The Village of Scarsdale finds that trees within the Village provide an important contribution to the health, safety, aesthetics and general welfare of Scarsdale residents and the community at large. Trees provide shade and aesthetic appeal, enhance green space, improve air quality, reduce energy use and atmospheric carbon dioxide, provide and promote habitat for wildlife, impede soil erosion, aid water absorption, inhibit excess runoff and flooding, provide screening, offer a natural barrier to noise, provide other environmental benefits and generally enhance the quality of life within the Village. These social, economic, and ecological benefits often increase as trees mature and the Village community's investment in trees has accrued over many years. This investment can be rapidly lost and is not easily nor quickly replaced due to the long length of time for a tree to mature. The destruction of and damage to trees and the indiscriminate and excessive cutting of trees can create barren and unsightly conditions, as well as surface drainage problems, increase municipal costs to control drainage, impair the value of real property and adversely affect the environment, health and character of the community. This article seeks to address these conditions and promote the preservation of trees within the Village.
Terms as used in this chapter shall have the meanings:
- The diameter of a tree trunk measured at 54 inches above the ground on the uphill side.
- DISEASED TREE
- A tree not capable of being cured by a tree expert and capable of infestation of the disease to other trees and plant life.
- DISTRIBUTION LINE
- An electric line having a voltage of less than 69 kilovolts.
- A serious situation or occurrence that happens unexpectedly and demands immediate action
- Any corporation, limited liability company, partnership, limited partnership or other nonmunicipal enterprise recognized by the State of New York or its agents and contractors.
- HAZARDOUS TREE
- Any tree which meets two criteria: (1) a defect which will
likely result in a failure, as determined in accordance with the ISA
(International Society of Arboriculture) Risk Assessment Manual, and
(2) the existence of a target, including structures, objects, power
lines, or people that would suffer personal injury or property damage
if said tree failed.[Added 2-13-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019]
- HERITAGE TREE
- A tree designated by the Village with the consent of the owner upon a finding that the tree is unique and/or of importance to the community as set forth in § 281-7.
- INJURY TO TREES
- Any action, during the course of permitted or nonpermitted work, that causes significant damage to a tree that causes or is likely to cause death of the tree.
- INVASIVE SPECIES
- A nonnative species that adversely affects the habitats it
invades economically, environmentally or ecologically and is listed
in the Prohibited and Regulated Invasive Species Plant list of the
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New
York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, as amended from
time to time.[Amended 2-13-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019]
- LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
- A person who holds a license to practice landscape architecture.
- LANDSCAPE PLAN
- A design for the exterior landscape of a property that includes
the common and botanical names, DBH, condition and location of trees,
shrubs and other natural elements and may include grading, tree removal
and tree preservation measures which is reviewed and approved by a
land use board.[Amended 2-13-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019]
- LAND USE BOARDS
- Independent bodies that make decisions in regard to land use in the Village under the enabling authority given by the State of New York, county and/or local law. These include the Board of Architectural Review (BAR), the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and the Planning Board.
- NONPUBLIC PROPERTY
- Any lands not owned by the Village of Scarsdale or any other governmental entity.
- Any corporation, firm, partnership, association, trust, estate
and one or more individuals.[Added 2-13-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019]
- PROTECTED TREE
- A tree designated as protected in accordance with the Protected Tree List maintained by the Village, which shall include but is not limited to those trees listed in the Endangered Protected Native Plants list of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, as amended from time to time, and heritage trees. The Protected Tree List shall be maintained by the Engineering Department.
- PUBLIC PROPERTY
- Lands owned by the Village of Scarsdale, which includes rights-of-way (ROW), parks, open space and Village facilities.
- REPLACEMENT TREE
- Any tree planted under the provisions of this chapter or required by a decision of a land use board. Replacement trees must be native to the Northeast United States, excluding invasive species, and at least three inches DBH at the time of planting, unless specifically approved as part of a tree replacement plan.
- RIGHT-OF-WAY (ROW)
- Generally, the space owned by the Village extending approximately 13 feet from each curbline, but may include specific lands under an agreement or definition of law.
- Any woody plant of a species which grows at maturity to an overall height of 10 feet or more, has a single trunk or multiple trunks which are, in combination, a sum of six inches DBH.
- TREE EXPERT
- An ISA-certified arborist or other professional certified by a recognized program of higher education or governmental agency as a tree expert.
