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Village of Lancaster, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lancaster 11-8-2004 by L.L. No. 10-2004 (Ch. 142B of the 1976 Code); amended in its entirety 1-27-2020 by L.L. No. 2-2020. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Nuisances — See Ch. 221.
Parks — See Ch. 225.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 297.
A. 
The Lancaster Village Board hereby finds that there is a direct and important relationship between the existence of trees in the Village of Lancaster and the health, safety and welfare of the community. Trees preserve air and water quality, provide shade to people and property, and enhance economic and aesthetic property values. Trees stabilize soil, control air and water pollution, and provide a natural habitat for wildlife.
B. 
It is the purpose of this chapter to promote and to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare by providing for the regulation of planting, maintenance, and removal of trees within the Village of Lancaster, NY.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
PARK TREES
Trees in public parks within the boundaries of the Village.
STREET TREES
Trees within the right-of-way of all streets, avenues or highways within the Village.
There is hereby created and established an Urban Forestry Advisory Board for the Village of Lancaster, NY, which shall consist of the Village Clerk and the following, who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Village Board of Trustees: a Village Board member, a member of the Village Planning Commission, the Superintendent or other full-time employee of the Village Department of Public Works and a Village resident over the age of 18 years.
Members of the Urban Forestry Advisory Board shall serve without compensation.
A. 
It shall be the responsibility of the Urban Forestry Advisory Board to study, investigate, develop and administer and provide counsel regarding a written plan for the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal or disposition of trees in parks, along streets and in other public areas. Updates to the plan will be presented annually to the Village Board of Trustees and, upon their acceptance and approval thereof, the plan shall constitute the official comprehensive Urban Forest Management Plan for the Village of Lancaster.
B. 
The Urban Forestry Advisory Board, when requested by the Village Board of Trustees, shall consider, investigate, make finding, report and recommend upon any special matter of question coming within the scope of its work.
The Urban Forestry Advisory Board shall choose its own officers and keep a record of its proceedings. A majority of the members shall be a quorum for the transaction of business.
A. 
The list of official street tree species to be planted within the boundaries of the Village of Lancaster, NY, will be located in the Urban Forest Management Plan. Subject to additions and removals implemented by the Urban Forestry Advisory Board in the exercise of its duly authorized discretion, the following small tree, medium tree and large tree species shall be deemed included within the Urban Forest Management Plan.
(1) 
Small trees: apricot, flowering crabapple, Hawthorn golden rain tree, Bradford pear, redbud, soapberry, Japanese lilac tree, flowering peach, purpleleaf plum, serviceberry.
(2) 
Medium trees: green ash, hackberry, honey locust, linden, red mulberry, English oak, red oak, Japanese pagoda tree, pecan, river birch, Osage orange, persimmon, white poplar, sassafras.
(3) 
Large trees: Kentucky coffeetree, silver maple, sugar maple, bur oak, sycamore, cottonless male cottonwood.
B. 
No species other than those included within the Urban Forest Management Plan may be planted as street trees without written permission of the Urban Forestry Advisory Board.
The spacing of street trees will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in § 310-7. No trees may be planted closer together than the following: small trees, 30 feet; medium trees, 40 feet; and large trees, 50 feet; except in special plantings designed or approved by a landscape architect and the Urban Forestry Advisory Board.
The distance trees may be planted from curbs or curblines and sidewalks will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in § 310-7, and no trees may be planted closer to any curb or sidewalk than the following: small trees, two feet; medium trees, three feet; and large trees, four feet.
No street tree shall be planted closer than 35 feet to any street corner, measured from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curblines. No street tree shall be planted closer than 10 feet to any fireplug.
No street trees other than those species listed as small trees in § 310-7 may be planted under or within 10 lateral feet of any overhead utility wire, or over or within five lateral feet of any underground water line, sewer line, transmission line or other utility.
