[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Guilford as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 6-21-1993 by the Board of Selectmen; amended in is entirety 11-6-2000]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Guilford Tree Ordinance, Guilford, Connecticut."
It is the purpose of this article to promote and protect the public health, safety and general welfare by providing for the regulation of the planting, maintenance and removal of trees and shrubs on public property within the Town of Guilford. This article has been adopted in conjunction with the recommendations of the Town Tree Warden and shall be considered as the regulations for the care and preservation of trees and shrubs as authorized by Section 23-59 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
It is the intent of the Selectmen of Guilford that the terms of this article be construed so as to promote:
The planting, maintenance, restoration and survival of desirable trees and shrubs within the town.
The protection of community residents from personal injury and property damage and the protection of the Town of Guilford from property damage caused or threatened by the improper planting, maintenance or removal of trees and shrubs located within the community.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PROPERTY LINE
- The outer edge of a street or highway right-of-way boundary.
- PROPERTY OWNER
- The owner of record or contract purchaser of any parcel of land.
- Woody plants, branched from the base, generally less than 15 feet tall when mature.
- TOWN PROPERTY
- Any and all property owned by the Town of Guilford and any public right-of-way maintained by the Town of Guilford, including, for the purposes of this article, such limbs, roots or parts of trees and shrubs as extend or overhang the limits of any municipal road or grounds.
- A woody plant, usually with one main trunk, reaching a height of at least 15 feet when mature.
In accordance with Section 23-58 of the Connecticut General Statutes, a Town Tree Warden shall be initially appointed by the First Selectman for a term of one year and thereafter for a term of one year. The Town Tree Warden shall have a working knowledge of arboricultural practices through formal education and/or directly related experience.
Duties of Town Tree Warden. The Tree Warden shall:
Enforce all provisions of law for the preservation of trees and of shrubs and of roadside beauty.
Remove or cause to be removed all illegally erected signs or advertisements placed upon trees and/or shrubs within any public road or placed within his/her jurisdiction.
For trees and shrubs that must be removed and are located within the town's right-of-way or owned by the town, post notice of removal on said tree or shrub at least ten days prior to the removal, except when such tree or shrub causes immediate danger and is considered a hazard or public nuisance as covered under § 252-8A. Following such posting, he/she shall hold a public hearing regarding the removal if any person, firm or corporation objects to said removal. Notice of such public hearing shall be given to all persons known to be interested therein, and notice of such hearing shall also be posted on such tree or shrub. Such public hearing shall be at a special public hearing set by the Tree Advisory Board.
Issue permits for removal of any trees or shrubs within the town right-of-way in accordance with the standards of practice of the National Arborist Association, Inc., 3437 Stratford Road, Wantagh, New York 11793, per the updated Aboricultural Specifications Manual.
The town's Department of Public Works and/or Recreation and Parks Commission is assigned the responsibility to assist the Tree Warden in his/her duties.
There shall be a Tree Advisory Board, which shall be composed of five members, appointed by the Selectmen for staggered three-year terms, to serve as advocates for the choice and care of attractive trees and shrubs. Initially, one member shall be appointed for one year, two members shall be appointed for two years and two members shall be appointed for three years.
The requirements and duties of these members shall be to:
Have a working knowledge of the habitat, planting, growth, care and placing of trees and shrubs.
Develop and maintain a working relationship with the Town Tree Warden
Assist the Town Tree Warden in assuring that an appropriate tree or trees and shrub or shrubs are planted in properly designated locations.
Serve as the Tree Warden's assistants on occasions where contractors, public utilities contractors or town laborers are working in or adjacent to town trees.
Ensure that the intent and provisions of this article are carried out to the fullest extent possible.
This article provides full power and authority over all trees located within streets, rights-of-way, parks and public spaces of the town and trees located on private property that constitute a hazard or threat as described herein (§ 252-8A).
Public nuisance. Any tree or shrub or part thereof growing upon private or public property which is interfering with the use of any public area, infected with infectious plant disease or endangering the life, health and safety of persons or property is declared a public nuisance.
If the Town Tree Warden shall determine, with a reasonable certainty, any nuisance tree or shrub, as herein described, or any part thereof exists in or upon any public area or public way, he/she shall cause it to be treated, trimmed, removed or otherwise abated in such manner as to destroy or prevent the spread of the nuisance.
If the Town Tree Warden shall determine, with reasonable certainty, that any nuisance tree or shrub, as herein described, exists in or upon any private premises, he/she shall, in writing, notify the owner or tenant having charge of such premises. Within 30 days after issuance of said notice, said person shall cause the treatment, trimming or removal and destruction of said nuisance tree or shrub as directed in the written notice. No damage shall be awarded the owner for the destruction of trees or shrubs destroyed pursuant to this article.
In case the owner or tenant having charge of such premises shall refuse or neglect to comply with the terms of the written notice within 30 days after receiving it, the Town Tree Warden, upon the approval of the Board of Selectmen, shall cause the removal, treatment or trimming of said nuisance tree or shrub. The decision for such removal, treatment or trimming shall be deemed a final decision subject to appeal pursuant to § 252-12. The expense thereof shall be charged to the owner of said premises on which said tree or shrub is located and, with respect to the cost of removing that portion interfering with any public area or public way, shall become a lien on the property upon recordation of notice thereof on the town land records.
Emergency tree and shrub removal. When it is necessary to expedite the removal of damaged or destroyed trees or shrubs in the interest of public safety, health and general welfare, the First Selectman may, by decree, suspend the requirements of this article.
