Shade Tree Commission — See Ch. 54.
§ 247-1Custody and control vested in Shade Tree Commission.
§ 247-2Trimming of trees overhanging streets and sidewalks.
§ 247-3Administrative official designated.
§ 247-4Regulations of Shade Tree Commission.
§ 247-5Violations and penalties.
The Commission shall have exclusive custody and control of all shade trees in and upon the rights-of-way of the Borough, of trees on private property whose branches extend over and above any such highways, of trees on private property whose continued existence shall be a menace to the public using such highways and on all other property owned by the Borough, with the authority to plant, transplant, maintain and remove such trees.
Whenever said Commission proposes to plant, transplant or remove shade trees on any rights-of-way, notice of the time and place of the meeting at which such work is to be considered shall be given once a week for two weeks immediately preceding the meeting in a newspaper with general circulation in the Borough, which notice shall specify the type of work to be done and the location thereof.
The cost of planting, transplanting or removing any shade trees in the street or electric rights-of-way of the Borough, of the necessary and suitable guards, curbing or grading for the protection thereof and of the replacing of any pavement or sidewalk necessarily disturbed in the execution of such work shall be paid by the owner of the real estate adjacent to or abutting the right-of-way on which the work is done. Whenever the Commission plants, transplants or removes any shade tree in the public right-of-way, the amount each owner is to pay shall be ascertained and certified by the Commission to the Council for approval.
The cost and expense of caring for trees now planted or hereafter planted by said Commission in the public highways of the Borough and the rights-of-way of the Borough-owned electric system shall be paid by the Borough, the necessary amount being certified by the Commission to the Council each year and appropriated by them in like manner as other moneys for Borough purposes.
In case the owner of such property shall neglect or refuse to plant, remove, transplant or protect such trees upon being notified, in writing, by the Borough so to do and within the time specified by such notice, the Borough may, after the expiration of the date specified in said notice, cause such work to be done at the expense of the owner, and the entire cost thereof, plus 10%, shall be a lien upon said premises and shall be filed and collected by the Borough in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected by law.
All trees shall be kept trimmed so that the minimum height of all limbs and foilage overhanging sidewalks, streets or public rights-of-way shall be 90 inches or 7 1/2 feet above sidewalk pavement level and 10 feet above the paved street or alley cartway level. This requirement extends to all trees standing on private property or beyond the public right-of-way with respect to branches projecting over a sidewalk, street or public right-of-way. The trimming of every such tree shall be the responsibility of the owner of the property on or in front of which such tree is located. In case any property owner shall fail to comply with the provisions of this chapter, after notice given by the Borough Council, within the time limit set forth in such notice, the work of trimming such tree or trees shall be done by the Borough under the direction of the Borough Council, and the cost of such work, with any additional penalty authorized by law, shall be collected by the Borough from the property owner responsible for such work as other debts are, by law, collectible.
Regulations of the Shade Tree Commission shall be administered by the Borough Manager.
The following regulations of the Shade Tree Commission of the Borough of Middletown, as adopted at a meeting of said Commission held November 21, 1961, are hereby approved by the Borough Council of the Borough of Middletown, Pennsylvania:
As used in these regulations, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The public right-of-way as ordained by Borough ordinance and shown on the Borough map.
- A permit, in writing, as issued by the Borough Manager of the Borough of Middletown.
- Any individual, partnership, firm, association or corporation.
- SHADE TREE
- Any shade tree, shrub or other woody plant on any public right-of-way in the Borough of Middletown or that part of any shade tree, shrub or other woody plant which extends within the lines of any public right-of-way in said Borough.
Application shall be made, in writing, to the Borough Manager, upon forms furnished by the Borough and approved by the Shade Tree Commission, for a permit to plant or remove shade trees in the rights-of-way in the Borough of Middletown.
It shall be the duty of the Borough Manager to submit every application promptly to the Shade Tree Commission for approval or disapproval. The permit shall be effective for such length of time as the Commission shall in each case determine, which shall be indicated on the permit, and such permit may be revoked at any time at the direction of the Commission upon proof satisfactory to the Commission that the terms and conditions upon which the permit had been issued are being or have been violated.
The permit shall specify the particular kind of work or operation the applicant desires to perform thereunder and shall state the exact location and species of any tree or trees affected.
The Commission may, in its discretion, as a condition precedent to the issuing of the permit, require the applicant to file a bond satisfactory to the Borough Solicitor or to deposit securities satisfactory to it to guarantee the compliance by the applicant with the terms and conditions upon which the permit is issued.
It shall be unlawful for any person to injure in any manner any shade tree; to interfere in any way with the main roots of any shade tree, except upon permission of the Borough Manager; to place on a shade tree any rope, guy wire or cable, except for the temporary protection of the tree; to place any signs, posters or other fixtures on a tree or tree guard; or to injure, misuse or remove any device placed to protect shade trees, except in case of immediate necessity for protection of life or property.
The Commission may refuse a permit to plant any species of tree in a public right-of-way which, in its opinion, is not suited to the location. Also, the Commission may require removal of trees to permit planting of trees that are more suitable to the location. The cost of tree removal and planting new trees shall be at the expense of the owner of the real estate adjacent to or abutting the right-of-way on which the work is done. Whenever the Commission plants, transplants or removes any shade tree in a public right-of-way, the amount each owner is to pay shall be ascertained and certified by the Commission to the Council for approval.
The Commission reserves the right, where conditions make it expedient, to require trimming of branches of any tree overhanging any sidewalk, street or public right-of-way, wheresoever located, including trees standing on private property, to produce a clearance or minimum height specified by the Commission in excess of that mandated in § 247-2. Any branches obscuring a traffic warning or regulatory sign shall be removed, and any person violating this Subsection E shall be subject to the penalties prescribed in § 247-5.
No person shall, without first obtaining a permit, place or hereafter maintain any stone, cement or other substance which shall impede the passage of water and air to the roots of any shade tree, unless such person shall leave an open space of ground surrounding the trunk of the tree, such space to be not less than four feet square.
Guards shall be placed at all shade trees on public rights-of-way which may be affected by any building operation or construction project prior to the commencement of work so as to effectually prevent injury to them.
No person shall pour saltwater, oil or other materials at any place in such a manner that injury may result to any shade tree on a public right-of-way.
No person shall, without first obtaining a permit therefor, attach any electric wire, insulator or any device for the holding of an electric wire to any shade tree.
Every person having any wire or wires charged with electricity running through a public highway shall securely fasten such wire or wires so they shall not come in contact with any tree so as to injure the same.
Whenever, in order to take down or prune any shade tree in the public highway or having branches extending over the public highway, it shall be deemed necessary to remove any wire or wires, every person having any such wire or wires running through a public highway shall temporarily remove the same or cut off the flow of current therefrom within 24 hours after service of written notice from the Borough so to do.
Any person who shall violate or fail to comply with any of the regulations of the Shade Tree Commission of the Borough of Middletown shall be liable, upon conviction thereof, to a fine or penalty not exceeding $600, plus costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days, for each and every offense. Whenever such person shall have been notified by the Shade Tree Commission or by service or summons in prosecution or in any other way that he is committing such violation, each day on which he shall continue such violation after any such notification shall constitute a separate offense punishable by like fine or penalty. Such fines or penalties shall be collected as prescribed by law.