- TREE PRESERVATION FUND
- A fund established by the Village of Scarsdale to receive payments pursuant to this chapter, as well as voluntary donations to be used in accordance with this chapter or to augment the planting of public trees.
- TREE REMOVAL PERMIT
- A permit issued by the Village Engineer in conformance with an application submitted by an applicant and approved by the Village Engineer.
- VILLAGE ENGINEER
- A person employed by the Village of Scarsdale, certified and licensed by the State of New York as a professional engineer or licensed architect, or his or her designee, with responsibilities that include reviewing plans for various projects on public and private land within the jurisdiction of the Village of Scarsdale.
[Amended 2-13-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019]
A property owner may remove a tree(s) on nonpublic property as of right, provided that tree removal is not regulated by the provisions of Chapter 171, Freshwater Wetlands, as well as the following:
The tree(s) to be removed are six inches DBH or less, except the following small caliper native trees may only be removed, without a permit, if they are three inches DBH or less:
Hawthorn, Crataegus species and its cultivars or hybrids;
Crabapple, Malus species and its cultivars or hybrids;
Redbud, Cercis species and its cultivars or hybrids;
Mountain Ash, Sorbus Americana species and its cultivars or hybrids;
Amelanchier (Serviceberry), species and its cultivars or hybrids, A. arborea and A. laevis species and its cultivars and hybrids;
Birch, Betula species and its cultivars or hybrids.
The tree is removed under an actual or ongoing emergency when such tree removal is necessary for the protection and preservation of life or property, including adjoining parcels. The property owner shall give notice of said removal to the Village Engineer as soon as practical.
The tree is an invasive species as defined herein.
Two trees on each property greater than six inches DBH and less than 24 inches DBH may be removed within a twelve-month period. Prior to removal, a written notification of removal shall be delivered to the Village Engineer.
The following tree removal activity requires a tree removal permit under this article:
[Amended 2-13-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019]
Except for those trees removed pursuant to § 281-3D, the removal of one or more trees greater than six inches DBH.
Trees identified to be removed or protected as a result of a land use board determination.
Removal of replacement tree(s) six inches or less DBH that are planted as a result of a land use board determination or pursuant to § 281-11.
Removal of tree(s) determined to be preserved by a land use board for at least two growing seasons after the issuance of a certificate of occupancy or land use board approval.
Removal of one or more trees greater than six inches DBH that are dead, dying, diseased, or hazardous as determined by a tree expert. These tree removals shall not be subject to a fee or the replacement requirements under § 281-5.
In making a determination to grant or grant with conditions a permit under this article for the removal of any tree, the Village Engineer's consideration shall include, but is not limited to, the following:
Whether the location of the tree endangers the health, safety or welfare of the general public, the property owner or an adjoining property owner.
Whether the tree interferes with a permitted use of the property and/or is specifically identified for removal in a wetland permit, special use permit, subdivision plan, site plan or Board of Architectural Review approved landscape plan.
Whether the location of the tree interferes with a proposed permitted construction or alteration on the property and the construction or alteration cannot be reasonably adjusted to accommodate such tree.
Whether the location of the tree prevents compliance with state, county or local laws or regulations for visual obstructions, sight lines, driveways or intersections.
Whether the tree, due to advanced age, disease, blight, infestation, storm damage, accident or other condition, causes undue hardship for the property owner to maintain such tree.
Whether the tree is located within three feet of an existing sidewalk, driveway or private roadway or if the tree is located within 10 feet of any existing dry well or other subsurface improvement or within 10 feet of any existing permanent structure or improvement.
The number of trees for which a tree removal permit is being sought.
The determination of the Village Engineer denying the grant of a permit application shall be in writing and set forth the basis for such decision, as prescribed in § 281-4E(6), which decision may be appealed to the Planning Board.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any property owner, developer or person who has applied for and received a permit involving an approved subdivision, approved site plan, wetland permit, special permit, or any permit that requires the removal of tree(s) on any nonpublic property shall, in addition to strict compliance with any terms of such approved subdivision, approved site plan, wetland permit, special permits, or any permit that requires the removal of tree(s), make an application to the Village Engineer for a tree removal permit. There shall be no site disturbance, and the status quo shall be maintained until such time as a tree removal permit is granted or denied and the appeal process is completed. The Village Engineer may grant, grant with conditions, or deny such application for a tree removal permit on such terms and conditions as he or she may prescribe, it being understood that there must be full compliance with any approved subdivision, approved site plan, wetland permit, special permit or other development approval required by the land use boards. In no event shall a tree removal permit be issued for the removal of any tree specifically designated to be saved by the Planning Board, Board of Appeals or Board of Architectural Review, unless said tree is determined to be dead, dying, diseased or hazardous to life or property or as subsequently approved by a land use board.
