[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of New Paltz by L.L. No. 2-1986 (Ch. 7, Art. III, of the 1978 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires, the following definitions shall be used in the interpretation and construction of this chapter:
- The Board of Trustees of the Village of New Paltz.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Municipal Code Enforcement Officer of the Village of New Paltz.
- TOP or TOPPING
- The severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree's crown to such a degree as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree.
- A woody, perennial plant having a trunk of at least seven
inches in diameter or 12 inches in circumference as measured at 4 1/2
feet.[Amended 1-8-2014 by L.L. No. 5-2014]
- The Village of New Paltz.
[Amended 8-12-2020 by L.L. No. 8-2020]
The Village shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs along any public street or thoroughfare in the space or area measured 20 feet from the edge of the curb or road pavement and public grounds as may be necessary to insure public safety, or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds.
The Enforcement Officer may remove or cause or order to be removed any tree or part thereof which is in an unsafe condition or which, by reason of its nature, is injurious to waterlines, sewer lines, electric power lines, telephone lines or other public improvements or is infected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest.
[Amended 1-24-2002 by L.L. No. 3-2002; 12-10-2008 by L.L. No. 15-2008]
Except as provided in §§ 191-5 and 191-6 of this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or Village department to top, remove, or otherwise disfigure any tree on public or private property along any public street or thoroughfare in the space or area measured 20 feet from the edge of the curb or road pavement. If the structure of a tree is severely damaged and causes an immediate danger, then the removal or pruning of that tree may be authorized by the head of the Building Department or his/her designee or the Superintendent of the Department of Public Works or his/her designee.
[Amended 7-26-2017 by L.L. No. 6-2017; 8-12-2020 by L.L. No. 8-2020]
In required buffers, as set forth in Village Code Chapter 212, no trees may be removed, damaged, destroyed or endangered except as authorized by a duly issued building permit in compliance with an approved site plan. The site plan review of a proposed buffer modification shall include the Commission’s review of, and recommendations for, the proposal.
Any person, firm, corporation or Village department seeking to top or remove a tree protected by this chapter shall submit an application to the Commission in writing setting forth the name and address of the applicant, the owner and location of the property upon which such tree or trees are located, a sketch or plot plan setting forth the tree or trees to be topped or removed and a brief statement of the reason for the application.
[Amended 8-12-2020 by L.L. No. 8-2020]
The application shall be filed with the Enforcement Officer and submitted by the Enforcement Officer to the Commission, which shall act upon the application within 35 days after receipt thereof by the Enforcement Officer. Failure of the Commission to act within 35 days shall constitute approval of the application. The Commission may require, as a condition for approval, that a replacement tree or trees of reasonable size be planted within one year of the removal of the tree or trees specified in the approval and that the applicant guarantee that the replacement tree or trees will be maintained for at least five years. If the applicant fails to comply with such conditions of the approval, the Code Enforcement Officer shall be authorized to issue an order to remedy and proceed upon in all respects as authorized in the Code, including the issuance of a violation in the event of a failure to remedy.
[Amended 1-24-2002 by L.L. No. 3-2002; 1-8-2014 by L.L. No. 5-2014]
Any applicant aggrieved by the decision of the Commission may, within 30 days of the date on which the Commission's decision is mailed to the applicant, appeal such decision to the Board. The appeals shall be in writing and shall include a copy of all of the papers filed with the Commission and shall be deemed filed when it is received by the Village Clerk. The Board shall act upon such appeal within 30 days after the notice of appeal is filed with the Village Clerk. The Board may vote to extend for an additional 30 days the time in which it must consider the appeal if it reasonably believes that such additional time is necessary to consider the merits of the decision of the Commission and of the applicant. Failure of the Board to act within 30 days after the appeal is filed with the Village Clerk or, if the time is extended by the Board, within 60 days, shall be deemed approval of the application.
Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Board may, within 30 days of the date on which the Board's decision is filed in the office of the Village Clerk, apply to the Supreme Court for relief as provided in Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules of the State of New York.
[Amended 1-24-2002 by L.L. No. 3-2002]
Every owner of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the Village or public utility company shall prune the branches so that such branches shall not obstruct the view of any street intersection nor obstruct the light from any streetlight and so that there shall be a clear space of eight feet above the surface of the street or sidewalk. The owner shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public, except that the Village shall be responsible to maintain and remove those trees where the trunk is located between an existing sidewalk and curb or the roadside edge of the trunk is within four feet of the paved portion of the roadway where there is no sidewalk or curb. The Village or public utility company shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a streetlight or interferes with visibility of any traffic control device or sign.
The Village shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased trees on private property within the Village when such trees constitute a hazard to life and property or harbor insects or disease which constitute a potential threat to other trees within the Village. The Commission shall notify in writing the owner of such trees. Removal shall be done by said owner at the expense of the owner within 60 days after the date of service of notice. In the event of the failure of the owner to comply with such provisions, the Village shall have the authority to remove such trees and charge the cost of removal on the next real property tax statement for such property.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with employees of the Village while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying or removing of any trees on private property as authorized by this chapter.
Procedure for abatement of violations.
Notice of violation. Upon finding a violation of the provisions of this chapter, the Enforcement Officer shall serve written notice, either by personal service or certified mail, addressed to the premises of such violation, on the person committing or permitting such violation or on the owner of the property. Such notice shall specify the nature of the violation as exists and specify a reasonable time limit, of not less than five days, in which compliance shall be achieved.
Legal action. The Enforcement Officer shall, upon failure of the responsible party to comply with a violation order within the specified time, refer the matter to the Board of Trustees so that the Board may, by resolution, direct the Village Attorney to undertake appropriate legal action against such party.
Penalty for violation.
Penalty. Any person, firm or corporation, whether as owner, lessee, builder, or person or firm engaged in the business or occupation of pruning, treating or removing trees, or the agent or employee of any of them, who violates or is accessory to the violation of any provision of this chapter shall be liable to a penalty per tree as set annually by resolution of the Board of Trustees for each instance in which such violation occurs. Such penalties shall be collectable by and in the name of the Village.
[Amended 10-22-2014 by L.L. No. 13-2014]
Injunctive Relief. In addition to the penalty above provided, the Board of Trustees may also maintain an action or proceeding in the name of the Village in a court of competent jurisdiction to compel compliance or to restrain by injunction the violation of this chapter.