[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Morrisville 9-8-2016 by L.L. No. 5-2016. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Tree Regulations of the Village of Morrisville, New York".
The purpose of these regulations is to support the preservation and proper maintenance of trees on public property within the Village of Morrisville as necessary to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of, and visitors to the Village of Morrisville. These tree regulations are to be used in conjunction with, and be supportive of, any tree or forest management plan adopted by the Village of Morrisville Board of Trustees.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PARK TREES
- Trees, shrubs and all other woody vegetation in designated public parks and on real property owned by the Village to which the public has free access as a park.
- PUBLIC GROUNDS
- Any area of real property within the Village limits solely owned by the Village.
- STREET TREES
- Trees, shrubs and all other woody vegetation on land lying between the street line and the curb or pavement edge of all streets, avenues or ways within the Village.
- The reduction of tree size using internodal cuts without the regard to tree health or structural integrity.
- TREE LAWN
- That portion of the street right-of-way that is not covered by an impervious surface, lying between the front property line and the curb, street line or portion of the public right-of-way used for vehicular traffic.
- TREE WORK
- Any activity that causes the removal of any part of the tree, above or below ground, including, but not limited to, pruning, shearing, clearing, cabling, complete removal, root cutting, stump grinding, the application of fertilizers and/or pesticides above or below ground, or the planting of tree(s).
- All species of woody plants having five or fewer major stems and having a mature height in excess of 10 feet.
- The Village of Morrisville.
- VILLAGE ARBORIST
- The Village Arborist shall be an individual with demonstrated expertise in one or more areas reasonably related to the mission and function of the Village Tree Commission and the objectives of these regulations, who shall be appointed by the Mayor subject to the approval of the Village Board to serve at the pleasure of the Village Board as an advisor to the Village Tree Commission and the Board of Trustees. The Village Arborist may be a member of the Village Tree Commission, but shall not be required to be a member of the Commission.
There is hereby created and established a Village Tree Commission of the Village of Morrisville, New York (herein referred to as "the Commission"). The Commission shall consist of five members, who shall be annually designated by the Mayor at the annual organizational meeting of the Board and approved by the Board of Trustees. One member shall be appointed by the Mayor as Chair of the Commission. Additional individuals interested in the work of the Commission may join the Commission and serve as ad hoc members of the Commission upon the approval of the Chair of the Commission and the Mayor and Board of Trustees, but shall not have voting rights on the Commission.
Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation. The Village Arborist may be compensated for her or his services in such amount and upon such terms as may be approved by the Board of Trustees.
It shall be the responsibility of the Commission to study, investigate, counsel and, upon the assistance and advice of the Superintendent of the Department of Public Works, develop and/or update as needed, a written plan for the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal or disposition of trees and shrubs in parks, along streets and in other public areas within the Village of Morrisville. Such plan, when approved by the Board of Trustees, shall constitute the Village of Morrisville tree management plan. Such plan shall be reviewed and updated from time to time by the Commission. The Commission, when requested by the Board of Trustees, shall consider, investigate, make findings, report and recommend upon any special matter or question coming within the scope of its purpose.
The Village Arborist and DPW Superintendent shall be responsible for advising the Commission and the Board of Trustees with respect to any tree work on public grounds.
The Commission shall promote and supervise the development of a tree inventory for Street and Park trees. The inventory shall be updated as needed.
The Commission shall consider, investigate, report and recommend to the Board of Trustees upon any law, policy, or guideline or any special matter concerning trees within the Village.
The Commission shall provide recommendations to the Board of Trustees and to the Planning Board, as requested, regarding land-clearing and tree planting plans for new development throughout the Village.
The Commission Chair shall preside over all proceedings of the Commission. The presence of at least three Commission members shall constitute a quorum. In the absence of the Chair, the members present shall designate a temporary chair to preside over the meeting. Minutes of all Commission meetings shall be taken and provided to the Village Clerk to remain on file and available to the public for review.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the functions of the Commission or the Village, or any of their agents, while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying or removing of any street trees, park trees or trees on public grounds, as authorized in this chapter.
New plantings on public grounds will be deemed a memorial tree if the donor has supported the full purchase price of the tree. Donors will have the memorial designated in the Village's tree inventory but will not garner rights to the future decision(s) regarding its maintenance or removal.
