[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Woodstock 12-11-2007 by L.L. No. 4-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is enacted pursuant to § 10 of the Municipal Home Rule Law, Article 4, § 64 of the Town Law, and other legislative authority of New York State, as amended from time to time.
The Town of Woodstock is, generally speaking, a rural, residential community widely know for its natural beauty and noncommercial character. For these reasons, many of the Town's residents are engaged in the arts as painters, sculptors, writers and musicians and, as a consequence, the Town is world-renowned as an art colony.
Over the years the Town's central commercial district has seen tremendous growth. The Town Board finds that the esthetic characteristics of the central commercial section of the Town are essential to the general welfare and to the preservation and protection of the property of the Town and its residents and to the trade of local merchants. The Town Board further finds that many of the beautiful shade trees bordering the streets, roads and highways in this busy section of the Town add greatly to these essential esthetic characteristics.
The Town Board further finds that the needless removal of said trees would cause significant depreciation in the value of property adjoining the aforesaid streets, roads and highways, would greatly detract from the physical attractiveness of the community as a whole, and would diminish or destroy the esthetic beauty of the community.
The Woodstock Town Board is empowered, under the authority cited in § 217-1 above, to enact local laws designed to preserve and protect the quality of life for residents of and visitors to the Town of Woodstock and to promote the public health and safety as well as the general welfare of the community, including the protection of the property of the Town and its inhabitants and for the benefit of trade and all matters related thereto.
Based on the findings detailed above, it is hereby declared to be in the best interest of the general public and the citizens of the Town of Woodstock to preserve and protect shade and ornamental trees existing within 20 feet of either side of certain streets, roads and highways in the Town of Woodstock, provided that such trees:
It is a further purpose of this chapter to establish a permitting process which shall govern the destruction and removal of such trees as are regulated by this chapter.
No tree having a diameter of eight inches or more, measured at any point within four feet from the ground, now standing or hereafter planted on any property fronting on, or contiguous to, New York State Highway Route 212 between the point where Plochmann Lane intersects said Route 212 and the point where Route 212 intersects the Bearsville-Wittenberg Road in the hamlet of Bearsville, or on any property fronting on, or contiguous to, New York State Route 375, or located within 20 feet of either side of said highways, shall be cut down, destroyed, or removed by any person, whether the owner, tenant, occupant of such property or otherwise, unless, prior to cutting down or removal of any such tree, a permit to do so shall have been granted by the Town Board of the Town of Woodstock.
Required information. All applications for a permit to cut down or remove a tree regulated by this chapter shall be in writing addressed to the Woodstock Town Board. Said application shall contain the following information:
The full name of the applicant, and the location, address and section, block and lot number of the property on which the tree is located.
The nature of the applicant's interest in the property on which the tree which is the subject of the application is located.
A detailed description of the tree sought to be cut down or removed and its precise location on the property.
The manner in which it is proposed that said tree be cut down or removed and the precautionary measures which will be taken by the applicant for the protection of the public against injury during the cutting down or removal.
Whether or not the applicant proposes to replace said tree and, if so, a description of the tree, including its size, which is proposed as a replacement as well as the time when and place where such replacement will be made.
A statement of the precise reason(s) which the applicant considers make necessary the cutting down or removal of the tree for which a permit is sought.
A statement of whether or not the applicant is willing to furnish a surety company bond to the Town to ensure compliance with any conditions that may be imposed by the Town Board in granting the permit or, if the applicant is unwilling to furnish such bond, a statement of the reason(s) why he/she is unwilling to do so.
A statement in detail of the hardship that the applicant claims he/she will suffer if the permit is denied.
Additional information. In the event the Town Board determines that the information set forth in the application is inadequate, it may, before acting on the application, direct the applicant to supplement said application in writing by giving such additional information as the Town Board may deem necessary to enable it to make a determination upon the merits of the application.
The Town Board may impose a reasonable fee to cover the cost of a professional opinion regarding the application.
In circumstances where the condition of a tree poses an immediate danger to property or the public, or in those instances where the Superintendent of Highways, Building Inspector or a certified arborist determines, in writing to the Woodstock Town Board, that a tree is dead or dying and will pose a danger to property or the public if not removed, the provisions of this chapter are waived for the property owner, who may proceed to remove the tree in a manner consistent with law and posing no danger to property or the public.
The Town Board shall approve a permit where it determines that:
Imposition of conditions. In granting a permit the Town Board may impose such reasonable conditions as it may deem necessary to adequately protect the public health, safety and general welfare, including but not limited to a requirement that:
The tree covered by the permit be replaced by a tree of prescribed dimensions and at a particular place and within a particular period of time.
A suitable surety bond be furnished to the Town to ensure compliance with the permit.
Various safety measures be taken in the cutting down or removal of the tree.
A prescribed liability insurance policy be taken out by the applicant for the protection of the public.
The Town Board may deny a permit where it determines that:
The application fails to comply with the intents and purposes set forth in § 217-2 of this chapter; and/or
The granting of the application will adversely affect or jeopardize the public health, safety or general welfare; and
No undue hardship will result to the applicant by the denial of the permit sought.
The Town may, if it so elects, enforce this chapter by injunction or by seeking, before an appropriate tribunal, the imposition of the penalties hereafter prescribed, or by both.
Any person adjudicated to be in violation of any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
This chapter shall repeal and supersede the Tree Ordinance of 1956, titled the "Town of Woodstock Tree Ordinance of December 14, 1956."