[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Muskego 6-21-2001 by Ord. No. 1070 (Ch. 37 of the 1964 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter establishes policies, regulations, and standards necessary to ensure that the City of Muskego will continue to realize the benefits provided by its urban forest. The provisions of this chapter are enacted to:
Establish and maintain the maximum practical amount of tree cover on lands in the City of Muskego.
Maintain trees in a healthy and nonhazardous condition through sound arboriculture.
Establish and maintain ecologically appropriate diversity in tree species and age classes to provide a stable and sustainable urban forest.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be deemed to impose any liability upon the City, its officers or employees, nor to relieve the owner of any private property from the duty to keep any tree, shrub, or plant upon any street tree area abutting his property or under his control in such condition as to prevent it from constituting a hazard or an impediment to travel or vision upon any street, park, boulevard, alley, or public place within the City.
For the purposes of this chapter the following words and phrases shall have the specific meanings as hereinafter defined:
- PARK TREES
- Trees, hedges, shrubs, bushes, and all other woody vegetation in public parks and cemeteries having individual names, and all areas owned by the City, or to which the public has free access.
- STREET TREES
- Trees, hedges, shrubs, bushes, and all other woody vegetation on land lying between right-of-way lines on either side of all streets, avenues, or ways within the City.
City Forester position established. There is hereby established a City Forester for the City of Muskego. The position may be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Common Council. The City Forester shall be a person skilled and trained in the arts and sciences of municipal arboriculture.
Duties of the City Forester.
The City Forester shall have the authority to implement the rules and regulations of the Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice governing the planting, maintenance, and removal of trees on the streets or other public sites in the municipality, and shall direct, regulate, and control the planting, maintenance, and removal of all trees growing now or hereafter in any public area of the City of Muskego.
The City Forester shall cause the provisions of this chapter to be enforced. In his absence, these duties shall be the responsibility of a qualified alternate designated by the City.
The City Forester shall have the authority and jurisdiction of regulating the planting, maintenance, and removal of trees on streets and other publicly owned property to ensure safety, maintain the overall health of the urban forest, and preserve the aesthetics of such public sites.
Supervision. The City Forester reports to the Public Works and Development Director or designee and shall have the authority to supervise or inspect all work done under a permit issued in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
Conditions of permit. The City Forester shall have the authority to affix reasonable conditions to the granting of a permit in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
The City shall have jurisdiction, direction, authority, control, and supervision over that part of every street, the grade of which has been established, lying between the lot line and the curb, or curbline, and trees on any property which may in any way have effect upon public property, and upon the public welfare of the City of Muskego, and for the planting, care, maintenance, protection, and removal thereof. The Common Council shall have the authority to make such rules and regulations as it may deem applicable for carrying out the purpose of this section.
Permit required. No tree shall be planted on the grass plot between the roadway and the right-of-way line within the City of Muskego until a permit has been obtained by the owner of the property abutting on the frontage thereof, or his authorized agent. Such permit shall be obtained from the City Engineer and shall be issued only after the City Forester has received a validated application for said permit.
Application for permit. Application for the permit shall be obtained from the City Engineer and validated by the City Engineer or City Forester. A separate application and a separate permit are required for each tree intended to be planted.
Inspection. Final inspection shall be made by the City Forester within a reasonable time after the date stated on the application as the intended planting date.
Specifications. Applicants for street tree permits must comply with the adopted specifications for planting.
[Amended 9-2-2004 by Ord. No. 1178]
It is the intent of the City of Muskego that the provisions of this section shall apply only to trees, hedges, shrubs, or plants growing or hereafter planted in or upon private property which threaten the lives, health, safety, and welfare of persons or property in any City-owned area or the health of other trees and plants within the City. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the City of Muskego to regulate or control trees, shrubs, or other like obstructions growing or to be planted in or upon any private premises which threaten the lives, health, safety, and welfare of persons or property in any City-owned area, or the health of other trees or plants within the City.
Trees declared public nuisances.
