[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Great Neck as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted as Ch. 197, Art. I of the 1976 Code]
[Amended 2-4-2003 by L.L. No. 2-2003]
No person shall injure, deface, damage or destroy any trees or shrubs planted along the public streets, grass plots or sidewalks of the Village, or any building, structure, fence or ornamental thing which is the property of the Village.
[Adopted 5-2-1989 by L.L. No. 2-1989 (Ch. 197, Art. II of the 1976 Code)]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Art. II, Infestation.
The Board of Trustees of the Incorporated Village of Great Neck hereby finds that there is a direct relationship between preservation of and the planting of trees, shrubs and associated vegetation in sufficient number in the Village of Great Neck and the health, safety and welfare of Village residents, and that trees, shrubs and associated vegetation are related to the natural, scenic and aesthetic values and the physical and visual qualities of the environment which the Village is obligated to protect. Trees and such vegetation reduce noise, provide welcome shade to Village residents, preserve the balance of oxygen in the air by removing carbon dioxide and fostering air quality and create a bucolic and rural atmosphere in the Village, especially along the streets. Trees also stabilize the soil and control water pollution by preventing soil erosion and flooding, yield advantageous climatic effects and provide a natural habitat for wildlife.
[Amended 2-4-2003 by L.L. No. 2-2003]
The destructive and indiscriminate removal of trees and related vegetation causes increased Village costs for proper drainage control, impairs the benefits of occupancy of existing residential properties and impairs the stability and value of both improved and unimproved real property in the area of the destruction, and adversely affects the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Incorporated Village of Great Neck.
For the purposes of this article, the following terms, phrases and words shall have the following meanings:
- The owner, contract vendee or lessee of the real property or its duly authorized agent.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector of the Village of Great Neck.
- GROUND LEVEL
- The average of the ground level at the base of the tree.
- The natural growing characteristics of any tree which includes branch spread and distribution branch height above ground and root spread and distribution.
- A permit issued pursuant to the provisions of this article.
- Any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, public agency, public utility or organization of any kind, or agent thereof.
- REAL PROPERTY
- Includes all unimproved and improved real property within the Incorporated Village of Great Neck.
- SUBSTANTIAL ALTERATION
- Any cutting or drastic pruning or elevating the habitat of a tree which impairs or endangers the life of such tree or destroys its natural symmetry; and shall include, but not be limited, to heavy or unnecessary cutting of top branches and cutting of major lower limbs.
- The Village of Great Neck.
It shall be unlawful for any person without a permit to remove, destroy or substantially alter the habitat of any tree of six inches or more in diameter at a point four feet six inches above ground level on any real property located within the Village.
It shall be unlawful for any person who owns real property in the Village to suffer, permit or allow the removal destruction or substantial alteration of the habitat of any tree on said real property, which is six inches or more in diameter at a point four feet six inches above the ground level, unless a permit for such work has been issued.
This article shall not apply in any emergency situation in which the removal, destruction or substantial alteration of the habitat of any tree is necessary to prevent imminent danger to human life or to property.
Application for a permit shall be made to the Building Inspector, in whom authority for the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this article is vested. In the absence or inability of the Building Inspector to perform his duties hereunder, an Assistant Building Inspector or other person designated by resolution of the Board of Trustees shall perform the same.
The application shall be made on such forms as may be prescribed by the Building Inspector and shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
The name and address of the applicant.
The purpose of proposed removal or alteration.
The site of proposed removal or alteration.
A sketch or plan of the area indicating the following:
The decision of the Building Inspector shall be based upon the following criteria:
The condition of the tree or trees the applicant seeks to remove with respect to disease and danger of falling, proximity to existing or proposed structures and interference with utility services.
The necessity of the removal or alteration of the tree or trees in question.
The effect of the removal or alteration thereof on ecological systems.
The character established at the proposed site of removal or alteration with respect to existing vegetation management practices.
The impact of any removal or alteration upon existing screening of any public street bordering the property.
[Amended 2-4-2003 by L.L. No. 2-2003]
A permit issued hereunder shall automatically expire three months after the date on which the permit was issued.
[Amended 12-16-2003 by L.L. No. 17-2003]
The application fee herein shall be as prescribed from time to time by the Board of Trustees.
Private property. Any tree growing on real property, which is endangering or, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, constitutes a danger to a public street or public places or the members of the public using the same, or which in any way endangers the usefulness of a public sewer or public utility, or which by reason of infestation or blight endangers other trees in the Village, shall be removed or the habitat thereof altered by the owner of the real property as directed by the Building Inspector. In the event that the property owner fails to comply with the directive of the Building Inspector within the time specified by him, the Village may then take the action directed by the Building Inspector and assess the cost thereof against the property owner. The directive from the Building Inspector shall be in writing, shall clearly state the source of the danger, the action to be taken, the date by which such action must be taken and shall be served on the owner of the real property personally or by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, addressed to said owner at the last address for said owner on the tax records of the Village. If served by mail, the notice shall be deemed received three days after the notice is deposited in a depository maintained by the United States Postal Service.
