[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Asharoken 3-6-2006 by L.L. No. 2-2006. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Among the unique natural features that make Asharoken a special to live is the significant stand of trees in proximity to the surrounding water. The sandy tombolo is heavily populated with native cedar trees, while the upland has large stands of sizable deciduous and evergreen trees. It has been established that trees stabilize the soil and control water pollution by preventing soil erosion and flooding, absorb air pollution, provide oxygen, yield advantageous microclimatic effects, have an intrinsic aesthetic quality, provide a natural barrier to noise and provide a natural habitat for the wildlife in our area. The removal of trees deprives us of these benefits and disrupts fundamental ecological systems in which they are integrally involved. It is, therefore, the purpose of this chapter to control the indiscriminate destruction of trees, with due consideration of the reasonable private property rights of each owner, such as the cutting or pruning necessary to preserve the health of the tree and/or to maintain its ornamental quality, or as set forth in § 112-4 below, by regulating the removal of trees within the boundaries of the Village of Asharoken.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Includes but is not limited to: cutting or knocking or dragging down; physically removing; poisoning; ringing the tree; excessive peeling of bark; damaging, compacting or overburdening the roots; using herbicides or fire or cutting in a manner so as to bring about the ultimate death of a tree.
- SUBSTANTIALLY ALTER
- Any cutting or pruning in excess of the normal cutting or pruning necessary to preserve the health of the tree and/or to maintain its ornamental quality.
- STEEP SLOPE
- Any slope of 15% or greater.
- A living woody perennial plant that is either deciduous or evergreen.
No person shall remove or substantially alter: (a) any deciduous tree that exceeds 45 inches in circumference, or any evergreen that exceeds 24 inches in circumference, as measured three feet from the ground; (b) any tree that exceeds 15 inches in circumference on a steep slope (greater than 15%) or bluff; any tree in a Village-owned park or nature preserve; any tree within a public right-of-way; any rare or endangered species as listed by any governmental agency of New York State or of the United States; or any historic tree or tree on the New York State "Big Tree Registry;" (c) more than an 10% of the trees between 20 inches and 45 inches in circumference for deciduous trees and between 15 inches and 24 inches in circumference for evergreens, or any combination thereof, on any single parcel of property within the Village within any thirty-month period; without first filing an application with the Village Clerk and thereafter procuring a permit from the appropriate Village reviewing authority as outlined in § 112-5, below. No fee shall be charged for any such application or permit. All trees to be removed at one time may be combined on one such application.
Notwithstanding § 112-3, above, no such permit shall be required for:
Normal trimming and cutting of trees by a utility company to maintain utility lines or cables.
Removing a tree which presents an imminent peril to life or property. In such instance, the owner and/or his agent must provide evidence that an imminent danger exists in the form of either photographs evidencing the potential damage or a police report.
Removing a tree that presents a danger to a public street, a public place or a public utility or to public property. Such removal may be authorized by the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor or by any police officer employed by the Village of Asharoken.
Establishment of a tree-free area immediately adjacent to a structure, which area shall include all points within 15 feet of the perimeter of said structure.
Maintaining the usefulness of a cesspool.
[Amended 5-2-2017 by L.L. No. 3-2017]
Applications for a permit shall be on forms supplied by the Village and signed by the property owner. The forms are to be submitted to the Village Clerk and are to be accompanied by a plan, if applicable, as specified in § 112-6 below.
The Conservation Board shall be responsible for the issuance of tree permits for individual undeveloped and developed parcels of property, when such permits are being issued in the absence of any construction activity at the site. The Planning Board shall be responsible for issuing permits for parcels under subdivision review as part of the subdivision process. The Building Inspector shall be responsible for issuing permits when the permit shall be applied for as part of a construction project on the property and such permit shall be issued concurrently with the applicable building permit. A copy of each approved permit shall be filed with the Village Clerk by the applicable issuing authority.
Since the intent of this chapter is to prevent the indiscriminate removal of trees, the reviewing authority shall use reasonable judgment when examining an application. Factors to be considered during the review process shall include, but not be limited to, the following criteria:
Minimizing the impact on trees of the siting of roadways, drainage structures, houses, accessory buildings, driveways, patios, tennis courts, etc.
