[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Lancaster 8-15-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-06 as § 8.10 of the 2005 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
If the Director of Public Works, or his designee, shall find, on examination, any private or public premises infested with injurious insects or plant disease, or if any tree, shrub or plant upon private premises shall endanger the public or shall be injurious to sewers or other public improvements, he shall notify the owner or person having charge of such premises to that effect, and such person shall, within five days after such notice, cause the removal and destruction of the tree, shrub or plant if incapable of successful treatment or trimming. Otherwise, such owner or person in charge shall cause the tree to be treated or trimmed as directed in the notice. No damages shall be awarded to the owner for the destruction of trees under this section.
Work permit. Except upon order of the Director of Public Works, or his designee, no person shall, without a written permit from the Director of Public Works, or his designee, remove, destroy, cut, break, climb or injure any tree, plant or shrub or portion thereof that is planted or growing in or upon any public highway or place, or remove any device set for the protection of any tree, plant or shrub in or upon any public highway or place. Any person desiring to remove, destroy, cut, prune, treat, with a view to its preservation from disease or insects, or to trim any tree, plant or shrub in or upon any public highway or place shall make application to the Director of Public Works, or his designee. Such application must state the number and kind of trees to be trimmed, removed or treated and the kind and condition of nearest trees upon the adjoining property. If in the judgment of the Director of Public Works, or his designee, the desired removing, cutting, pruning, treatment or trimming appears necessary and the proposed method and workmanship thereof is such as the Director of Public Works, or his designee, approves, he shall thereupon issue a written permit for such work. Any work done under such written permit must be done under the supervision and direction of the City.
Planting permit. With the exception of property owners planting trees, shrubbery, or other plantings on their own residential premises, no person shall plant or set out any tree in or upon any part of any public highway or place without first obtaining from the Director of Public Works, or his designee, a written permit to do so and without complying in all respects with the conditions set forth in such written permit and the provisions of this chapter. All applications shall describe the work to be done and the variety, size and precise location of each tree. After the receipt of such an application the Director of Public Works, or his designee, shall investigate the locality to determine if such location will permit the normal growth and development of each tree. Such permit shall specify the location, variety and planting, including among other things, grade of each tree and the method of supplying suitable soil. The permit shall be good only for the season stated in the permit issued and no charge shall be made for the same. The applications shall contain the following information:
The variety of each and every tree proposed to be planted and of those already existing within the proposed street lines.
The distance between trees in any one row in feet.
The nature of the soil in the planting space, to a depth of three feet, and all existing and proposed surface or subsoil drainage systems.
Trees standing in or upon any public highway or place shall, under the supervision of the Director of Public Works, or his designee, be kept trimmed by the City.
The City of Lancaster has adopted Urban Forestry Specifications regarding the planting, trimming and care of trees in and upon the public highways and places of the City. These specifications are as follows:
These specifications are to serve as a standard for planting and maintenance of all public trees. They will apply whether work is performed by City forces, private contractors or private individuals.
A free permit must be obtained from the City before any person, either for himself or another, plants, prunes, removes, or destroys any tree, shrub, or hedge in or upon the public right-of-way of any street, alley, sidewalk, or other public place.
It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the business of planting, cutting, trimming, pruning, removing, spraying or otherwise treating trees, shrubs or vines within the City right-of-way without first obtaining a permit from the City (permit required by § 386-2B). Any public utility company must notify the City before any trees are trimmed and must follow accepted arboricultural trimming standards.
Authorized work on or with public trees or shrubs neither expresses nor implies a right to violate any law of the land while in process of performing such work.
All such work shall be conducted in a manner as to cause the least possible interference with or annoyance to others.
All personnel utilized for work on or with trees or shrubs shall be trained to perform the work properly and safely.
Whenever electric or telephone lines, gas lines, water/sewer lines or other improvements, public or private, upon a public area will be implicated or jeopardized by any authorized tree or shrub activity, the proper authorities of the utilities involved or property owner involved shall be consulted prior to performing any work activity and all requested precautions by any such authority shall be complied with.
Planting and maintenance schedules.
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PARK TREES
- Trees in public parks, golf courses, cemeteries, and all other areas owned by the City, or any area to which the public has free access as a park.
- STREET TREES
- Trees on public right-of-way between the curb and property line along the side of streets or ways within the City.
Areas of responsibility.
Street trees. Street trees are the responsibility of the City for planting and management. All existing street trees are managed by the City.
Park trees. Park trees are the responsibility of the City for planting and management. This includes trees in parks, golf courses, cemeteries, and all other areas owned by the City.
Public projects, i.e., parks, streets, medians, substations, treatment plants and public buildings, shall provide for street and park tree planting as a part of the development process. If private projects include street trees in their plans, they shall adhere to the design objectives and spacing requirements of this chapter.
