[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of New Britain 4-12-2017 by Ord. No. 379. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Shade Tree Ordinance of the Borough of New Britain."
The following definitions shall apply to this chapter:
- The Borough of New Britain, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
- BOROUGH COUNCIL
- The Borough Council of the Borough of New Britain, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
- The Shade Tree Commission of the Borough of New Britain, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
- The area of any public street, road, highway, sidewalk, or other publicly held thoroughfare within the corporate limits of the Borough that has been designated by law as a public right-of-way.
- SHADE TREE
- Any, tree, shrub, or other woody plant, which is planted in any right-of-way or has at least 1/2 of trunk, branches or roots extending into any right-of-way.
The Borough recognizes that properly planted, maintained and protected shade trees add to the aesthetics and health and welfare of the citizens of the Borough. Therefore, it shall be the intent of this chapter to establish a Shade Tree Commission for the Borough, define the mission and enumerate the powers and duties of that Commission, and establish rules and regulations to encourage the planting of appropriate shade trees, provide for the proper maintenance of the trees, protect shade trees and provide guidelines for the removal and replacement of shade trees.
A Shade Tree Commission is hereby established. The Commission shall consist of five members who are citizens of the Borough, appointed to serve five-year terms by Borough Council. Borough Council may also appoint a liaison to the Commission, who shall have no voting power. No Borough Council member may serve as a member of the Commission.
The Shade Tree Commission shall serve as an advisory panel to Borough Council when called upon by Borough Council on all Borough matters having an impact on the Borough's shade trees.
The Shade Tree Commission shall have the power to establish shade tree regulations, including standards for the pruning and planting of shade trees in the Borough, subject to the approval of Borough Council.
The Shade Tree Commission shall have the power to create a list of shade trees to be planted within the Borough. Every shade tree planted, or replanted, in the Borough shall be chosen from the shade tree list, unless a waiver is obtained from Borough Council with the recommendation of the Shade Tree Commission.
The Shade Tree Commission shall have the power to compile an inventory of existing shade trees in the Borough.
The Shade Tree Commission shall have the power to create a community tree plan and community tree education program.
The Shade Tree Commission shall coordinate with the Borough's Park and Recreation Committee on the Borough's Arbor Day celebration, if any.
The Shade Tree Commission shall report directly to Borough Council on a monthly basis at Borough Council's monthly general meeting, or more often as the President of Borough Council shall direct. The Shade Tree Commission shall provide a written report to the Borough Manager at least one week prior to the regular Borough Council meeting.
The Shade Tree Commission may recommend to Borough Council the employment of persons to make and enforce regulations for the care and protection of shade trees in the Borough. The Shade Tree Commission itself has no powers of employment and no expenditure power.
The Shade Tree Commission shall review all applications for subdivision and land development, and shall make a recommendation to Borough Council for approval or denial of the application on the basis of compliance with the Borough's shade tree regulations.
The Shade Tree Commission shall have no power to regulate shade trees on Borough property, within Borough parks, or within the Wilma Quinlan Nature Preserve.
The maintenance, care or removal of any shade tree as defined herein, and required compliance with any provision of this chapter shall be the responsibility of the property owner on whose property the shade tree is located or whose property abuts the right-of-way in which the shade tree is located.
Maintenance of shade trees within the public right-of-way shall occur in compliance with the Borough's shade tree regulations. Any person cutting, pruning, breaking, affixing a foreign object to, or in any way injuring a shade tree within the public right-of-way or violating the Borough's shade tree regulations, shall be subject to the penalties enumerated in § 350-7 hereof. The Shade Tree Commission upon notice of the violation shall notify Borough Council.
No person without first obtaining a permit from the Shade Tree Commission shall plant a shade tree within any public right-of-way within the Borough.
No person without first obtaining a permit from the Shade Tree Commission shall remove a shade tree within any public right-of-way within the Borough. Shade trees shall be removed in their entirety, including the stump. All shade trees removed from a public right-of-way shall be replaced. Replacement of removed shade trees shall be a condition of the permit for removal of a shade tree. In cases where the planting of a new shade tree in place of the one removed would, in the judgment of the Shade Tree Commission, prevent the necessary and reasonable use of a street, sidewalk, abutting property, or the conduct of business, the Shade Tree Commission may waive the replacement shade tree requirement, provided that the responsible property owner agrees to pay the Borough a fee-in-lieu in the amount of $300, or such other fee as may be set by resolution of Borough Council, which sum shall be set aside by the Borough and deposited into the Borough's Tree Fund.
No persons, without first obtaining a permit from the Shade Tree Commission, shall prune or cut a shade tree within the public right-of-way. This section shall not apply to public utilities operating pursuant to the provisions of the Public Utility Code.
Editor's Note: See 66 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
All shade trees shall be kept trimmed to a minimum branching height of 10 feet, except that the Shade Tree Commission may require greater height clearances to avoid interference with traffic, traffic lights, street lights, and other hazards.
Whenever, in the opinion of the Shade Tree Commission, a health or safety hazard is caused by a shade tree, including shade trees affected by disease or insect infestation, the Commission may issue a notice or order to the responsible property owner directing the responsible property owner to take action to correct the condition within 10 days of the date of the notice or order. A copy of the notice or order shall be provided to Borough Council. If after written notification, the responsible property owner fails to take corrective action, the Shade Tree Commission may recommend to Borough Council to have the required work accomplished to remedy the health or safety hazard. Borough Council, should it determine that the work shall be performed, shall perform the required work to correct the health or safety condition and the Borough shall bill the responsible property owner. Failure to remit by the responsible property owner may result in a lien placed against the property by the Borough.
Fees for permits shall be set from time to time by resolution of Borough Council.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall upon conviction thereof be guilty of a summary offense, and may be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $600 and costs, and/or undergo imprisonment not to exceed 90 days. Every day that a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense.