[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope 5-7-2018 by L.L. No. 3-2018. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town Board of Trustees of the Town of Mount Hope has determined that it is in the interest of the citizens of the Town of Mount Hope to promote and protect their health, safety and welfare of its residents and visitors, and to adopt a shade tree ordinance. The Town Board recognizes the role that trees play in the Town ecosystem and that they contribute to the quality of air, reduce noise and visual pollution, help to moderate climatic extremes and conserve energy, and the Board further recognizes the role trees play in enhancing property values and the general quality of life in the Town. In order to establish a responsible program for planting, maintenance, husbandry, or removal of trees or shrubs in the Town, the Town Board finds it necessary to establish a Shade Tree Commission and to adopt this chapter to provide an orderly framework to maximize the benefits afforded by trees within the Town.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PARK TREES
- Any trees, shrubs, bushes and all woody vegetation on land lying within public parks having names and in all areas owned by the Town and to which the public has access.
- PUBLIC TREES
- Any trees, shrubs, bushes and all woody vegetation on land lying within a public street or right-of-way within the Town.
The Shade Tree Commission of the Town of Mount Hope shall consist of five Commissioners who shall be appointed by the Town Board and who shall serve without compensation. The Shade Tree Commission shall inventory all public trees within the Town and shall study, investigate, and from time to time update the condition of all such public trees. The Shade Tree Commission shall periodically counsel the Town Board on how best to manage the public trees and shall prepare and update a written plan for the public safety, care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal or disposition of trees within the Town of Mount Hope easements, streets, and Town parks. This plan shall also include a provision for public education.
The Town Board of the Town of Mount Hope shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees and woody plants within the limits of all Town roads, rights-of-way, or parks. The Board, in appropriate cases, and upon consultation with the property owner, may remove or prune a tree which stands upon private property but which threatens the safety or welfare of those who may use a Town street or park.
The Shade Tree Commission may recommend the removal of any tree or part thereof within the limits of any street or public park which threatens the safety or welfare of any person or which by reason of its location or nature threatens any electric line, telephone line, gas line or any municipal water or sewer line or any public improvement, or which is affected by any injurious fungus, insect or other pest or disease.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or other entity to top any park tree or public tree. "Topping" is hereby defined as the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree's crown to such a degree as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes or certain trees interfering with utility lines or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical may be exempted from this subsection at the determination of the Shade Tree Commission.
All stumps of park trees and public 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.
Species of trees to be planted shall be selected from a list provided annually by the Shade Tree Commission.
The spacing of public trees shall be in accordance with the recommendations provided by the Shade Tree Commission.
No public tree shall be planted closer than 35 feet to any street comer measured from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curblines. No public tree shall be planted closer than 10 feet to any hydrant.
No person shall remove, destroy, or cause the removal or destruction of a tree on any Town street or in any Town park, or undertake construction or any activity which may significantly and prematurely detract from the health or growth of a tree, without first having obtained written permission for such removal or construction at the office of the Town Building Department. All applications must be approved by the Shade Tree Commission.
Any violation of this chapter shall constitute a violation within the meaning of the Penal Law of the State of New York, and an appearance ticket alleging such violation may be issued by any police officer having jurisdiction. A violation of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both.
The Town Board shall have the right to review the conduct, acts, and decisions of the Shade Tree Commission and of its individual Commissioners. Each Commissioner shall serve at the will of the Town Board.
Any person who is aggrieved by any decision of the Shade Tree Commission may appeal the decision within 10 days of the filing of the decision with the office of the Town Clerk. The appeal shall be heard by the Town Board within 30 days of the filing of the appeal in the office of the Town Clerk. The Town Board shall make and file its decision with the Town Clerk within five days of its hearing.
No license shall be required of any entity performing tree work that has been approved by the Town Board, Shade Tree Commission, or Town Highway Superintendent.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay, or interfere with the Shade Tree Commission or any of its agents while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying, or removing of any park trees or public trees or trees on private property as authorized by this chapter.