[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Springfield 12-14-1994 as Ch. XVII of the 1994 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Permit required; prohibitions. No person shall do any of the following acts to or affecting any tree on a street without a prior permit from the Township:
Cut, prune, climb with spikes, break, damage, remove or kill.
Cut, disturb or interfere in any way with any root of a tree.
Spray with any chemical.
Fasten any rope, wire, sign or other device thereto. Nothing herein shall prevent any governmental agency from affixing in a manner approved by the Township a public notice upon a tree in connection with administering governmental affairs.
Remove or damage any guard or device placed to protect any tree or shrub.
Conduct razing, removal or renovation of any structure where damage to any tree may result.
Place or distribute chemicals, including but not limited to salt, deleterious to tree health in such a manner or in such proximity to a tree that damage to a tree may result.
Maintain a stationary fire in such proximity to a tree, or maintain a device which vaporizes noxious fumes deleterious to tree health as a consequence of which damage to a tree may result.
Remove soil, either for trenching or otherwise.
No person shall plant or set out any shade tree or plant in any part of any public highway of the Township without first having obtained a written permit therefor from the Township, which permit shall set forth the kinds of trees or plants which may be set out and the conditions under which they may be planted or located, and any other terms and conditions deemed necessary by the Township.
The Township may grant to public utility companies a blanket permit for tree pruning for line clearance and for the installation and the maintenance of subsurface and aboveground plant construction, if there is interference with or endangerment to street trees.
Public utility companies, during periods of emergency, without specific prior permit, may install temporary attachments to trees and make emergency subsurface repairs.
Each public utility company shall exercise reasonable diligence in the maintenance of its plant construction so as to avoid damage to trees in the Township.
Issuance of permit. Requests for permits required by the provisions of this chapter for the performance of work shall be directed to the Construction Official.
The Township shall give reasonable notice to remove or cause the removal of a tree, or part of a tree, dangerous to public safety, unless public safety requires immediate removal, in which case no notice shall be necessary. Upon failure of any owner or tenant to remove the tree or part of the tree pursuant to the terms of the notice, the Township shall cause such removal. The costs of such removal shall be certified to the Township Council which shall examine the certificate and, if found correct, shall cause the costs to be assessed against the lands and premises to be added to and become and form part of the taxes next assessed and levied upon such land, the same to bear interest at the same rate as taxes, and be collected in the same manner as taxes.
Obstruction of sight distance.
No person, through planting of trees, shrubs or plant life, shall obstruct the sight distance on any street intersection.
Whenever necessary and expedient for the preservation of the public safety, the person in possession of the property as owner or tenant, upon notification by the Township, shall trim and cut all bushes, hedges and plant life, except shade trees, to a height of not more than 2 1/2 feet or to remove same if it is located in:
Obstruction of travel. It shall be the responsibility of the tenant or owner of property to maintain all shade or ornamental trees, hedges or shrubs growing on private property so that the lowest branches overhanging a sidewalk area are at a height to permit pedestrians to walk freely without interference.
There must be maintained about the base of the trunk of each shade tree or plant in the streets of the Township four square feet of open ground for a tree of six inches in diameter, and for every three inches of increase of such diameter there must be an increase of at least one square foot of open ground. Where any tree in or upon any public highway of or within the Township may now or hereafter be surrounded at the base of its trunk by ground which is not open, or by open ground of less quantity or measurement than that required by this section, the Township shall notify the owner of the property on or in front of which any such tree may be, to remove within a time fixed in the notice, so much of the cement, brick or other covering as may be necessary to give the space of open ground required herein. If the person notified shall not remove the covering by the time fixed, the Township may do so or cause to have it done and charged to the person notified for the work done and the money expended therefor, and if payment shall not be made 30 days from the date of billing. The amount shall be certified to the Township Council and entered as a lien against the property, in accordance with the procedures set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article III, Penalties and Enforcement.
In the erection or repair of a building or structure the owner shall place such guards around all nearby trees on the public highways as shall effectually prevent injury to them.
No person shall permit any animal owned by him/her, or under his/her control, to damage or destroy any tree or plant on a public thoroughfare, nor shall any person fasten any animal to any such tree or plant.
Every person having control over any wire charged with electricity running through a public thoroughfare in the Township shall securely fasten such wire so that it shall not come in contact with any tree or plant.
No person, without the written permission of the Township, shall attach or fasten any wire insulator, or other device for holding any wire, to any tree or shrub in any public highway or park.
It shall be unlawful for any person owning, using or having control of gas or other substance deleterious to tree life to allow such gas or other substance to come in contact with the soil surrounding the roots of any tree in any public thoroughfare or of any tree or plant in any park or parking strip in the Township in such manner as may injure or destroy the tree or plants.
It shall be unlawful for any person to cause any brine water, oil, liquid dye or other substance deleterious to tree life to flow into the soil about the base of a tree in any public thoroughfare, park or parking strip or onto a sidewalk, road or pavement at a point from which such substance may seep into the soil or in any other manner injure such tree.
No live tree exceeding three inches in diameter shall be cut down or removed except:
No material, machinery or temporary soil deposits shall be placed within six feet of any existing tree trunk or stem.
Any person aggrieved by the decision of any Township official with regard to the provisions of this chapter shall have the right to appeal therefrom within 10 days to the Township Council, which shall review the decision. Unless the decision is revoked or modified, it shall remain in full force and effect.