeting at which such work is to be considered shall be given in a newspaper of general circulation in the Borough once a week for two weeks immediately preceding the time of the meeting. Such notice shall specify in detail the streets or portions thereof upon which trees are proposed to be so planted, replanted or removed. Actual written notice of such a proposal shall also be sent to each affected abutting property owner by regular or certified mail.
Any other notice required under this chapter shall be sent to any affected property owner by regular or certified mail at least 14 days in advance of the meeting of the Commission or the Council at which such work shall be finally approved, and this notice shall reasonably and generally apprise such owners of the impact of the intended action.
Upon the failure of any property owner to initiate any work required to be done by him/her under the chapter at his expense, the Borough may cause the work to be done by its employees or contractors and levy and collect the cost thereof from such owner. The cost of such work to be borne by each such owner, as well as the cost of any work initiated by the Borough but required to be paid by a property owner, shall be certified to the Borough Treasurer by the Council or, if the Council has created a Commission under § 95-2 hereof, by the Commission to the Council and the Borough Treasurer. Upon the filing of this certification, 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 by 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, and, if not paid within the time designated in the notice to the property owner, a claim may be filed and collected by the Borough Solicitor in the same manner as municipal claims are normally filed and collected.
Any person, firm or corporation or employee thereof granted a permit under § 95-5D hereof shall post a bond or furnish evidence of equivalent coverage to the Borough Manager in an amount or form approved by him/her or shall have in force and shall maintain public liability and property damage insurance as follows:
Public liability insurance: public liability insurance in the amount of $100,000 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 $300,000 on account of one accident.
Property damage insurance: property damage insurance in the amount of not less than $25,000 to any one property and subject to the same limit for each property in an amount of not less than $50,000 aggregate for one accident.
The provisions of this section may be waived by the Borough Manager if and when the Borough Manager shall decide 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 a waiver must furnish evidence to the Borough Manager that he/she carries full public and comprehensive liability insurance of a reasonable nature, as well as workmen's compensation insurance, and he/she shall waive all rights for compensation or damages by the Borough.
In lieu of or in addition to the levy, collection and lien remedies set forth in § 95-7 hereof, any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, for each and every violation, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $300, plus costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 30 days.
[Added 3-10-1998 by Ord. No. 472]
Notwithstanding any of the foregoing, Council may, by motion, accept, purchase or plant, or contribute to the purchasing or planting of, shade trees along the streets and sidewalks of the Borough.