Borough of Springdale, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Springdale 5-15-2014 by Ord. No. 1236. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and be cited as the "Tree Ordinance of the Borough of Springdale, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania."
As used within this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth in this section:
BOROUGH
The Borough of Springdale, the Borough limits of said Borough, as the context shall indicate.
DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT (DBH)
A tree's diameter in inches measured by a diameter tape at 4 1/2 feet from the surface of the ground. On trees having multiple stems, the largest diameter stem will be measured.
DRIPLINE
The approximately circular vertical extension to the ground of the outermost branches and/or leaves of the tree as an indication of the spread of the root system.
HAZARD ZONE
Of a tree is the area inside a circle that's radius is equal to the height of the tree, the center being the trunk.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
LARGE TREES
Designated as those attaining a height of 45 feet or more.
MEDIUM TREES
Designated as those attaining a height of 30 to 45 feet.
PARKS
Any Borough public spaces designated for recreation and/or conservation.
PERSON
A natural person, partnership, limited partnership, firm, association or corporation.
PROPERTY LINE
The legal boundary line between private and Borough-owned land.
PROPERTY OWNER
That person owning such property as shown by the block and lot records of Allegheny County, State of Pennsylvania.
PUBLIC AREA
A public street right-of-way, public way, public alley, public sidewalk or public park.
PUBLIC SITE
Any other ground owned by the Borough.
PUBLIC TREES
Includes all trees now or hereafter growing on any street, park or any other public site.
REMOVE or REMOVAL
The removal of all above- and below-ground parts, including the stump and roots.
SHADE TREE
A tree that is grown primarily to produce shade, such as an oak or maple tree, with any flowers or fruit being of secondary importance.
SMALL TREES
Designated as those under 30 feet. A "street tree" is any shade tree or ornamental tree, shrub, bush or other woody vegetation located within the right-of-way of any public street, highway or public alley in the Borough. (The street right-of-way extends well beyond the physical street.)
STREETS, ALLEY, HIGHWAYS OR WAYS
The entire width of every public way or right-of-way when any part thereof is open to the use of the public, as a matter of right, for purposes of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
A. 
Any living plant with needles or scale-type leaves that has a well-defined stem or stems with a diameter of at least six inches at 4 1/2 feet from the surface from the ground.
B. 
Any living, self-supporting woody broadleaf plant that has a well-defined stem or stems with a diameter of at least two inches at 4 1/2 feet from the surface of the ground.
C. 
Any living, self-supporting woody plant that has a well-defined stem or stems which has been intentionally cultivated and established.
TREE LAWN
That part of a street not covered by a sidewalk or other paving, lying between the property line and that portion of the street usually used for vehicular traffic.
A. 
Public tree care. The Borough shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove all public trees as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of public sites. The Borough may remove, or cause to be removed, any public 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 disease, insect or fungus.
B. 
Distance requirements.
(1) 
No tree shall be planted closer that 30 feet from any street corner, measured from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curblines.
(2) 
No tree shall be planted closer than 10 feet from any fire hydrant.
(3) 
All trees are to be planted equidistant from curb or street line and sidewalk line in concurrence of Borough of Springdale approval.
(4) 
No trees may be planted closer that 30 feet from any other tree, except in special plantings designed or approved by the Borough of Springdale or its designee.
C. 
Additional plantings. This section does not prohibit the planting of a tree along streets by property owners, providing that the selection of said tree is in accordance with the Borough of Springdale. No property owner shall plant a tree within the right-of-way without first obtaining a permit from the Zoning Officer.
D. 
Abuse and/or mutilation of public trees. Unless specifically authorized by the Borough Code Enforcement Officer, no person or firm shall intentionally damage, cut, carve, transplant or remove any public tree; attach any rope, wire, nails, advertising posters or other contrivance to any public tree;, allow any gaseous liquid or solid substance which is harmful to such trees to come in contact with them; or set fire or permit any fire to burn when such fire or heat therefrom will injure any portion of any public tree. No person shall pour salt water or a chemical or chemicals upon any street or right-of-way in such a way as to injure any tree planted or growing thereon.
E. 
Placing materials on public property. No person shall deposit, place, store or maintain, upon any public place of the Borough, any stone, brick, sand, concrete or other materials which may impede the free passage of water, air and fertilizer to the roots of any public tree growing therein, except by written approval of the Borough of Springdale Code Enforcement Officer.
