[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Bedford 7-15-1997. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Historic Districts — See Ch. 71.
Open spaces and areas — See Ch. 85.
Steep slopes — See Ch. 102.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 107.
Wetlands — See Ch. 122.
Zoning — See Ch. 125.
Editor's Note: Former Chapter 112, Tree Preservation, adopted 8-13-1986, was repealed 7-15-1997.
The Town Board finds that trees stabilize the soil, control water pollution by preventing soil erosion and flooding, reduce air pollution, provide oxygen, yield advantageous microclimatic effects, temper noise, provide a natural habitat for wildlife and have aesthetic and historic value. Indiscriminate removal of trees causes deprivation of these benefits and disrupts the town's ecological systems. It is the purpose of this chapter to prevent the indiscriminate destruction of trees within the Town of Bedford while respecting the rights of residents and owners to maintain and improve their properties.
The Town takes note of the findings of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, among them being the obligation of the Town to serve as a steward of air, water, land and living resources and the obligation to protect the environment for the use of this and future generations. It is the intent of the Town to recognize these responsibilities in part by providing these procedures as well as to preserve the health and welfare and rural character of the community which is reflected in the trees and woodlands of the Town of Bedford.
The Town also recognizes that the forest resource in the Town is a renewable resource of significant value and, if properly harvested, could improve the health, vigor, value and aesthetics of the forest. The Town recognizes that if tree harvesting practices are poorly carried out they can result in significant environmental and aesthetic damage to the land and to adjacent lands and waters. One of the intents of this chapter is to assure that those harvesting activities that most readily affect the environment, such as the location of stream crossings, landings, haul roads and skid trails, are carried out with the use of professional forest management techniques, particularly to control soil erosion and sediment-laden runoff.
The following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- dbh (diameter at breast height)
- The diameter of a tree measured at a point 41/2 feet above the ground.
- DEAD TREE
- A tree that lacks vitality, is lifeless and without foliage.
- LANDMARK/SPECIAL TREE
- Any tree, chosen for geographical, historical or environmental reasons, on a list designated by resolution of the Town Board as the "Landmark/Special Tree List" and kept on file with the Town Clerk.
- A living, woody plant with an erect perennial trunk of six inches or more dbh with a definitely formed crown of foliage and a total height of at least 13 feet from the ground.
- TREE REMOVAL
- Any act which causes a tree to die.
The Town Board will designate an Enforcement Officer to administer and enforce this chapter.
The Enforcement Officer shall:
Receive and keep accurate records of tree removal permit applications.
Inspect the trees described in each application based on the standards for granting permits described herein, both before and after removal takes place.
Grant, grant with conditions or deny tree removal permits according to the standards in this chapter, giving reasons for denial and specifying conditions for such tree removal as specified below.
Carry out such related duties as may be specified from time to time by the Town Board.
General regulations. A tree removal permit will be required before removal of any of the following:
Any tree 18 inches and over dbh.
Any tree designated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a protected native plant.
Any landmark/special tree as defined above.
Any tree over eight inches dbh within 150 feet from the center line of any road or road segment designated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation or the Town Board of the Town of Bedford as a scenic road.
Any tree within the common lands and facilities of a conservation development, as described in § 125-54H of the Code of the Town of Bedford.
More than the number of trees listed below on a single property of the indicated size within any calendar year:
More than 10 trees on properties of four acres or less.
More than 20 trees on properties of six acres or less and more than four acres.
More than 30 trees on properties of eight acres or less and more than six acres.
More than 40 trees on properties of 10 acres or less and more than eight acres.
More than 50 trees on properties of more than 10 acres.
Any tree within any wetland as defined in Chapter 122 of this Code, except as specifically permitted by the Wetlands Control Commission.
Any tree on any steep slope as defined in Chapter 102 of this Code, except as specifically permitted by the Planning Board.
Any tree within the areas designated as areas of significant vegetation on the Natural Resource Inventory Maps of the Town of Bedford.
Exceptions. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no permit shall be required for the removal of:
Any dead tree.