Vision corners. No person shall maintain, plant, or permit to remain on any private or public premises situated at the intersection of two or more public streets or alleys in the City any tree (including hedges and shrubs) or other like obstruction within the vision corner of any street or alley intersection which may obstruct the view of the operator of any motor vehicle approaching such intersection to the extent that such operator is unable to observe other vehicles or pedestrians approaching or crossing said intersection. Any such tree, hedge or shrub or other like obstruction is hereby declared to be a public nuisance.
Hazardous trees. Any tree (including hedges and shrubs) or part thereof which the City Forester, upon examination, shall find to be hazardous so as to be injurious or to endanger persons or property in any City-owned area or which may cause damage to sewers, curbs, sidewalks, or other public improvements, whether growing upon public or private premises, shall be declared a public nuisance.
Dead or diseased trees. Any dead or diseased tree (including hedges and shrubs) on public or private property within the City which constitutes a hazard to persons or property in any City-owned area or harbors insects or disease which constitutes a potential threat to other trees within the City shall be declared a public nuisance.
Notice to abate trees declared public nuisances. Upon determination by the City Forester or City Engineer that a tree (including hedges and shrubs) constitutes a public nuisance, the property owner of said nuisance shall be given written notice, either personal or by publication, from the City to treat, trim, remove or otherwise control such a tree as to abate the nuisance. The notice shall establish a time period for the abatement of the nuisance of up to 30 days, as determined by the City Forester, based on the seriousness of the tree's condition and/or the danger to public safety.
Failure to abate public nuisance. Failure to abate the public nuisance within the time period established in said notice shall be deemed a violation of this section, and the City Forester or City Engineer may then take measures to abate the nuisance and assess or specially charge the cost thereof against the property upon which the hedge, tree or shrub is located. Any property owner given a notice as herein provided may, by a written notice to the City within seven days of the notice, postpone the treatment of removal of the tree or part thereof by the City, and he shall have the right to appeal the order to the Zoning Board of Appeals. No damage shall be awarded to any property owner for the destruction of a tree (including hedges and shrubs) or a part thereof pursuant to this section.
Materials harboring insects or disease. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or transport into the City any materials known to be infected with any communicable disease or insect, which may infect trees. Any such material brought into the City shall be disposed of by the parties responsible for bringing the diseased or infected materials into the City in the manner and in a location designated by the City Forester. Such materials may be considered a public nuisance and subject to the provisions of this section.
Trimming, pruning, and corner clearance. The Public Works and Development Director or designee shall take measures to assure that any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the City shall be pruned so that branches shall not obstruct the light from any streetlamp or obstruct the view of any street intersection. Trees shall be pruned to provide a clear space of 14 feet above street surface or 10 feet above a sidewalk or recreation trail surface. The Public Works and Development Director or designee shall take measures to remove all dead, diseased, or dangerous trees or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public. Tree limbs that grow near high-voltage electrical conductors shall be maintained clear of such conductors by the electric utility company of jurisdiction in compliance with any applicable franchise agreements.
It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm, or City department to top any street tree or other tree on public property.
Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes or certain trees under utility wires or other obstruction where other pruning practices are impractical may be exempted from this chapter at the determination of the City Forester.
Removal of stumps. The Public Works and Development Director or designee shall take such measures to assure that all stumps of street 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.
Trimming and pruning. The Public Works and Development Director or designee shall take measures to remove all dead, diseased, or dangerous trees or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a threat to the safety of the public. Tree limbs that grow near high-voltage electrical conductors shall be maintained clear of such conductors by the electric utility company of jurisdiction in compliance with any applicable franchise agreements.
Removal of stumps. The Public Works and Development Director or designee shall take such measures to assure that all stumps of 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. This provision does not apply to tree stumps within wooded areas, prairies, and other undeveloped areas.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the City, or any of its agents, while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying, or removal of any street trees, park trees, or trees on private grounds, or otherwise following lawful directions of the Council in compliance with orders as authorized by this chapter.
Any person, firm, company, or corporation who or which violates any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a penalty as provided in § 1-4 of this Code.