F. 
Protection of public trees.
(1) 
All public trees located near any excavation or construction of any building, structure, or street work shall be guarded with a good substantial fence, frame or box not less than four feet high placed at the dripline. All laborers, building material, dirt or other debris shall be kept outside the barrier. The Borough of Springdale Council/Zoning Hearing Board may permit a variance in cases where the barrier would impede the flow of traffic on a street, private street or driveway and where the dripline overhangs a building or permanent structure.
(2) 
No person shall excavate any ditches or trenches within the dripline of a public tree or lay any drive within 15 feet of a public tree without first obtaining the written approval of the Borough of Springdale Code Enforcement Officer.
A. 
Replanting. Whenever it is necessary to remove a public tree in connection with the paving of a sidewalk or the widening of the portion of a street or highway, the Borough of Springdale shall cause to replant the tree or replace it with a species listed in this chapter. This requirement will be satisfied if an equivalent number of trees are planted at the nearest appropriate location as determined by Springdale Borough.
B. 
Other than Borough employees on Borough business, no person shall remove or cause removal of a public tree for the purpose of construction or any other reason without the written permission of Springdale Borough. Springdale Borough may require replacement of a removed tree as a condition to said Borough's approval. Such replacement shall be in accordance with the species listed in this chapter. The person or property owner shall bear the cost of removal and replacement of all public trees removed.
C. 
Topping of public trees. It shall be unlawful for any person, utility, firm or Borough department to top any public tree. "Topping" is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. Public 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 exempt from this part at the determination of Springdale Borough.
It shall be the duty of any person owning real property bordering on any street, upon which private property there may be trees, to prune such trees in such manner that they will not obstruct or shade the streetlights, obstruct the passage of pedestrians on sidewalks, obstruct the vision of traffic signs or obstruct the view of any street intersection. Said persons shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees, or broken decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public in accordance to the rules and regulations set forth by Springdale Borough. The minimum clearance of any overhanging portion thereof shall be eight feet over sidewalks and 15 feet over all streets.
A. 
Notice to prune. Should any person or persons owning real property bordering on any street fail to preserve, maintain or remove as hereinabove provided, Springdale Borough Council shall order such person or persons, 30 days after receipt of written notice, to preserve, maintain or remove.
B. 
Order required. The order herein shall be served by regular mail or by personal service or posting to the last known address of the property owner.
C. 
Failure to comply. When a person to whom an order is directed shall fail to comply within the specified time, it shall be lawful for the Borough to prune such trees and to recover from the property owner the cost of services rendered, and to lien the property for such costs and all costs associated with such lien.
The Borough shall have the right to cause the removal of any trees on property within the Borough when such trees constitute a hazard to life and property of others or is affected with any injurious disease, insect or fungus.
A. 
Notice to remove. Should any person or persons fail to remove trees as herein provided, the Springdale Borough Code Enforcement Officer shall order such person or persons, within 10 days after receipt of written notice, to remove such trees.
B. 
Order required. The order herein shall be served by regular mail or by personal service or posting to the last known address of the property owner.
C. 
Failure to comply. When a person to whom an order is directed shall fail to comply within the specified time, it shall be lawful for the Borough to remove such trees and to recover from the property owner the cost of services rendered, and to lien the property for such costs and all costs associated with such lien.
A permit issued by the Borough shall be required of any one owner removing or causing the removal of any public or private tree whose hazard zone falls upon public land. The requirements for said permit shall be as follows:
A. 
The permit fee shall be established by resolution of Council.
B. 
Springdale Borough Zoning Hearing Board will render a decision within 45 days after the date of application. Decisions shall state the reasons for approval or nonapproval, and also state remedies as well as deadlines to appeal to Council.
C. 
In the event of an emergency, a Springdale Borough designee may, upon review with Springdale Borough and/or tree expert, issue a permit for the appropriate work to be performed.
A. 
No public utility or contractor in the employ of a public utility shall maintain, trim or remove trees located in the public right-of-way within Springdale Borough without approval from Springdale Borough.
B. 
A written plan indicating the type of tree, location of tree, proposed work to be performed on the tree(s) and amount of time for work is to be forwarded to the Borough Manager's office.
C. 