Trees posing a danger to a structure or to vehicle or pedestrian traffic.
Trees the removal of which is needed to control forest fires during such fires.
Trees the removal of which is necessary to maintain rights-of-way of public utilities, provided that such removal is conducted according to lawful easements, statutory requirements and franchise agreements, and provided that the agency file with the Enforcement Officer a plan showing the areas of removal before commencing such operations, except when required emergency removal makes such filing impractical.
Standards. The Enforcement Officer shall grant or grant with conditions a tree removal permit unless one of the following conditions for denial is found to exist:
The trees proposed for removal include landmark/special trees or trees designated as threatened or endangered on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation list of protected native plants.
The removal will have significant adverse impact on ecological systems, including erosion potential and wildlife habitat.
The removal will have significant adverse impact on other properties or roadways, including impact on screening or drainage.
Approval granted by other agencies. Approvals granted by the Planning Board, the Wetlands Control Commission and the Building Inspector shall be deemed tree removal permits when tree removal or preservation is specifically proposed in conjunction with applications submitted to such agencies. These agencies shall apply the criteria, procedures and standards of this chapter and shall consider how tree removal might be reduced by changes to the application being considered. The opinion of the Enforcement Officer or the Tree Advisory Board may be sought to assist such agencies in their determinations. These agencies shall record in their determinations the specific tree removal which they approve.
Except when tree removal is being proposed as part of an application to the Planning Board, Wetlands Control Commission or Building Inspector, the applicant shall file with the Enforcement Officer a tree removal permit application. The application shall include:
Name and address of the applicant.
Name and address of the property owner, if different.
Address and Town Tax Map designation of the property.
Purpose of removal.
If a purpose of removal is the sale of trees or tree products for use off the property:
A certification that the plan was developed and approved by a professional forester in the New York State cooperating consultant forester program (retained by the applicant), which shall include a description of the manner and location of removal and the plans for restoration of disturbed areas.
A timber sales summary showing a tally of trees to be removed by species, size and number of trees in each class, and a sketch layout of access roads, bridges and other improvements.
If the purpose of removal is a forest management program administered under New York State Real Property Tax Law § 480-a, a forest management plan and certificate of approval, which shall suffice for approval of the permit and which shall be submitted for review to the Enforcement Officer to assure compliance with the Code of the Town of Bedford.
If removal is conducted under Title 7, Cooperative Forest Management Program, §§ 9-0701 and 9-0713 (the stewardship incentive program), of the Environmental Conservation Law, a copy of the forest management plan, which shall suffice for approval of the permit and which shall be submitted for review to the Enforcement Officer to assure compliance with the Code of the Town of Bedford.
Color photographs or slides showing the areas and environment where trees are to be removed, with sufficient detail to identify the remaining trees in the area after work is completed.
A survey or sketch of that section to be disturbed, showing the number, location and common name of all trees to be removed, the dbh of each and the distance of each from nearby structures, roads or other landmarks which will enable the trees to be easily identified.
Submission of a tree removal permit application shall constitute permission for the Enforcement Officer and/or a professional consultant especially retained for this purpose by the Town to enter upon the property described in the application, at reasonable times with prior notice to and agreement by the applicant, which agreement shall not be unreasonably withheld, to carry out the inspections required in this chapter and to otherwise enforce its provisions.
The Enforcement Officer shall approve, approve with conditions or deny a tree removal permit application within 21 days after receipt of a complete application. If no action is taken by the Enforcement Officer within 21 days after receipt of the complete application, it shall be deemed to be approved as submitted.
A tree removal permit shall expire 24 months after it is granted.
The Enforcement Officer or the enforcing agencies listed in § 112-4D above may seek the advice of the Tree Advisory Board and may impose conditions upon the granting of a tree removal permit, including:
Days and hours of removal operations, size and number of trucks and routes to be followed.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Timber Harvesting Guidelines, including location of stream crossings, landings, skid trails and haul roads, the restoration of the effects of such removal and the obtaining of all permits required by town, state or other agencies for such operation.
