Borough of Columbia, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Columbia 9-13-1982 by Ord. No. 574 (Ch. 71 of the 1971 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Parks and Recreation Foundation — See Ch. 48.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 190.
[Amended 12-16-2003 by Ord. No. 726]
There is hereby created a commission to be known and designated as the "Shade Tree Commission of the Borough of Columbia," pursuant to the provisions of the Act of February 1, 1966, P.L. (1965) 1656, No. 581, § 2721 (53 P.S. § 47721 et seq.).[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See now 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 2721 et seq.
[Amended 12-12-1994 by Ord. No. 657]
The Shade Tree Commission shall be composed of five residents of the Borough, who shall be appointed by the Council for terms of five years and shall serve without compensation. The members first appointed pursuant to this article shall be appointed so that only one member's term shall expire each year. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment by the Council for any unexpired terms or upon completion of a term.
The Shade Tree Commission shall annually report in full to the Mayor and Council its transactions.
The Shade Tree Commission may make, publish and enforce regulations for the care and protection of the shade trees of the Borough. No such regulation shall be in force until it has been approved and ordained by the Borough Council and published at least twice in newspapers of general circulation in the Borough.
The Commission shall have exclusive custody and control of the shade trees in and upon the highways of the Borough and of trees whose branches extend over and above such highways or whose continued existence shall be a menace to the using of such highways and is authorized to plant, remove, maintain and protect shade trees on said highways and on all property of the Borough of Columbia.
The Commission may, with the approval of the Borough Council, employ and pay such necessary assistants as may be required to perform the duties devolving upon it.
Whenever said Commission proposes to plant or transplant any shade tree or remove shade trees on any highways, which may be a menace to the users of such highways, notice of the time and place of the meeting at which such work is to be considered shall be given once a week for two weeks immediately preceding the meeting in a newspaper having general circulation in the Borough, which notice shall specify, in detail, the highways or portions thereof upon which the work is to be done; or by personal service of 10 days' written notice thereof to the owner or owners; or by leaving 10 days' written notice thereof at the place of business of the owner; or, if the owner is not found in Columbia, Pennsylvania, then by sending 10 days' written notice thereof by the United States mail, with the return address thereon, to the last known address of said owner; or by posting a copy of said written notice thereon in a conspicuous place on the property affected.
[Amended 5-12-2014 by Ord. No. 849]
The cost of planting, transplanting or removing any shade trees in the highways or which are a menace to the public use of such highways, the construction of guards, curbing or grading for the protection thereof and the replacement of any pavement or sidewalk necessarily disturbed shall be paid by the owner of the real estate on whose property the work is done, which cost as to each freeholder shall be ascertained by the Commission and certified to the Borough Council and to the Borough Treasurer, unless arrangements are made by the Shade Tree Commission.
Upon the filing of the certificate of cost with the Council, the Borough Clerk shall cause 30 days' written notice to be given by mail to the person or persons against whose property an assessment has been made, stating the amount of the assessment and the time and place of payment and accompanied by a copy of the certificate. Said cost so certified shall be a lien from the time of filing of the certificate with the Council, and if not paid within 30 days from the date of notice, a claim may be filed and collected by the Borough Solicitor in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.
Any person or persons violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of this article or any regulations adopted in pursuance of this article shall, upon conviction, be required to pay a penalty as specified in the Shade Tree Regulations.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Art. II, § 202-14 of this chapter.
The Commission shall have other powers and duties as are set forth in the Borough Code.
The following words and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings hereby ascribed to them, except in those instances where the context already indicates a different meaning:
COMMISSION
The Shade Tree Commission of the Borough of Columbia.
PERMIT
Any permit in writing as issued by the Secretary of the Shade Tree Commission.
PERSON
Any natural person, firm, association, partnership or corporation.
PUBLIC HIGHWAY
Any street, sidewalk or alley open to the public.
SECRETARY
The Secretary of the Shade Tree Commission of the Borough of Columbia.
SHADE TREE
Any tree, shrub or other woody plant on any public highway in the Borough of Columbia or that part of any tree, shrub or other woody plant which extends within the lines of any public highway.
The Shade Tree Commission shall have the exclusive custody and control of the shade trees on and along the streets and highways of the Borough and may plant, remove, maintain and protect shade trees along the public highways of the Borough. The Commission may require the planting or replanting of shade trees along the public highways of the Borough. The kind of trees and alignment and locating of the trees shall be determined by the Commission but shall not prevent necessary and reasonable use of the streets, sidewalks, or abutting property or the conduct of business.
[Amended 11-10-1986 by Ord. No. 598; 2-12-2001 by Ord. No. 699]
Violators of Article I, Shade Tree Commission, of this chapter and any regulations adopted in pursuance thereof shall be required to pay a penalty of not more than $600, plus costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, be subject to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days.
[Amended 8-9-2004 by Ord. No. 739]
The application for any permit required hereunder shall be made in writing to the Commission before a property owner may plant, remove or alter any shade tree along any public highway. It shall specify the particular kind of work or operation the applicant desires to perform thereunder and shall state the exact location and the species of trees to be affected. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to submit every such application promptly to the Commission for approval or disapproval. The Commission shall act upon such application within 45 days from the date the application is submitted to the Commission. The permit shall be effective for such length of time as the Commission shall in each case determine, and such time shall be indicated on the permit. Any such permit may be revoked at any time upon proof satisfactory to the Commission that any of the terms or conditions of the permit have been violated.
A. 
Permit to be obtained; exception.
