City of Beverly, MA
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Beverly 6-6-2002 by Ord. No. 161 (Art. XXXVI of the Code of Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Parks, recreation areas and public property — See Ch. 210.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 253.
Zoning — See Ch. 300.
A. 
Having determined that a well-managed urban forest provides many benefits to the City, its residents and visitors, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the City of Beverly to regulate, finance and control the planting, removal, maintenance, and protection of trees and shrubs upon or in all public areas of the City in order to:
(1) 
Promote and enhance the aesthetics and general welfare of the City.
(2) 
Eliminate and guard against dangerous conditions, which may result in injury to persons using the public areas of the City.
(3) 
Prevent damage to any public sewer, water main, street, sidewalk, or other public property.
(4) 
Protect trees and shrubs in public areas from undesirable and unsafe planting, removal, maintenance and protection practices.
(5) 
Protect all trees and shrubs from the damaging effects of construction, alteration or repair of utility facilities and other improvements in any public area.
(6) 
Guard all trees and shrubs within the City against the spread of disease, insects, or pests.
B. 
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all trees and shrubs presently or hereafter planted in or upon any public area.
Due to the complex nature and often conflicting interrelationships between living plants such as trees, shrubs, and turf, and public improvements such as streets, sidewalks and underground facilities, it is recognized that there is a need to manage both plants and improvements in a manner that will minimize conflict and maximize the benefits to be realized from each. Therefore, it is hereby declared to be the intent of the City of Beverly that there shall exist at all times a policy of open communication and coordination between the various departments and divisions of City government regarding the management, installation and maintenance of the plants or improvements for which they are responsible.
In this chapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the following words and phrases shall be defined as follows:
CITY ARBORIST
The person designated under Chapter 58, Officers and Employees, of the City Code or his/her duly authorized representative designated to perform inspection or otherwise enforce the provisions of this chapter.
CLEAR-VISION TRIANGLE
A triangle-shaped zone formed by the existing or proposed curblines of two or more intersecting streets, roads, or alleys and a third line connecting said curblines at a distance of 30 feet in each direction from the point of curbline intersection, in order to provide vehicular traffic an unobstructed view of cross traffic at intersections.
MAINTENANCE AND PROTECTION
Includes all operations of trimming, pruning, spraying, injecting, fertilizing, treating, bracing, cabling and cutting any tree or shrub above or below the ground.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation or government entity.
PUBLIC TREES AND SHRUBS
Any tree or shrub, as herein defined, presently or hereafter planted in or upon any public area.
PUBLIC WAY
Includes all public ways, parks, and other lands owned, controlled, or leased by the City.
SHRUB
A woody plant, usually with multiple stems branched at or near the base, reaching a height of less than 12 feet.
STREET TREE
Any public tree presently or hereafter located in the public way between the curb and public sidewalk, or between the curbs of a median strip, or in the equivalent location with respect to future curb, sidewalk or median strips where such curbs or sidewalks are not yet installed.
TREE
A woody plant, usually with a single stem unbranched at the base, reaching a height of 12 feet or more.
TREE PROTECTION ZONE
A zone of protected space not less than four feet high and 10 feet square, or at a distance in feet from the tree trunk equal to the diameter of the trunk at breast height (DBH) in inches, whichever is greater.
The most recent versions of following documents, each in its entirety, are hereby adopted and made a part of this chapter upon passage:
A. 
ANSI A300-1995, American National Standard for Tree Care Operations - Tree, Shrub and Other Woody Plant Maintenance - Standard Practices.
B. 
ANSI Z60.1-1996, American Standard for Nursery Stock.
A. 
Injury to public trees and shrubs prohibited. No person shall, without permission from the City Arborist, do or cause to be done any of the following:
(1) 
Secure, fasten, or run any rope, wire, signal, electrical installation or other device or material to, around or through any public tree or shrub except in an emergency such as a storm or accident.
(2) 
Break, injure, mutilate, deface, kill, or destroy any public tree or shrub.
(3) 
Top or make topping cuts on any public tree.
(4) 
Permit any toxic chemical, gas, smoke, oil, or other injurious substance to seep, drain, or be emptied upon or about any public tree or shrub, except routine winter street maintenance by City departments.
(5) 
Excavate any ditch, tunnel, or trench, or lay any drive, sidewalk or other impermeable surface within the tree protection zone of any public tree or shrub, without permission from the City Arborist.
(6) 
Erect, alter, repair, raze, or excavate within the tree protection zone of any public tree or shrub without placing suitable guards approved by the City Arborist around such trees and shrubs that may be injured by such operations.
(7) 
Remove any guard, stake, or other device or material intended for the protection or support of any public tree or shrub.