All applications for permits shall be made in writing upon forms prescribed by the Village Engineer.
The Village Engineer may require the applicant to submit plans showing existing and proposed contours at two-foot intervals on a map or plan at a scale no smaller than one inch equals 40 feet; existing trees, specifying the common and botanical names, DBH and condition of the trees to be removed and the reasons for removing said trees. The plans must detail all replacement trees and specify the planting location, common and botanical names, DBH and condition for all replacement trees.
[Amended 2-13-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019]
The Village Engineer may require additional information in plans that include the design for all tree protection measures, including but not limited to protective fencing, tree wells and any other appurtenance that is deemed to be pertinent in reviewing an application.
The Village Engineer may require the applicant to pay for the retention, by the Village, of a tree expert, as defined herein, to supervise and ensure that any tree removal is carried out in compliance with any permit of approved land use plan.
An applicant may be required to furnish the Village with a performance bond or a cash deposit in an amount determined by the Village Engineer in a form to be approved by the Village Attorney sufficient to cover 100% of the planting and restoration work to be completed after the removal of any tree pursuant to plans that are required to accompany all applications. Cash shall be deposited in a trust account as established by the Village Treasurer. The performance bond or cash deposit shall remain in effect for a period of two growing seasons after the issuance of a certificate of occupancy (CO), or where a CO is not required after final inspection and approval by the Village Engineer.
The Village Engineer, within 30 days from the date an application is submitted in final form, shall issue a permit or deny the application, unless the parties agree to extend the time for the Village Engineer to render a determination.
The Village Engineer may issue a stop-work order against any approved tree removal permit if the work performed is not proceeding in accordance with the requirements of the permit or in an orderly and diligent manner.
An application fee shall be set by resolution of the Village Board in an amount that would cover Village costs for the administration and enforcement of this chapter. The Village Manager, as appropriate, shall recommend to the Village Board fees under this chapter.
The Village Engineer shall maintain a written record of all tree removal permits.
[Amended 2-13-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019]
The following trees removed pursuant to § 281-4, excluding § 281-3D and § 281-4A(6), shall be replaced with a replacement tree, when applicable for trees removed from the same property, whether by single or multiple tree removal permits, within any consecutive three-year period, regardless of ownership.
A tree removed that is 24 inches DBH or greater.
Permitted trees removed having an aggregate DBH of 48 inches or greater.
A replacement tree of a genus and species expected to grow to maturity at a similar size to the removed tree or trees shall be planted for every 24 inches of DBH removed up to 120 inches of aggregate DBH, excluding the aggregate DBH of any tree(s) removed pursuant to § 281-5A(1).
Two replacement trees of genus and species expected to grow to maturity at a similar size to the removed tree or trees shall be planted for every 24 inches of DBH removed above 120 inches of aggregate DBH and less than 240 inches aggregate DBH, excluding the aggregate DBH of any tree(s) removed pursuant to § 281-5A(1).
The Village Engineer, as a condition to the granting of any tree removal permit, shall have the authority to require replacement trees of comparable size or species to be planted. Where existing trees are so large and mature that it is not practical to replace such trees of comparable size or where extensive tree removal is planned as part of a tree removal permit, the Village Engineer may order the planting of multiple trees and/or payment to the Tree Preservation Fund in an amount that would reimburse the Village for the cost of purchasing planting and maintaining any such replacement tree(s), the amount of which shall be determined by the Village Board in its annual fees and charges schedule. Where existing conditions on a lot make the planting of required replacement trees not feasible the applicant shall be required to make a payment to the Tree Preservation Fund in accordance with the annual fees and charges schedule. The applicant may appeal the Village Engineer's determination pursuant to this subsection to the Planning Board, which shall hear, review and determine said appeal.