The written plan shall be forwarded to the Borough Manager's office 60 days in advance of proposed work.
D. 
The written plan will be reviewed by the Borough's arborist or tree expert with recommendations(s) forwarded to Springdale Borough Council.
E. 
Springdale Borough will review and approve, approve with conditions or disapprove the plan. All decisions rendered by the Springdale Borough Council shall state the reasons for approval, approval with conditions or disapproval. Also contained in decisions shall be stated the rights of applicant to appeal.
F. 
Before work can begin, the public utility and its contractors shall deliver certificates of insurance for liability insurance coverage and workmen's compensation insurance.
G. 
In the event of emergencies due to acts of God or acts of nature, trimming or removal may be done to the minimal extent for public safety and property, prior notice shall be given to the Borough Manager or designee.
H. 
In the event any public utility removes or trims trees without approval of Springdale Borough Council, it shall be subject to a fine of not more than $600, plus costs and legal restitution, and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of the part of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense. If, as the result of the violation of any provision of this chapter, the injury, mutilation or death of a tree is caused, the cost of replacement value of trees shall be determined in accordance with the latest revisions of Valuation of Landscape Trees, Shrubs and Other Plants, as published by the International Society of Arboriculture, and said replacement paid for by the public utility.
No person shall hinder, prevent, delay or interfere with Springdale Borough, or any of its agents, while engaged in carrying out the execution or enforcement of this chapter on public or private property; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed as an attempt to prohibit the pursuit of any remedy, legal or equitable, in any court of competent jurisdiction for the protection of property rights by the owner of any property within the Borough.
Any adjustment of the standards required by this chapter or an appeal of a decision of the Springdale Borough Code Enforcement Officer shall be taken to Borough Council. Council, upon receipt of the request in approved Borough form, shall have the authority and duty to consider and act upon the request. This application shall clearly and in detail state what adjustments or requirements are being sought, reasons such adjustments or requirements are being sought, reasons such adjustments are warranted and shall be accompanied with such supplementary data as is deemed necessary to substantiate the adjustment. Council may approve, modify or deny the requested adjustment, based upon the protection of public interest, preservation of the intent of this chapter and possible unreasonable hardships involved in the case. Council shall act on the application as expeditiously as possible and shall notify the applicant, in writing, within 20 days of action taken.
Any person or firm violating any provision of this chapter or who fails to comply with any notice issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $600, plus costs, and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Each day during which any violation of the provisions of this chapter, the injury, mutilation or death of a tree is caused, the cost of replacement value of such tree shall be borne by the party in violation. The replacement value of trees shall be determined in accordance with the latest revision of Valuation of Landscape Trees, Shrubs and Other Plants as published by the International Society of Arboriculture and said replacement value paid by the public utility.
Acer rubrum 'Franksred' — Red sunset red maple (do not use within five feet of sidewalks; aggressive root system)
Acer x freemanni 'Celzam' — Celebration Freeman maple (do not use within five feet of sidewalks; aggressive root system)
Aesculus x carnea 'Briotii' — Ruby red horsechestnut (less midsummer scorch than hippocastanum)
Cercidiphyllum japonecum tree form — Katsura tree (requires more water during establishment years than most other trees)
Corylus colurna (tree form) — Turkish hazel or Turkish filbert
Eucommia ulmoides — Hardy rubber tree (not pretty but can be useful)
Ginkgo biloba (any male variety) — Ginkgo (male example is Princeton Sentry)
Gleditsia triacanthos (any thornless, seedless, variety) — Honeylocust
Gymnocladus dioicus (male variety only) — Kentucky coffeetree
Liriodendrom tulipifera — Tulip tree (open lawn or large parking island)
Metasequoia glytostroboides — Dawn Redwood (requires larger-than-usual pit is used as a street tree, or use in open planting areas)
Nyssa sylvatica — Blackgum
Ostrya virginiana — American Hop-hornbeam
Platanus x acerifolia "Bloodgood" London planetree
Quercus bicolor — Swamp white oak
Quercus rubra — Northern red oak
Quercus palustris — Pin oak
Sophora japonica — Scholartree (flower issues make this an open space tree not suited to sidewalk use)
Taxodium distichum — Bald cypress (for large areas)
Tilia tomentosa — Silver linden (open space tree)
Ulmus parvifolia — Lacebark elm/Chinese elm
Ulmus Hybrids — disease-resistant trees like "Homestead," "Pioneer," "Accolade," "Frontier," "Liberty" and "Urban"
Zelkova serrata — Zelkova ("green vase" is not recommended in commercial areas where it may block signage)
Utility-compatible trees
Group A (under-wire use)
Group A applies to most plantings under utility lines. This is necessary because most wires are less than 25 feet above the ground. Where possible, offset trees so they are not directly under the wires.