The Town Tree Warden shall have as one of his/her duties the location, selection and identification of any trees which qualify as Landmark Trees. A tree may qualify as a Landmark Tree if it meets one or more of the following criteria: species rarity, old age, association with an historical event or person, abnormality, scenic enhancement, etc.
Damage to trees and shrubs. No person, company, utility or state or federal agency shall, in any public area or public way of the Town of Guilford, except as authorized by the Conservation Commission in areas under its jurisdiction, including managed municipal forested areas, prune, remove, deface, cut, paint, mark, injure, mutilate, kill or destroy any tree or shrub or permit any animal under his , her or its control to do so, permit any fire to injure any portion of any tree or permit any toxic chemical to seep, drain or be emptied on or about any tree. During construction operations, the contractor shall erect suitable protective barriers around public trees which may be injured as a result of his/her activities.
Fastening materials to trees and shrubs. No person shall fasten any sign, playbill, picture, notice, advertisement, rope, wire, climbing spurs or other materials to, around or through any public trees or shrubs, except in an emergency, such as storms or accidents.
Public utility work by municipal or federal agencies affecting trees shall be limited to the actual necessities of the service of their company or agency. Such work shall be reviewed by the Town Tree Warden prior to being undertaken, and such work shall be done in a neat and professional manner. The Town Tree Warden shall, to the extent possible, supervise the work performed. The Town Tree Warden has the right to require replacement of trees or shrubs or substitution of appropriate landscape material.
The Town Tree Warden shall have the authority to plant, remove, maintain and protect trees and shrubs on all public areas and public ways as may be necessary to ensure and preserve the symmetry and beauty of such grounds and ways.
No person may perform any of the following acts without first obtaining a permit issued by the Town Tree Warden which authorizes such action:
Plant on town property or treat, prune, remove or otherwise disturb any tree, shrub or forested area located on town property.
Trim, prune or remove any tree or shrub or portions thereof if such tree or shrub or portions reasonably may be expected to fall on town property, thus having potential to cause damage to persons or property.
Place on town property, either above or below ground level, a container for trees or shrubs.
Damage, cut, tap, carve or transplant any tree or shrub located on town property.
Attach any rope, wire, nail, sign, poster or any other man-made object to any tree or shrub located on town property.
Cause damage to the root zone of any tree or shrub on town property by digging a tunnel or trench, moving or storage of construction vehicles, materials or equipment or changing the grade within the drip line.
No person shall unreasonably hinder, prevent, delay or interfere with the Town Tree Warden or his/her agents while engaged in the execution or enforcement of this article.
The Tree Warden shall be authorized to fine any person, firm or corporation, who removes, prunes, injures or defaces any shrub or ornamental or shade tree on town property, without the legal right or written permission of the Tree Warden or other authority having jurisdiction, not more than the appraised value of the shrub or tree. The appraised value shall be determined by the Town Tree Warden in accordance with regulations adopted by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. Until such time as regulations are adopted, appraisals may be made in accordance with the latest revision of The Guide for Plant Appraisal, as published by the International Society of Arboriculture, Urbana, Illinois. The Tree Warden shall also be authorized to fine any person, firm or corporation who violates any other provision of this article an amount not to exceed $1,000 for each separate offense.
Any person aggrieved of a final decision of the Town Tree Warden may appeal, in writing, within 10 days to the Superior Court for the Judicial District of New Haven.
When it is necessary to expedite the removal of damaged or destroyed trees in the interest of public safety, health and general welfare, the First Selectman may, by decree, suspend the requirements of this article.
Anyone granted a permit to remove a tree or trees on public property may be required to replace them or substitute them with appropriate landscape material.
[Adopted 11-6-2000 by the Board of Selectmen]
In accordance with General Statutes § 13a-140 and this article, the Tree Warden is authorized to issue a citation to any person who cuts, removes, damages or prunes any tree, shrub or vegetation situated partially or wholly within the limits of any state highway designated as a scenic road pursuant to General Statutes § 13b-31c if such person has not obtained permission from the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, provided that nothing herein shall authorize a citation against a public service company, as defined in General Statutes §16-1, that has cut or trimmed trees and branches or undertaken other pruning or removal in order to protect its lines, wire, conduits, cables and other equipment from encroaching vegetation. Any such citation may be served either by hand delivery or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the person named in the citation. If the person named in a citation sent by certified mail refuses to accept such mail, the citation may be sent by regular United States mail.
The amount of each citation shall be $1,000, payable to the Treasurer of the Town of Guilford. No citation shall become effective until after notice and an opportunity for hearing as set forth in § 252-18, except that a person wishing to make an uncontested payment of such citation may do so in accordance with § 252-17.
The person receiving the citation shall be allowed a period of 30 days from his or her receipt of the citation to make an uncontested payment of the amount specified in the citation to the Treasurer. If the citation has been sent by regular mail pursuant to the provisions of § 252-15 of this article, the day of receipt of the citation shall be deemed to be three business days after the day of mailing the citation. Such payment shall be inadmissible in any proceeding, civil or criminal, to establish the conduct of such person or other person making the payment.
Any person issued a citation shall be entitled to a hearing to contest the citation. The procedures for notice, hearing, disposition, appeal and enforcement shall be as set forth in the Connecticut General Statutes Section 7-152c, Hearing Procedures for Citations, as the same may be amended from time to time by the General Assembly.
The First Selectman shall appoint one or more citation hearing officers to conduct the hearings necessary to enforce this article. No member of the Tree Advisory Board may be appointed as a hearing officer pursuant to this section.