Protected trees may not be removed unless the tree is dead, dying, hazardous or diseased, as determined by a tree expert and certified in writing. Notwithstanding this provision, where a protected tree, excluding protected trees located within any of the required setback areas, is determined by the Village Engineer to create a hardship, it may be removed subject to the requirements of § 281-4 and the provisions of § 281-5.
Upon the written request and consent by any property owner, the Board of Architectural Review may designate a tree as a "heritage tree."
A tree may be designated as a heritage tree upon a finding that it is unique and of importance to the community. The following factors may be considered by the Board of Architectural Review when considering designating a heritage tree:
After Board of Architectural Review approval of a heritage tree designation, the Village Engineer shall notify the property owner(s) in writing. A listing of trees so designated, including the specific locations thereof, shall be kept by the building department.
Once designated, a heritage tree shall be subject to the provisions of this article unless removed from the list of heritage trees by action of the Board of Architectural Review. At its discretion the Board of Architectural Review may remove a tree from the list upon written request by the property owner.
The Village may employ or retain a tree expert to advise the Village in regard to the planting, growing, pruning, removal or preservation of any tree on public and nonpublic property.
All persons who remove trees or cause trees to be removed with or without a tree removal permit shall restore the area by backfilling all holes and by creating an acceptable grade and covering. Any tree damaged for any reason during construction or development of a property, or removed in violation of an approved subdivision plan, site plan, special permit, wetland permit or landscape plan, shall forfeit all or a portion of any escrow deposit or bond in an amount determined by the Village Engineer. Minor tree damage shall be treated in accordance with accepted tree surgery and best practices.
Tree stumps shall be removed except where trees are removed pursuant to § 281-3 or the Village Engineer determines that the stumps are to be left for aesthetic purposes, to prevent soil erosion, or for other reasons. After the replacement of any tree, removal of all debris in the disturbed area shall be made immediately. The property where such planting is done must be left in a neat and orderly condition in accordance with good and acceptable planting and tree surgery practice.
All tree planting, tree dressing and associated restoration work must be substantially completed within one year from the date of issuance of any tree removal permit not associated with a building permit, except that the tree removal permit may be extended by the Village Engineer for a period not to exceed six months. Under all circumstances the performance bond or cash escrow held by the Village shall continue in full force and effect until there has been full compliance and approval by the Village Engineer of all restoration work. In the event that the planting and restoration work is not substantially completed within one year of the date of issuance of a permit, and no extension has been granted, the Village Engineer shall consider the work and permit to be abandoned and declare the performance bond and/or the escrow deposit in default, and the proceeds from the bond and/or cash deposit shall be transferred to the Tree Preservation Fund.
All trees planted pursuant to this article which fail to survive two growing seasons shall be replaced by the permit holder at the expense of the permit holder. Said replacement shall be within the longer of 60 days following written notice from the Village Engineer or the period of time as may be specified in such notice. Should the permit holder fail to timely replace the trees, the Village Engineer shall serve a court appearance ticket and/or declare the bond and/or escrow deposit in default and apply the proceeds to the Tree Preservation Fund.
[Amended 2-13-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019]
A final certificate of occupancy shall be issued by the Building Inspector only after all tree planting, tree dressing and associated restoration is completed to the satisfaction of the Village Engineer, except that between October 31 and April 1, the permit holder may obtain a temporary certificate of occupancy. In the case where a temporary certificate of occupancy is issued, all planting and restoration work in this instance must be completed to the satisfaction of the Village Engineer on or before the first day of the following May. The escrow cash deposit and performance bond shall continue in full force and effect until the planting and restoration work has been completed and the planting has survived two full growing seasons. Should the permit holder fail to complete the restoration work on or before May 1, the Village Engineer shall declare said performance bond or escrow in default and apply the proceeds from the bond or escrow to the Tree Preservation Fund.
The terms of this chapter shall be enforced by the Village Engineer and the Building Department, except where such enforcement may be vested in the laws of the State of New York.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a violation and shall be fined not less than $250 or more than $1,000 for the first two trees. Thereafter, not less than $500 or more than $2,500 for each additional tree. In cases where a person is found guilty of knowingly violating a provision of this article, or of removing an excessive number of trees without a permit, the Village Justice shall have the discretion to set a fine in excess of these limits. No building, demolition, or excavation permit may be issued, and if previously issued shall be revoked, until such violation is cured in accordance with § 281-9 herein.
[Amended 2-13-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019]