[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Old Forge 10-17-2006 as §§ 143-2 and 143-4 through 143-13 of Ord. No. 2006-10. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Shade Tree Commission of the Borough of Old Forge.
- A permit, in writing, as issued by the Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough or the appropriate designated agent or representative of the Borough.
- Any individual, corporation, group of individuals, firm, association, partnership and their servants, agents or other employees.
- PUBLIC STREET, HIGHWAY or AVENUE
- Any street, highway, avenue, alley or sidewalk open to the public.
- SHADE TREE
- Any tree, shrub or other woody plant in or upon any public street, highway or avenue, park, parkway or other public areas; or that part of any tree, shrub or other woody plant which extends within the lines of any public street, highway, avenue, park, parkway or other public areas in the Borough.
It shall be unlawful for any person to plant, remove, mutilate or cut down any shade tree or cause to have done a major or total pruning of any shade tree within a public area without first obtaining a permit and doing the same in conformance with said permit, except it shall not be unlawful to do the following without a permit or approval of the Commission:
Trim shade trees to conform to the clearance requirements of this chapter, trim or prune shrubs and bushes within the public area, remove or cut off long-hanging or broken branches of trees which create or may create a public nuisance or danger;
Carry out normal repair, upkeep, minor pruning and trimming; or
Prune, trim or cut for the maintenance of public utility facilities.
No tree shall be planted or removed in or upon any public street, highway, avenue, park, parkway or other public areas without a written permit. Such permit will designate the type of tree and place where such tree is to be planted or removed. The Commission, with the guidance of the District Forester, shall have authority to designate the suitable type of tree and may refuse a permit to plant any type of tree which, in its opinion, is not suitable to the location. All persons shall first obtain a written permit before doing or having done any work for the care, pruning, or trimming of any tree in or upon the public streets, highways, avenues, parks, parkways and other public areas, and such work will be done to the satisfaction of the Commission.
An application for a permit shall be made, in writing, to the Borough Code Enforcement Officer on a form provided. The permit shall specify the particular kind of work or operation the applicant desires to perform, the exact location and the species of any shade tree affected, the owner of the property and the person who will do the work. It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer to submit every such application promptly to the Commission for approval or disapproval. The permit shall be valid for a term of 60 days but may be removed at any time upon proof satisfactory to the Commission that any of the terms or conditions upon which such permit was issued have been violated.
The Commission, in its discretion, may, as a condition precedent to the issuance of the permit, require the applicant to file a bond or deposit security satisfactory to the Commission to guarantee compliance by the applicant with the terms and conditions upon which such permit was issued, and which bond shall not be more than double the estimated costs of such work. The fee for such permit will be as set from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council. For major work, the Commission shall require a certification of insurance against personal injury or property damage.
Authority to grant or deny a permit and/or impose conditions in a permit.
The Commission shall review each application for a permit and shall grant or deny said application. If granted, it shall state in the permit the type or species of shade tree to be planted or removed, cut, trimmed or pruned and may set forth specifications for doing the same. It shall then be unlawful to plant, remove, cut, trim or prune any shade tree contrary to specifications set forth in a permit.
It shall not be necessary for the Borough to obtain a permit to do any work on public areas owned in fee simple or rented by it, but no such work shall be done without consultation with the Commission.
No person shall break, injure, mutilate, kill or destroy any shade tree or set fire or permit any fire to burn where such a fire or the heat thereof will injure any shade tree. No person shall knowingly permit any leak to exist in any gas or steam pipe or main within the root zone of any shade tree or permit any toxic chemical, either solid or liquid, to seep, drain or empty on or about any such shade tree or permit any wire designed to carry electric current to come in contact with any shade tree unless protected by a method to be approved by the Shade Tree Commission. No person shall excavate any ditches, tunnels or trenches or lay any driveway within a ten-foot radius of any shade tree without first obtaining a written permit from the Shade Tree Commission.
The spacing between newly planted shade trees shall not be less than 40 feet. No shade tree shall be planted less than 30 feet from a curb intersection or less than 10 feet from a fire hydrant, sewer inlet, light standard or utility pole. No shade tree shall be planted on any street or highway of the Borough where curbs have not been constructed, unless approved by the Commission. The Commission will then specify the species of tree and plant location.
All trees shall be kept trimmed so that the minimum clearance where they overhang any public walk shall be nine feet, and the minimum clearance where the trees overhang any public street or highway shall be 11 feet.
The Commission reserves the right to designate a higher clearance on certain highways where heavy traffic or other conditions make it expedient.
All trees standing on private property and having branches projecting over a public highway shall be kept trimmed by the owner of such private property so that the lowest branches shall have the minimum clearance specified above or such other clearance as may be specified by the Commission.
In case the owner of such property shall neglect or refuse to trim the trees upon being notified, in writing, by the Commission or the Borough's designated agent to do so, the Borough may, after the expiration of 30 days of said notification, cause such trimming to be done at the expense of the owner.
The entire cost of the above shall be a lien upon said premises and shall be filed and collected by the Borough in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected and/or as hereinafter provided by this chapter.
When any tree along the streets or highways of the Borough, or growing on private property but overhanging any street or highway, in the opinion of the Commission, endangers the life, health, safety or property of the public, or is affected by any contagious disease or insect infestation, it shall be within the discretion of the Commission to determine what remedy is necessary and whether or not such tree must be removed. The owner of the property shall be notified in writing of the existence of the danger, disease or insect infestation and shall be given 30 days to remove the same, except when trees are infected with Dutch Elm disease. In such case, no notice is necessary, and the Borough shall immediately take steps to remove such trees. If a dangerous, diseased or infected tree is not removed or corrected within the 30 days by the property owner, the Commission shall cause the matter to be corrected or the tree removed and the costs assessed to the owner of the property.
Whenever it is necessary for the Commission or the Borough to trim or remove trees by reason of the failure of the property owner to do so after 30 days' notice, the Borough may levy and collect the costs thereof from the owner of the property. The cost of such work shall be a lien upon the premises from the time of the commencement of the work, which date shall be fixed by the Code Enforcement Officer. The Code Enforcement Officer shall cause 30 days' written notice to be given the person against whose property an assessment has been made. Said notice shall state the amount of the assessment, the time and place of payment and certificates from the Commission and the Code Enforcement Officer as to the work performed. In the event of nonpayment within 30 days thereafter, the same may be collected as herein provided.
Any person who shall violate or fail to comply with the terms and provisions of this chapter or with any of the regulations and rules promulgated by the Shade Tree Commission, through Borough Council, shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, by imprisonment for not more than 30 days.
Whenever such person shall have been notified by the Shade Tree Commission or by service or summons, in prosecution or in any other way, that a violation is being committed, each day in which the violation shall continue after such notification shall constitute a separate offense punishable by like fine or penalty.
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough, who shall have the duties and powers conferred by this chapter, in addition to those reasonably implied by its purpose. The Commission may direct the Code Enforcement Officer as its agent to carry out the provisions of this chapter as it may determine or may be authorized to carry out on its own.