(1) 
No person shall plant, cut down or remove any shade trees under the jurisdiction of the Shade Tree Commission or fasten any sign, wire, rope or other materials to, around or through any such shade tree or deposit, place, store or maintain any stone, brick, sand, concrete or other material which may impede the free passage of water, air or fertilizer to the roots of any such shade tree, unless he shall first obtain a permit from the Shade Tree Commission so to do.
(2) 
Exception. Newly planted trees may be guyed to provide stability during the first growing season.
B. 
No person shall move any building or other object on or over any public street or highway within the Borough in such a manner as to damage or injure any shade tree or shrub in such street or highway, unless he first obtains a permit from the Shade Tree Commission so to do.
C. 
As a condition to any permit to move any building or object on or over any public street or highway, the Shade Tree Commission may require the applicant to furnish bond in the amount sufficient to cover any damage or injury to any shade tree or shrubs in such street, and it may direct the route of any such moving so as to minimize damage or injury to shade trees and shrubs.
As a condition to any permit to remove any shade tree or existing tree stump, the Shade Tree Commission may require that the applicant plant, at his expense, another tree in the place of the one removed. The Shade Tree Commission, in such case, shall direct the type, size and location of the tree to be planted and the time within which the work shall be done.
In the event of a shade tree being damaged, the Shade Tree Commission may make a charge for repairs to the tree plus the devaluation of the tree against the person causing the damage to said tree. In the event of a shade tree being destroyed by any person, the Shade Tree Commission may make a charge for the appraised value of the tree, plus the cost of removal and replacement thereof, against the person causing the destruction of said tree.
[Amended 5-12-2014 by Ord. No. 849]
In the event that any shade tree or trees are felled by storm or other casualty, said trees, branches or stumps thereof shall be removed from the cartway by the Borough without charge. Replacement of such trees will be made at the discretion of the Shade Tree Commission and at the expense of the property owner or Shade Tree Commission, as determined by the Commission.
No person shall break, injure, mutilate, kill or destroy any shade tree or set fire or permit any fire to burn where such a fire or the heat thereof will injure any shade tree, and no person shall knowingly permit any leak to exist in any gas or steam pipe or main without the root zone of any such shade tree or permit any toxic chemical, either solid or liquid, to seep, drain or be emptied on or about any such shade tree.
Whenever the Shade Tree Commission determines it to be necessary to prune, remove or to do other maintenance work to any shade tree which may temporarily interrupt electric or other utility services, the property owner affected by the curtailment of utilities shall be given written notice of such work. Utilities shall also be given written notice of such work and will be allowed 24 hours in which to comply with said notice.
[Amended 5-12-2014 by Ord. No. 849]
The owner of the property shall trim branches from a shade tree overhanging the streets and highways of the Borough so that they will not obstruct the light from any streetlight and so that there shall be a clear height of 12 feet above the surface of the street and 12 feet over the sidewalk. If any property owner shall neglect or refuse to trim any shade tree as required by this section, upon notice in writing by the Commission, within the time limits specified in such notice, the Commission may cause such trimming to be done at the expense of the owner or as determined by the Shade Tree Commission. The practice of topping of trees is prohibited without the consent of the Shade Tree Commission.
All permits issued for the installation of public utility facilities shall have prior approval of the Commission.
[Amended 5-12-2014 by Ord. No. 849]
The Commission shall plant or permit to be planted trees of not less than 1 1/2 inches in diameter, 72 inches above the ground, symmetrical in shape, with a clean trunk and straight without branches for a distance of six feet from the ground. The planting of any species other than those of the approved list on file in the Borough office is prohibited. In addition, overhead wires and underground utilities will determine the placement of a tree and its maximum height at maturity.
[Amended 5-12-2014 by Ord. No. 849]
The spacing between newly planted shade trees shall not be less than 30 feet. No shade tree shall be planted less than 30 feet from a curb intersection, or less than 15 feet from a fire hydrant, sewer inlet, light standard or utility pole unless a waiver is granted by the Commission.
When any tree along the streets or highways of the Borough or growing on private property but overhanging any street or highway, in the opinion of the Commission, endangers the life, health, safety or property of the public or is afflicted by any contagious disease or insect infestation, it shall be within the discretion of the Commission to determine what remedy is necessary and whether or not such tree must be removed. The owner of the property shall be notified in writing of the existence of the danger, disease or insect infestation and shall be given reasonable time for removal of the same at the expense of the owner, except when trees are infected with Dutch Elm disease. In such case, no notice is necessary, and the Borough shall immediately take steps to remove such trees at the property owner's expense. If a dangerous, diseased or infested tree is not removed or corrected within the allotted time by the property owner, the Commission shall cause the matter to be corrected or the tree removed, and the costs thereof shall be assessed to the owner of the property.
[Amended 5-12-2014 by Ord. No. 849]
An open space of at least 60 inches by 36 inches must be allowed for the planting of a shade tree. When a tree has outgrown this space or when a sidewalk has been laid without allowing for such space, the sidewalk must be repaired at the expense of the property owner so that at least 12 inches will be left between the base of the tree and the edge of the pavement.
No shade tree shall be planted on any street or highway of the Borough where curbs have not been constructed, unless approved by the Commission. The Commission will then specify the species of tree and plant location.
There shall be close cooperation between the Commission and other Borough departments when their work affects shade trees on or along the streets and highways of the Borough. The Commission shall approve all building permits that may affect shade trees of the Borough. All sewer, lighting and paving plans shall be cleared with the Commission.