[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Meriden 3-4-1996. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Parks and recreation — See Ch. 150.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 159.
Editor's Note: This resolution also repealed former Ch. 196, adopted 5-15-1995.
The short title of this chapter shall be "Tree Ordinance."
It is the purpose of this chapter to promote and protect the public health, safety, and general welfare by providing for the regulation of the planting, maintenance, and removal of trees, shrubs, and other plants within the public way or on public land.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
- APPLICATION REVIEW BOARD
- A board consisting of the Chairperson of the Planning Commission, the Chairperson of the Conservation Commission and the Chairperson of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourse Commission, authorized to hear appeals as set forth in § 196-4C(5).
- BOULEVARD EFFECT
- Arrangement of trees along a street for aesthetic, scale or climate control purposes. For purposes of this chapter a boulevard effect is created when there are three or more trees within a one-hundred-fifty-foot stretch of street frontage on the same side of the street.
- PUBLIC LAND
- Any and all property owned by the City of Meriden.
- PUBLIC TREES
- Any trees or shrubs planted or placed by the City of Meriden or its Tree Warden.
- PUBLIC WAY
- Any and all property within the City of Meriden's right-of-way.
- A woody plant, branched from the base, generally expected to grow less than 15 feet tall when mature.
- A woody plant, usually with one main trunk, generally expected to grow to a height of at least 15 feet when mature.
- URBAN FORESTRY PLAN
- A management plan and resulting annual work plans prepared by the Tree Warden and approved by the Conservation Commission. The City's Department of Development and Enforcement is assigned the responsibility to assist the Tree Warden in his/her duties. For those areas that are incorporated in the City's park system or are part of the streetscape (boulevard effect), the Director of Parks shall assist in development and maintenance of the plan. For all watershed properties, exclusive of those under control of the Parks Department, the Public Works Department shall assist in the development and maintenance of the plan.
[Amended 5-20-1996; 10-21-1996; 12-21-1998]
The Tree Warden shall be initially appointed by the City Manager for a term of one year, thereafter for a term of three years. The Tree Warden shall have a working knowledge of arboricultural practices either through formal education and/or directly related experience.
Duties of Tree Warden. The Tree Warden shall have the duty to:
Enforce all provisions of law for the preservation of trees and shrubs and of roadside beauty.
Remove or cause to be removed all illegally erected signs or advertisements placed upon trees within any public way, on public land or on public trees.
Remove or cause to be removed any tree or shrub which constitutes an immediate public hazard, without notice.
Remove, prune or cause to be removed or pruned any tree or shrub under his/her control. He/she shall post a suitable notice on the tree or shrub at least five days prior to the removal or pruning. If any person, firm or corporation objects to the removal or pruning in writing to the Tree Warden, the Warden shall hold a public hearing. Within three days after the hearing, the Tree Warden shall render his/her decision.
Issue permits for removal of any trees within the public way or on public land in accordance with the Urban Forestry Plan and the Arboricultural Specifications and Standards, as amended.
Enforce regulations for the care and preservation of trees and shrubs.
The Tree Warden, with the assistance of the Conservation Commission, shall develop and, each subsequent year, update the Urban Forestry Plan. This plan shall describe the urban forestry activities to be undertaken by the City, the reasons for those activities, the possible funding source(s), the alternatives available to the City to fund or accomplish the activity, the projected date of completion, and the consequences if the activity is not completed. Activities may include but are not limited to municipal tree inventory, planting, tree removal, beautification projects, and educational projects.
The Urban Forestry Plan shall include a management plan for all City-owned forested areas and a Master Street Tree Plan. The Master Street Tree Plan shall consist of a City-wide, street-by-street written evaluation of the tree species best suited to a particular planting site in regard to growing habits, shape, form, health, disease and pest resistance, conflicts with wires, lights, pavement, traffic, pedestrians, sidewalks, environmental pollution, sewers, and space availability. It shall also include recommendations for maintenance and replacement of existing trees as well as recommendations for the type of street trees to be planted in new residential, commercial or industrial subdivisions.