Existing public properties shall receive new infill planting on an ongoing basis. All removed public trees shall be replaced with one or more new trees if the location meets planting criteria.
No single species shall make up more than 15% of the total City tree population. This is to prevent uniform disease susceptibility.
All public deciduous trees on improved properties shall be pruned on a rotational basis of not more than 10 years.
Public trees shall be managed in such a manner as to promote their general health by providing the necessary practices which may include insect and disease control, fertilization, irrigation, staking, guying, wrapping, cabling, bracing and pruning.
Trees shall be maintained in such a manner as not to endanger, interfere, or otherwise conflict with requirements of safe public use of an area.
Any public tree or shrub which because of habit of growth, age, condition or disease becomes a hazard to public safety or obstructs a clear view of streets, signs, signals or intersections, thus creating a hazard, shall be maintained to correct the problem. Hanging limb and branch growth shall be maintained 14 feet above streets and eight feet above sidewalks.
Every owner of any tree or shrub overhanging any street or right-of-way within the City shall prune the branches so that such branches shall not interfere with the safe use of the street or sidewalk or obstruct the view of any street intersection. The City shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it interferes with the safe use of the street or sidewalk or when it interferes with the visibility of any traffic control device or sign.
Any tree which because of an epidemic disease or insect infestation poses a threat to other trees or plants in the community shall be treated so as to control the spread of the problem organism.
Street tree spacing and location requirements.
At the intersection of roadways or vehicular access points, no plant material with a mature height greater than 30 inches shall be planted within a sight triangle measuring 30 feet along the boundary of each of the intersecting roadways, measured from the point of intersecting curblines, except where engineering standards indicate otherwise.
No tree planting is permitted where the distance between a curb and a detached sidewalk is less than four feet. In addition, a planting area defined by two curbs, curb and fence, or sidewalk and fence must be four feet wide if street trees are to be planted.
Trees must be centered in the planting strip when the distance between the curb and detached sidewalk is eight feet or less.
Where the sidewalk is attached to the curb as a continuous element, the street tree planting must be at least three feet in back of the walk and no more than seven feet. The tree must be located on the public right-of-way.
No street tree planting is to be made closer to the street than 30 inches back from the backside of the curb.
Larger maturing trees should be spaced 35 feet apart and smaller maturing trees 20 feet apart. The City may require wider spacings if it is necessary for development of the tree or for safe use of the street or sidewalk. When space is limited or to achieve certain design effect, closer spacings may be considered.
No tree shall be planted closer than five feet to any driveway or alley nor shall a tree or shrub be planted in such a manner that its eventual growth cannot be reasonably controlled so as to avert interference with or obstruction to any improvements installed for public benefit.
Tree plantings made in a sidewalk must have a minimum of 16 square feet cutout area. The tree must be set back from the street a minimum of 30 inches from the back of the curb.
No tree planting is to be made within five feet of any building or structure.
No street trees other than those low-growing species that do not attain a mature height greater than 20 feet shall be planted under or within 10 feet of any overhead power line exclusive of streetlight or service lines.
Tree removal criteria. It is the objective of the City to provide a tree planting program on City property that ensures the future existence of the City's tree resources by the planting of as many or more trees than must be removed due to infection, death, hazardous condition, nuisance or construction occurring in the area. In addition a set of tree removal criteria is used to prevent indiscriminate removal. City trees may be removed only when one or more of the following criteria is met:
The tree is infected with an epidemic insect or disease where the recommended control is not applicable and removal is the recommended practice to prevent transmission.
The tree poses a public nuisance because of its species, size, location or condition. The nuisance could be caused by fruit or seed drop, harboring of insects or excessive twig or limb breakage.
The tree poses a severe safety hazard that cannot be corrected by pruning, transplanting or other treatments.
The tree severely interferes with the growth and development of a more desirable tree.
The aesthetic values of the tree are so low or negative that the site is visually enhanced by the tree's removal.
Any wood on City property which is designated by the Director of Public Works, or his designee, to be cut and removed shall be so cut by the City or its agent and removed by the City or its agent to an appropriate location where it shall be sold to the highest bidder, except that such wood on a tree lawn abutting private property may be given to the abutting property owner free of cost. The Director of Public Works, or his designee, shall have the option to designate wood to be sold to the highest bidder to be cut and removed by such successful bidder rather than by the City or its agent.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter or any rules and regulations adopted hereunder shall be subject to a penalty as provided in § 1-4 of this Municipal Code. Each violation and each day on which a violation occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense. This section shall not preclude the City from maintaining any appropriate action to prevent or remove a violation of this chapter.
It shall be the duty of the property owner abutting streets and easements of the City to notify the City of accidental damage or attacks of disease or abuse of trees that may occur from time to time.