Replanting or other mitigation to prevent erosion, provide screening, preserve ecological systems or remediate effects on neighboring properties.
Reasonable relocation of proposed surface or subsurface improvements.
Marking of trees to be removed in a way that the markings are visible both before and after tree removal.
In case of removal of more than the number of trees specified in § 112-4A(7) above, a performance bond to assure compliance with this chapter and the conditions imposed, with such bond, if one of its purposes is to assure replanting, to have a minimum term of two years.
Such safeguards as are appropriate to mitigate the environmental impact of removal operations, including but not limited to a report from an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture or a professional forester in the New York State cooperating consultant forester program (retained by the applicant).
Tree protection as described by the Westchester County Planning Department in Chapter 5 of the Best Management Practices Manual Series for Erosion and Sediment Control.
A tree removal permit application shall be accompanied by a fee to be set in a fee schedule determined by the Town Board, except when the applicant is the Town of Bedford.
The owner of record of any property on which trees subject to this chapter are removed without the granting of a tree removal permit or are removed in violation of conditions attached to a tree removal permit, or any person removing or in the process of removing such trees, shall be guilty of an offense which may be punishable by a fine of not more than $350, by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, by a direction or order of a court directing the violator to restore the property and to replace removed trees by comparable trees according to a plan approved by the Enforcement Officer, or by all of the above. Each tree removed without a tree removal permit or in violation of the conditions attached to a tree removal permit shall constitute a separate offense. When such restoration is directed, no site plan approval, building permit, certificate of compliance, certificate of occupancy, variance, wetlands permit or any other permit shall be issued by any Town agency until such replacement has been completed and approved by the Enforcement Officer.
The foregoing provisions for enforcement of the regulations in this chapter are not exclusive, but are in addition to any and all laws applicable thereto.
Any applicant aggrieved or affected by the determination of the Enforcement Officer with respect to an application for a tree removal permit may, within 10 business days of such determination, appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals, stating the reason for such appeal. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall conduct a hearing on the appeal within 60 calendar days of receipt of such appeal and shall, based upon the standards contained herein and the facts of the matter, deny, grant or grant with conditions the permit being sought.
Any person or persons jointly or severally aggrieved by a decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals pursuant to this chapter may apply to the Supreme Court for review by a proceeding under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules. Such proceeding shall be instituted within 30 days after the filing of a decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals in the office of the Town Clerk.
For the purposes of advising the Enforcement Officer, the Building Inspector, the Planning Board, the Wetlands Control Commission, the Town Board, the Department of Public Works, the Recreation Department and other agencies and officials of the Town of Bedford and the residents of the Town of Bedford on matters related to the preservation, planting and removal of trees and on the tree removal and planting programs of the Town, the Town Board establishes the Tree Advisory Board.
[Amended 8-5-2008 by L.L. No. 7-2008]
The Tree Advisory Board shall be composed of up to nine members, each appointed by the Town Board to serve five-year terms, except that when the Tree Advisory Board is initially constituted, one member shall be appointed to a term of five years, one member to a term of four years, one member to a term of three years, one member to a term of two years and one member to a term of one year. Members shall be residents of the Town of Bedford. One member shall be designated Chair by the Town Board. The Enforcement Officer shall be a member of the Board, ex officio.
[Amended 8-5-2008 by L.L. No. 7-2008]
The Tree Advisory Board shall in addition:
Meet at least quarterly at the call of the Chair.
Make an annual report to the Town Board recommending actions that the Town might take to protect and enhance the trees of the Town, including recommendations for new or amended legislation, landmark trees, enforcement actions, an inventory of street trees and other significant trees in the Town and a community forestry work plan addressing the planting, maintenance and removal of trees.
Should any paragraph, section or portion of this chapter be declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unlawful, the same shall not affect the remainder of this chapter as a whole or any part thereof other than the part so declared to be invalid.
This chapter shall take effect immediately upon its adoption, printing and posting thereof as provided by law.