The Village Urban Forestry Advisory Board, in conjunction with the Village Department of Public Works with notice to the Town of Lancaster Forestry Department, may remove, cause or order to be removed any tree or part thereof on public property which is in an unsafe condition or which by reason of its nature is injurious to sewers, electric power lines, gas lines, water lines, or other public improvements. Written notice of such removal shall be provided by the Village Urban Forestry Advisory Board to the Village Board within 30 days thereof. The location and species of any replacement tree shall be determined by the Village Urban Forestry Advisory Board in consultation with the Village Department of Public Works with notice to the Town of Lancaster Forestry Department.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or other entity to top any street or park tree. Topping is defined as the cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter with the tree's crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes, or trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical, shall be exempted from this section at the determination of the Department of Public Works.
B. 
Every owner of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the Village shall prune the branches so that such branches shall not obstruct the light from any street lamp or obstruct the view of any street intersection and so that there shall be a clear space of eight feet above the surface of the street or sidewalk. Said owners shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees, or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public.
C. 
The Department of Public Works shall have the right to prune any street tree within the right-of-way for the following reasons:
(1) 
Tree branches are obstructing light from street lamps or obstruct the view of street intersections, traffic control devices or signs.
(2) 
To provide a clear space of up to eight feet above the surface of the sidewalk.
(3) 
To provide a clear space of up to 13 feet above the street surface.
A. 
The Village shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased trees or stumps on private property within the Village when such trees or stumps constitute a hazard to life and property or harbor insects or diseases which constitute a potential threat to other trees within the Village. Removal of any such dead or diseased trees or stumps shall be undertaken in accordance with the procedures set forth in Chapter 221, Nuisances, of the Code of the Village of Lancaster.
B. 
The Village Department of Public Works, with notice to the Town of Lancaster Forestry Department, may remove or cause or order to be removed any tree or part thereof on public property which is in an unsafe condition or which by reason of its nature is injurious to sewers, electric power lines, gas lines, water lines or other public improvements. Written notice of such removal shall be provided by the Department of Public Works to the Village Board within 30 days thereof. The location and species of any replacement tree shall be determined by the Village Urban Forestry Advisory Board in consultation with the Village Department of Public Works with notice to the Town of Lancaster Forestry Department.
C. 
All stumps of street and park trees shall be removed below the surface of the ground so that the top of the stump shall not project above the surface of the ground.
A. 
Except in the case of an appropriate response to imminent danger to person or property, no person shall cut, mar or otherwise injure any park tree or street tree.
B. 
No person shall fasten any sign, wire, rope or other material to or around or through any street or park tree in the Village of Lancaster, except by written permission from the Village Board which, pursuant to § 310-5, may request advice from the Urban Forestry Advisory Board.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the Village Urban Forestry Advisory Board, or any of its agents, while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying, or removing of any street trees, park trees, or trees on private grounds, as authorized in this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person or firm to engage in the business or occupation of pruning, treating or removing street or park trees within the Village without first applying for and procuring a permit which shall be effective for 12 months. The permit fee shall be as set forth at Chapter 144, Fees; provided, however, that no permit shall be required of a public service company or Village employee doing such work in the pursuit of his public service endeavors. Before any permit shall be issued, the applicant shall first file evidence of possession of liability insurance in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 for bodily injury and $1,000,000 for property damage and identifying the Village as an additional insured. A certificate of insurance shall be provided to the Village. Attached to each certificate of insurance shall be a copy of the additional insured endorsement that is part of the applicant's liability policy.
The Village Board of Trustees shall have the right to review the conduct, acts and decision of the Village Urban Forestry Advisory Board. Any person may appeal any ruling or order of the Village Urban Forestry Advisory Board to the Village Board of Trustees, who may hear the matter and make final decision.
The Village of Lancaster Code Enforcement Officer shall be responsible for the enforcement of this chapter and shall report any violations to the Village Board.
Any person committing an offense against any provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, Penalties for Offenses, of the Code of the Village of Lancaster.