(8) 
Place any earth fill, rock, trash, or other material within the tree protection zone of any public tree or shrub that may compact or prevent the entry of air and water to the root zone.
B. 
Clear-vision triangle. No tree, shrub, hedge or other growth exceeding 30 inches in height above street grade shall be permitted in any clear-vision triangle within the City.
C. 
Obstruction of signs, signals or travel. All trees and shrubs located upon any public way or upon any private premises adjacent to the public way shall be trimmed so that the lowest projecting branches provide a clearance height of not less than 14 feet above the travel portion of a public street and not less than eight feet above the public sidewalk. The City Arborist may waive the provisions of this section for newly planted or naturally low-profile trees if he/she determines that they do not interfere with public travel, obstruct the light of any streetlight, obstruct the view of any traffic sign or signal, or endanger public safety.
A. 
No person shall plant, remove, maintain or protect any public tree or shrub, or cause such work to be done, without obtaining permission from the City Arborist.
B. 
Any person desiring to plant, remove, maintain or protect any public tree or shrub shall request in writing to the City Arborist for approval to perform such work. Such request shall specify the location and description of the proposed work. If the City Arborist determines that the proposed work is necessary and in accord with the purposes of this chapter, taking into account the safety, health, and welfare of the public, location of utilities, public sidewalks, driveways and streetlights, general character and aesthetic quality of the area in which the tree or shrub is located or proposed to be located, and the soil conditions and physiological needs of the tree or shrub, he/she shall approve the request.
C. 
Any person aggrieved by the decision of the City Arborist to permit or deny a request to plant, remove, maintain or protect any public tree or shrub may request a review of that decision by the Committee on Public Services of the City Council.
D. 
The City Arborist shall develop and maintain a list of desirable trees for planting along streets. Efforts shall be made to ensure a sufficient diversity of tree species.
The following specifications and standards are hereby established for the planting, pruning, and removal of all public trees and shrubs within the City:
A. 
Planting.
(1) 
No tree shall hereafter be planted which is less than 1 1/2 inches in diameter at six inches above the ground.
(2) 
No street tree shall be planted less than 10 feet from any driveway or fire hydrant, or within the designated clear-vision triangle or less than 30 feet from any street corner, whichever is greater.
(3) 
All street trees hereafter planted shall be spaced not less than 25 feet apart, except that a tree planted for the purpose of future replacement of an existing declining tree may be planted less than 25 feet from the declining tree. The actual spacing, location, and alignment of street trees shall be determined by the City Arborist based on the mature size of the species to be planted and the specific site limitations.
(4) 
The following shall not be planted in the public ways of the City: any conifer, any species of the genus Populus, any Ailanthus, Catalpa, mountain ash, box elder, silver maple, willow, white bark birch, black locust, or such other species that shall be determined to be unsuitable for street planting.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).
B. 
Pruning.
(1) 
All pruning of public trees and shrubs shall conform with the standards set forth in ANSI A300 or the most recent version thereof as adopted hereunder.
(2) 
It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm, or City department to top any street tree, park tree, or other tree on public property. "Topping" is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within 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 certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions, where other pruning practices are impractical, may be exempted from this chapter at the determination of the City Arborist.
C. 
Removal.
(1) 
The City Arborist may remove or order to be removed any tree or part thereof 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, or is affected with any injurious fungus, insect, or other pest.
(2) 
Trees shall be completely removed from the growing site and disposed of in the proper manner. Any person or firm engaged in the removal of any public tree or shrub shall have the necessary limits of insurance and shall be held liable for any injury or damage to persons or property.
(3) 
Stumps and roots that elevate sidewalks and/or boulevards shall be removed from the growing site by grinding or other means to a depth suitable for the future planting of trees, shrubs, or turf. The hole created by removal of a stump shall be filled to the level of surrounding grade with mineral topsoil, tamped to prevent settling and seeded with a mixture of grass species appropriate for the site.
D. 
Spraying, injecting, fertilizing, bracing, cabling or other arboricultural operations or treatments shall be performed in a neat and professional manner according to accepted arboricultural standards and in compliance with all laws governing the use of pesticides.
The entire cost of planting, removal, maintenance, and protection of trees and shrubs in all public areas of the City, when performed by department employees or their contractors at the direction of the City Arborist, shall be borne by the City out of the departments' budgets, or from funds donated or otherwise acquired for this purpose. When a private party other than the City plants, removes, maintains, or protects public trees or shrubs pursuant to § 261-2 of this chapter, said party shall incur all expenses connected therewith.
Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be, upon conviction or a plea of guilty, subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000. In addition to a fine, the City may require restitution for the fair market value of the tree(s) and/or shrub(s) that was damaged or destroyed as a result of a violation of this chapter.