[HISTORY: Adopted by the Tree Committee of the Town of South Hadley 1-18-2014. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Trees are recognized as an asset to the community, providing a more healthful and beautiful environment in which to live. Trees and other vegetation provide oxygen, shade, protection from wind, glare, noise and provide natural privacy to neighbors, wildlife habitat, aesthetics and a priceless psychological counterpoint to the man-made setting. Preserving trees is economically beneficial in attracting new residents, visitors and industry.
The Town recognizes that a property owner may wish to remove a nonhazardous public shade tree. The Town of South Hadley defines public shade trees under MGL c. 87. Public shade trees shall not be removed other than by or on behalf of the Town. If a property owner wishes to remove a tree that the Tree Warden does not deem a hazard, the following steps shall be taken:
The property owner must submit a completed tree removal permit application to the Tree Warden.
The Tree Warden shall hold a public hearing. The cost of the legal notice for the hearing shall be paid by the property owner, unless the Tree Warden is already posting a legal notice for the removal of other Town trees. In this case, the property owner's tree shall be included in the legal notice and the property owner shall not be responsible for any portion of the cost of the notice.
If, at the hearing, no person objects to the removal of the tree, the property owner shall be allowed to remove the tree. The property owner will be responsible for all applicant responsibilities and tree replacement requirements as described below in the nonhazardous tree removal policy.
If, at the hearing, any person objects to the removal, in accordance with MGL c. 87, the Tree Warden cannot grant approval to remove the Town tree. The property owner may appeal to the Selectboard.
An appeal for removal of a tree shall be submitted to the Selectboard in writing. The appeal shall state the reason(s) the applicant wishes to remove the tree.
If the Selectboard approves the removal of the Town tree, the property owner will be responsible for all applicant responsibilities and tree replacement requirements as described below in the nonhazardous tree removal policy.
Any applicant that is granted permission to remove a nonhazardous public shade tree will be responsible for all expenses associated with the removal of the tree and stump, including, but not limited to:
Any additional permits or notifications that may be required.
The cost of complete tree removal, disposal of wood, stump removal or grinding, and backfilling of stump hole, including loam and reseeding of lawn areas.
The cost of police details.
Repair of street surface and shoulder.
Repair and restoration of utility services.
Performance bond if required by the Tree Warden.
All tree work shall be performed in compliance with ANSI Z-133 and International Arboriculture and Tree Care Industry Association standards. The tree removal contractor must be approved by the Tree Warden as to equipment, qualifications and experience. Certificates of insurance, including workers' compensation, bodily injury, property damage and liability, satisfactory to the Town requirements shall be submitted to the Town prior to starting work.
Before the start of any work or arrival of equipment or materials, the contractor shall arrange a preconstruction conference with the Tree Warden. At said conference, the Tree Warden will identify trees and shrubs that are to be protected or removed. The Tree Warden may require the installation of fencing, mulches or temporary surfaces to protect surrounding vegetation and Town infrastructure.
For every nonhazardous public shade tree removed by a property owner the Town requires replacement(s) according to the provisions below.
The property owner shall choose one of three options to satisfy the tree replacement requirements:
Provide and plant replacement trees according to the quantities described above. Replacement trees shall be at least two inches' DBH. The replacements shall be a species that is appropriate to the site and approved by the Tree Warden. The Tree Warden shall inspect replacements prior to planting to ensure they are in satisfactory condition.
Make a payment to the Town's Tree Planting Account. The amount of the payment shall be computed by multiplying $125 times the required number of replacement trees.
A combination of planting(s) and payment to the Tree Planting Account.
Nothing contained in this policy shall prohibit the Tree Warden from refusing to permit the removal of nonhazardous public shade trees. The Tree Warden may refuse to grant a permit for the removal of a nonhazardous tree if, in his or her opinion, the tree is of historic or scenic value; is of a size or species not commonly found along the roadways of South Hadley; has significant wildlife value; or is an unusually healthy or significant specimen.