The use of reasonable horticultural and wood lot practices, including, but not limited to, the thinning of trees that interfere with or choke off the normal growth of other trees and the pruning of trees to encourage their natural growth.
The effect of removal on ecological systems, including, but not limited to, drainage, stormwater runoff, trees on adjacent properties, and steep slope stability.
The character of the surrounding community.
The need to remove or alter the trees in question for reasons of safety, to preserve a preferred species and/or to avoid congestive overgrowth.
The maintenance or establishment of a vista.
To preserve trees native to Asharoken, including, but not limited to, the cedar, the hickory, the oak and the beach plum.
The Conservation Board shall render its decision within 10 days after it receives an application for a permit for an individual undeveloped and developed parcel from the Village Clerk, unless the Conservation Board shall advise the applicant that the total number of trees to be removed makes it impracticable for it to act within the prescribed time frame. In such cases, the Conservation Board shall render its decision within 30 days after it receives an application. Once issued, such permit shall be effective for a period of one year from the date the permit is issued.
Permits for parcels under subdivision review shall be issued by the Planning Board when the subdivision plat is approved and the map is signed by the Chairman of the Planning Board. This permit shall be effective for one year from the date of issuance.
Permits for individual developed or undeveloped parcels, where the tree removal is part of construction to be performed at the site, shall be issued concurrently with the applicable building permit. This permit shall be effective for a period of one year from the date of issuance.
In the case of an individual developed or undeveloped parcel, not part of a construction project on said parcel, the applicant shall submit either a photograph if only one tree, or a sketch if more than one tree, to the Village Clerk with the required application, depicting the property and the tree or trees to be removed or altered. The tree or trees to be removed shall also be appropriately marked at the site.
For subdivisions under review by the Planning Board, the applicant must develop and submit to the Planning Board a tree removal plan for the entire parcel showing all "regulated" trees on the site, as defined in § 112-3 above, and identifying which trees are to be removed as part of the subdivision plan, the circumference of all such trees, and the species of each tree to be removed. This tree removal plan shall be considered to be part of the subdivision process, and its approval will be necessary prior to final approval of any subdivision.
In the case of individual developed or undeveloped parcels, where tree removal is part of a construction project on the property, a tree removal plan showing all regulated trees on the site, as defined in § 112-3, above, and identifying which trees are to be removed as part of the construction on the site, the circumference of all such trees, and the species of each tree to be removed, shall be submitted to the Building Inspector either before or with the building permit application. The plan shall be reviewed as part of the building permit application process.
The reviewing authority may require the planting of the same or agreed-upon alternate species of trees, encouraging species native to Asharoken, when the individual character of the tree(s) or the ecological setting requires special consideration as a condition for the issuance of a permit for tree removal. The location for the planting of the replacement trees shall be agreed upon prior to the issuance of the permit for removal and shall be made a condition of the approval of said permit.
After a tree removal plan and the accompanying application have been submitted, the reviewing authority may request photographs of the site or a site inspection led by the owner or his or her designee. The reviewing authority may also request that the trees to be removed shall be designated by suitable marking.
Each tree removed in violation of this chapter shall be a separate violation. The monetary fines shall be assessed against the person who orders the work and the person and/or corporation who removes the tree(s).
Any person violating this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a violation and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 for each tree that was removed.
In addition to, or in lieu of, the above, the court may require the planting of replacement trees or flora. The type, size, number and location of planting replacement trees or flora shall be determined by the Conservation Board in the case of an individual developed or undeveloped lot; the Planning Board in the case of a subdivision and the Village Building Inspector in the case of tree removal that occurred as part of a construction project.
The Building Inspector shall stop all work and construction activity on any premises where a violation of this chapter has occurred and shall not permit any work to resume unless and until the provisions of this chapter shall have been satisfied.
[Amended 5-2-2017 by L.L. No. 3-2017]
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Conservation Board, Building Inspector or the Planning Board, with respect to a decision on a tree permit, pursuant to § 112-5D, E or F, has the right to appeal the decision to the Village Board of Trustees within 30 days of the date that the decision is filed with the Village Clerk. Such appeal shall be in compliance with the appeal procedure adopted by the Board of Trustees.