[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Pittston 11-9-1988 by Ord. No. 1988-3; amended in its entirety 4-11-1990 by Ord. No. 1990-1. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The City Council of the City of Pittston hereby creates a Shade Tree Commission, to be composed of five residents of the City of Pittston, who shall be appointed by the Mayor and shall serve without compensation for their terms of office and with all the rights, powers, duties and obligations provided for by law.
The members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Mayor and Council for terms of five years, in such order that at least one member's term shall expire annually. The aforesaid appointments for a specified term notwithstanding, a Commission member may stay in office until a successor qualifies or is appointed, or the City Council may remove any member of the Commission at the pleasure of the City Council.
The following words and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings hereby ascribed to them, except in those instances where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- The Shade Tree Commission of the City of Pittston.
- Any permit, in writing, as issued by the Secretary of the Shade Tree Commission or the Secretary's designee.
- Any natural person, firm, association, partnership, corporation, or other entity recognized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- PUBLIC HIGHWAY
- Any street or sidewalk open to the public and shall include the area between the curb and the sidewalk known as the "tree lawn" and eight feet in from the curbline.
- The Secretary of the Shade Tree Commission.
- SHADE TREE
- Any tree on any public highway in the City of Pittston or that part of any tree, shrub or other woody plant which extends within the lines of any public highway.
Word usage. In this chapter, the singular shall include the plural, and the masculine shall include the feminine.
The Commission shall have exclusive custody and control of the shade trees in the City of Pittston and is authorized to plant, maintain and protect shade trees on the public highways in the City.
The application for any permit required hereunder shall be made in writing to the Secretary in care of the Pittston City Hall. It shall specify the particular kind of work or operation the applicant desires to perform thereunder and shall state the exact location and the species of any tree affected. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to submit every such application promptly to the Commission for approval or disapproval. The permit shall be effective for such length of time as the Commission shall in each case determine, and such time shall be indicated on the permit. Any such permit may be revoked at any time upon proof satisfactory to the Commission that any of the terms or conditions upon which such permit was issued are or 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 satisfactory to the Commission or to deposit security satisfactory to it to guarantee the compliance by the applicant with the terms and conditions upon which such permit is issued. Permits may be issued to public utilities on an annual basis with only oral approval of the Commission required as to specific trees or specific streets.
No person shall plant any shade tree in the City of Pittston until such a permit therefor is granted, such permit to designate where such tree is to be planted and any special condition of planting deemed appropriate by the Commission. The Commission may refuse a permit to plant any species of tree which, in its opinion, is not suited to the location.
All shade trees planted in and among any of the public highways in the City of Pittston shall be set so as to form, as nearly as possible, a straight and uniform line with the other shade trees growing upon the same highway. Said trees shall be placed or set from 25 feet to 30 feet apart, where practicable, and shall be sound, straight and symmetrical. Every such tree shall be planted in a pit four feet square filled with good topsoil otherwise enriched and shall have an open space of ground outside the trunk of said tree with an area, where practicable, of not less than four feet square for the free entrance of water and air to the roots thereof. In order to secure uniformity and best results, all shade trees hereafter planted in or along any of the public highways in the City shall be trees authorized by the Commission.
In addition to trimming performed by public utilities, all shade trees shall be kept trimmed by the owner of the property on or in front of which they are located:
So as not to interfere with the proper lighting of public highways by the streetlights.
If a property owner allows a hazardous condition to develop due to his failure to properly control tree growth so that it interferes with sidewalk or street traffic or creates any other hazardous condition, the Commission shall notify the property owner, in writing, giving him 10 days to correct the condition. If the property owner fails to correct said condition, the Commission may cause such trimming to be done at the expense of the owner, and the entire cost thereof shall be a lien upon said premises, and a claim therefor shall be filed and collected by the City Solicitor in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.
No person shall, without first obtaining a permit therefor, cut, break, climb without spurs, injure in any manner or remove any shade tree or cut down or interfere in any way with the main roots of any shade tree or spray any shade tree with any chemical or insecticide or place any rope, guy wire, cable, sign, poster or any other fixture on any shade tree or guard for any shade tree or injure, misuse or remove any device placed to protect any shade tree, except in case of immediate necessity for the protection of life and property.
No person shall, without first obtaining a permit, place or hereafter maintain any stone, cement or any other substance which shall impede the passage of water and air to the roots of any shade tree, unless such person shall have an open space of ground surrounding the trunk of such tree, such space to be not less than four feet square.
In connection with any building operation or the performance of any work whatsoever in the City in the vicinity of any shade tree, before any work shall be commenced, guards shall be placed at all shade trees which might be affected by such work so as effectually to prevent injury to them.
No person shall pour saltwater, oil or any other material deemed hazardous by the Commission at any place in such a manner that injury might result to any shade tree.
No person shall, without first having obtained a permit therefor, attach any electric wire, insulator or any device for the holding of an electric wire to any shade tree.
Every person having any wire charged with electricity running along or through a public highway shall securely fasten such wire or place an adequate shield thereon, so that such wire shall not come into contact with any shade tree, so as not to injure the same.
Whenever, in order to take down or prune any shade tree in any public highway or having branches extending over any public highway, it shall be deemed necessary to remove any wire running through or along such public highway, the public utility involved shall be notified and shall promptly do the necessary work to take down or prune the tree.
The Commission may, upon 30 days' notice, require owners of property to cut and remove dead trees and trees afflicted with Dutch elm or other disease which threatens to injure or destroy shade trees or which cause a hazard in the City. Upon failure of any owner to comply with such notice, the City may cause the work to be done by the City and levy and collect all or any portion of the cost 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 City Engineer and shall be filed with the City Administrator. Any such lien may be collected by action in assumpsit or by lien filed in the manner provided by law for the filing and collection of municipal claims by the City Solicitor.
The property owner, in compliance with this chapter, may from time to time have a tree removed for necessary reasons; however, any tree removed shall be replaced unless just cause is shown that its replacement is detrimental to the property.
It is the Commission's intent to restore to the City its natural tree lawn by providing shade trees throughout the City to restore the natural beauty and improve the natural environment.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a fine of not more than $300, and costs of such proceedings, or, upon default of payment of such fine and costs, by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 30 days.