Upon the advice of the Village Arborist and the DPW Superintendent, the Commission shall develop and submit to the Board of Trustees for approval a list, by tree species and size, of small, medium and large trees, which shall constitute the Village's approved list of trees which may be planted as street trees.
No street tree shall be planted closer than 35 feet to any street corner, measured from the point of the nearest intersecting curbs or curb lines, or be planted closer than 10 feet to any fireplug, except in special plantings designed or approved by the Village Tree Commission and in accordance with all other applicable codes. The spacing of street trees will be in accordance with the three species size classes of small, medium or large. 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 the Village Tree Commission and in accordance with all other applicable codes. No street trees other than species defined as small trees 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 or sewer line, or other utility transmission facilities.
The Village shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within the lines of all streets, alleys, avenues, lanes, squares and public grounds as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to preserve or enhance the aesthetics of such public grounds.
The Village may remove or cause or order to be removed, any tree or part thereof on public grounds 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.
All tree plantings and tree work upon public grounds shall be performed in accordance with current ANSI A300 standards and International Society of Arboriculture Best Management Practices.
It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm or Village department to top any street tree, park tree or other tree on public property. 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 prohibition upon the determination of the Village Tree Commission and the Board of Trustees.
Tree removal and replacement. Trees removed upon the recommendation of the Commission or by natural causes shall be replaced on Village property on a one-for-one basis within one year as budget allocations permit. The Village Board shall consider the Tree Commission's recommendation for the location and species of any replacement trees.
Any tree on public grounds that has been removed without permission, or damaged to such an extent that it must be removed, shall be replaced within one year at the expense of the party responsible for the removal or damage.
The total circumferential stem area of the replacement trees must equal the circumferential stem area of the removed (or damaged) tree, when measured at DBH (diameter at breast height - 4.5 feet above grade) for large trees (over 12 inches) or at the appropriate caliper point for smaller trees (six inches or 12 inches) as per the most current ANSI American Standards for Nursery Stock.
The replacement tree/trees must survive for two years with 80% live crown. If the replacement tree/trees does not or do not survive for two years with 80% live crown, the tree shall again be replaced within one year by the party responsible for the original removal or damage.
Protective from damage. Village Trees planted on public grounds shall be protected from damage during above or below ground construction and repair. The zone of protection shall include the area below the extent of the tree limbs, plus 25% beyond that distance of the tree for a total of 125% of the tree crown area. Measures to avoid damages, breakage or unintended removal of tree limbs and/or abrasions, debarking or other injuries to trunk of the tree shall also be utilized per current arboricultural industry 'best management practices'. Where such damages occur and are irreparable or severe enough to warrant removal, upon review of the Tree Commission and approved by a certified arborist, the replacements shall be in accordance with § 165-15. Any possible repairs that can be made that assure the health and survival of the tree(s) shall be at the expense of responsible party or contractor causing such damages.
Abuse or mutilation of public trees. No person shall damage, cut, burn, carve, transplant or remove any tree upon public grounds, or attach thereto any rope, wire, nails, posters or public announcements or other contrivance except for those required to adhere to the applicable ANSI Standard or ISA Best Management Practice. Should such abuse or mutilation cause the tree(s) to fail within four years of the incident, the person(s) causing the loss shall be responsible for the replacement of the tree(s) in accordance with this § 165-14.
The Village shall have the authority, upon prior consultation with the property owner, to prune the branches of the portion of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way or other public property within the Village so that such branches shall not substantially obstruct the light from any street lamp to the adjoining street or sidewalk, or obstruct the line of sight for motorists or pedestrians at any street intersection, and so that there shall be a clear space of eight feet above the surface of the street or sidewalk. The Village shall have the authority to prune the portion of any tree or shrub which overhangs public property when it substantially interferes with the ability of drivers or pedestrians to pass freely or the Village's ability to maintain a public sidewalk, street, park or parking area, or interferes with the visibility of any traffic control device or sign.
All stumps of street and park trees shall be removed to at least eight inches below the surface of the ground including any exposed surface roots.
Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and, upon conviction or a plea of guilty, shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $250 for each violation.
Should any part or provision of this chapter be declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the same shall not affect the validity of the chapter as a whole or, of any part thereof other than the part held invalid.