Permits and applications.
Scope of requirements. No person may perform any of the following acts without first obtaining a permit from the Tree Warden:
Plant, treat, prune, remove or otherwise disturb any tree or shrub on public land.
Plant, treat, prune, remove or otherwise disturb any public tree or tree or shrub on the public way. This provision shall not apply to prohibit an abutter from watering or mulching any tree or shrub.
Treat, prune, remove or otherwise disturb any public tree or any tree or shrub, or portion thereof, overhanging or partially upon the public way.
Place on public land, including forested areas, or in the public way, either above or below ground level, a container for trees or shrubs.
Damage, cut, tap, carve, or transplant any public tree(s) or any tree(s), shrub(s), or other plant(s) located on the public way or public land.
Attach any rope, wire, nail, sign, poster, or any other man-made object, or paint or mark, on any public tree or tree or shrub located on public land or the public way.
Cause damage to the root zone of any public tree or tree or shrub on the public way or public land, by digging a tunnel or trench, moving or storage of construction vehicles, materials, or equipment or changing of the grade within the drip line.
The Tree Warden, in considering a permit application, shall balance the interest of the City of Meriden in maintaining and protecting its natural resources with the interest of the applicant in taking the requested action. In particular, the Tree Warden should consider the following factors, if applicable:
The rarity, age and size of the tree or shrub.
The invasiveness of the activity proposed.
The potential damage to the tree or shrub if the activity is undertaken.
The necessity for the activity to take place in order to meet the applicant's goal.
Whether or not the applicant is willing to replace the tree or shrub with a like kind, size and quality tree or shrub in another location.
Whether or not the tree or shrub can be relocated.
Available feasible or reasonable alternatives.
The financial burden to the applicant in utilizing the alternative(s), should the application be denied.
The consequences to the Urban Forestry Plan.
The public benefit or burden which would accrue if the activity is allowed to take place.
The public benefit or burden which would accrue if the activity is not allowed to take place.
Any other considerations which are relevant to a thorough determination of the benefits and burdens to acceptance or denial of the application.
If the Tree Warden determines that a complete review of the application cannot be made with the information on the application, or finds that the issue involved is of public concern, the Warden may provide a forum at which the public may state its concerns.
Editor's Note: Former § 196-4C(4), which immediately followed this subsection and provided for the Conservation Commission to review all permit applications, was repealed 2-17-2004.
During the growing season, April 15 to November 1, the Tree Warden shall issue a written decision granting or denying the application, along with the reasons therefor, within 10 working days after the public forum, if any, or within 20 working days of the submission of the application, if no public forum is held. Said decision shall be mailed to the applicant at the address provided on the application, first-class mail, postage prepaid. In addition, a copy of said decision shall be posted outside the City Clerk's office for a period of two weeks.
If an applicant or abutting property owner is aggrieved by the decision of the Tree Warden, that decision may be appealed to the Application Review Board. Such appeal shall be taken within 30 days of the entering of the Tree Warden's decision by filing a written notice of appeal, along with the reasons for the appeal, in the Building Division. The hearing for the appeal shall be held within 20 working days of the filing of the appeal, at which time the applicant and the Tree Warden shall present arguments on their own behalf. The Application Review Board shall have a de novo review of all facts and evidence. It shall be the applicant's burden to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the decision of the Tree Warden should be reversed; otherwise, said decision shall be sustained. Within three days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Application Review Board shall issue its ruling either reversing or sustaining the decision of the Tree Warden.
The provisions of this chapter may be enforced by citation, in addition to other remedies. The following persons have authority to issue citations for violations pursuant to this chapter: Tree Warden. Each instance of activity on each public tree, tree or shrub shall constitute a separate offense. In addition, if the damage is done to a tree owned by the City of Meriden, the City may seek civil penalties as allowed by law.