Acer ginnala — Amur maple, 15 feet to 20 feet
Acer Tataricum — Tatarian maple, 15 feet to 25 feet
Crataegus crus-galli var. 'Inermis' — Thornless cockspur hawthorn, 15 feet to 20 feet
Crataegus laevigata 'Superba' — Crimson cloud hawthorn (tree form), 15 feet to 20 feet
Magnolia stellata — Star magnolia (tree form), 10 feet to 20 feet
Malus cultivars — crabapple (disease resistance emphasized), all under 22 feet
Adams, Amsalzam, Centurion, Donald Wyman, Harvest Gold, Prairifire, Professor
Sprenger, Red Jewel, Robinson, Sentinel, Sugar Tyme, Strawberry Parfait (always specify tree from the crabapple selection)
(Fruit makes Malus undesirable in commercial areas)
Malus floribunda — Japanese flowering crabapple, under 25 feet
Malus sieboldii x zumi 'Calocarpa' — Zumi crabapple, under 25 feet
Malus 'Spring Snow' tree form — Spring snow crabapple, 15 feet to 20 feet (fruit makes Malus undesirable in commercial areas)
Group B (use only under wires 25 feet and higher)
Group B applies only to utility plantings where the bottom wire is over 25 feet above the ground.
Where possible, offset trees so they are not directly under the wires.
Acer buergeranum — Triden maple (tree form), 20 feet to 30 feet
Acer compestre — Hedge maple (tree form), 25 feet to 40 feet
Acer campestre 'Evelyn' — Queen Elizabeth hedge maple, 30 feet to 40 feet
Acer griseum — Paperbark maple, 25 feet to 35 feet
Amelanchier laevis 'Cumulus' or 'majestic' — Apple serviceberry, 20 feet to 30 feet
Amelanchier x grandiflora — Serviceberry (many cultivars), 20 feet to 30 feet
Carpinus betulus 'Fastigiata' — European hornbeam (tree form), 30 feet to 40 feet
Carpinus caroliniana — American hornbeam (useful in full shade), 20 feet to 35 feet
Cercis canadensis — Eastern redbud, 25 feet to 30 feet
Cornus kousa — Kousa dogwood (esp. Rutgers hybrids), 20 feet to 30 feet
Koelreuteria paniculata — Goldenrain tree, 25 feet to 40 feet
Magnolia 'Galaxy' — Galaxy magnolia (tree form), 20 feet to 30 feet
Phellodendron amurence — Amur corktree, 30 feet to 40 feet
Purnus sargentii — 'Columnar' — Sargent cherry, 30 feet
Prunus serrulata 'Amanogawa' — Japenese flowering cherry, 25 feet to 35 feet
Prunus virginiana 'Shubert" — Shubert chokecherry, 20 feet to 30 feet
Sorbus species — Mountain ash 15 feet to 35 feet (in limited quantities)
Syringa reticulate 'Summer Snow,' 'Ivory Silk' — Japanese tree lilac, 20 feet to 25 feet
Acer platanoides — Norway maple
Acer pseudoplatanus — Sycamore maple
Ailanthus altissima — Tree-of-heaven
Albizia julibrissin — Mimosa
Elaeagnus angustifolia — Russian olive
Elaeagnus umbellate — Autumn olive
Liquidambar Styraciflua — Sweetgum (all varieties)
Morus alba — White mulberry
Paulownia tomentosa — Princess tree
Pinus thumbergiana — (Delaware) Japanese black pine
Populus alba — White poplar
Pyrus calleryana (and all cultivars) — Callery pear
Rhamnus spp. — Buckthorn spp.
Salix — Willow (all varieties)
Ulmus parvifolia (Wisconsin) — Chinese elm (Drake)
Ulmus pumila — Siberian elm
Ulmus spp. x any Chinese or Siberian elm — Select hybrid elms, i.e., Frontier