Public property. Nothing herein shall limit the authority of the Superintendent of Public Works of the Village or his designee to remove or alter the habitat of any tree on public property which he deems necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Village residents.
Each such notice shall inform the owner that, if such notice was personally delivered, within 10 days from such personal delivery, or if such notice was only mailed and not personally delivered, within 13 days of the mailing of such notice, the owner may appeal to the Board of Trustees that the determination was in error and that such tree does not constitute a danger and/or that the action required by the Building Inspector is more than necessary and/or reasonably required to address any such danger. In the event that in the opinion of the Building Inspector a shorter period for such appeal is required in order to protect the health and safety of the persons and property within the Village, the periods set forth above may be reduced to the extent reasonable or necessary as determined by the Building Inspector.
[Added 3-19-2013 by L.L. No. 4-2013]
[Amended 6-26-1990 by L.L. No. 6-1990]
As a condition to the issuance of a permit under this section, the Building Inspector may require the replacement in kind of one or more of the trees to be cut down, removed or destroyed when the individual character of the tree or trees or the ecological setting requires special consideration. The location and time for planting of the replacement tree or trees shall be specified by the Building Inspector in the permit for removal. The applicant and the owner of the real property affected shall each be responsible for planting replacement trees as specified in the permit. Failure to comply with planting required by the Building Inspector shall constitute a violation of this section.
In order to guarantee any tree replacement required pursuant to Subsection A of this section, the Building Inspector, as a further condition to the issuance of a permit, shall require the applicant to deposit with the Village of Great Neck a sum of money, surety bond or letter of credit equal to the total estimated cost of such replacement in accordance with a schedule of costs adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Great Neck. The bond or letter of credit shall be in such form and issued by such sureties or banking institution as meet the requirements established by said Board of Trustees. If the applicant shall fail to replace a tree or trees in accordance with the directive of the Building Inspector, the Village may enter upon the property involved to make such replacement and may use any security deposited by applicant to defray the cost thereof.
Any person who cuts down, removes or destroys a tree or substantially alters the habitat of a tree and any owner or occupant of real property who causes, suffers or permits a tree on said property to be cut down, removed or destroyed, without first receiving a permit to do so, shall immediately replace same in kind.
[Amended 10-16-2007 by L.L. No. 12-2007]
Any person aggrieved by any act or determination of the Building Inspector in the exercise of the authority herein granted, in addition to such person’s statutory right to appeal to the Board of Appeals, shall have the right to seek a waiver or other relief from the provisions of this chapter from the Board of Trustees.
All appeals and applications for waivers or other relief shall be in writing, stating the decision appealed from and the reasons for the appeal.
[Amended 10-5-2004 by L.L. No. 16-2004]
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this article shall be deemed guilty of a violation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $5,000 for each tree illegally removed, destroyed or substantially altered; a fine of not more than $5,000 for each replacement tree not planted; and a fine of not more than $5,000 for any other such violation. Each such violation shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as such hereunder.
[Added 10-5-2004 by L.L. No. 16-2004]
In the event that any property owner or any other person performing work with the consent, expressed or implied, of the property owner shall violate any provision or condition of any permit or other approval of an application from any department, board, or committee of the Village by removing, destroying, or substantially altering the habit of a tree, or by suffering, permitting, or allowing the removal, destruction, or substantial alteration of the habit of a tree on such property, such permit or other approval shall be suspended. Such suspension shall continue and no further action shall be taken pursuant to such approval, until such person shall apply to the departments, boards, and/or committees which granted such permits or approvals for modifications thereof based upon the removal, destruction, or substantial alteration of the habit of such tree or trees. Upon such application, such departments, boards, and/or committees may modify such permits or approvals by implementing such conditions, including, but not limited to, the requirement that one or more new trees of the same height and/or caliper of the illegally removed tree or trees be planted and maintained for a specific period of time, not to exceed five years, or such other condition or conditions as such departments, boards, and/or committees might deem appropriate. Such conditions may also include a prohibition of any further work on such property until the replacement tree or trees have been planted and that a declaration of covenants and restrictions be recorded by the owner of the property, running with the land, to assure that such conditions with regard to such replacement trees shall be enforceable against all future owners.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this section, the Building Inspector shall have the authority to authorize and/or direct that the property owner and/or any other person performing work with the consent, express or implied, of the property owner take such actions as in the sole discretion of the Building Inspector are reasonable and/or necessary to maintain the property in a safe condition and to assure that all relevant stormwater, sediment and erosion control, and tree protection measures are implemented and maintained, and that such other actions, as the Building Inspector may determine to be in the best interests of the Village are implemented and maintained until such application has been made, a decision thereon has been rendered by such departments, boards, and/or committees, and the additional conditions, if any, of such departments, boards, and/or committees, has been implemented.