[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Trenton 9-7-1967 as § 18-5 of the Revised General Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Department of Recreation, Natural Resources and Culture shall have complete power and authority over any and all trees or plants planted and growing or hereafter to be planted and grown in any park, parking strip, green or grounds in the public way, or any public highway or other property of the City.
No person shall cut, climb, break, trim, remove or in any way injure, deface or destroy the vegetation, tree posts or tree guards in any park, parking strip, green or grounds in the public right-of-way or any public highway or other property or in the City without first having obtained a permit from the Department or without complying with its terms.
No person, without a written permit from the Department, shall attach or keep attached to a tree or plant in a public highway, or to the guard or stake intended for its protection, a rope, wire, sign, placard, thing, object or any other device.
No person, without a written permit of the Department, shall place or maintain on the ground of a public highway in the City any sidewalk, stone, cement or other substance which shall impede or prevent the free access of water or air to the roots of any tree or plant in any such highway.
No person shall plant or set out any shade tree or plant in any part of any public highway of the City without first having obtained a written permit therefor from the Department, which permit shall set forth the kinds of trees or plants which may be set out and the conditions under which they may be planted or located, and any other terms and conditions deemed necessary by the Department.
No person, without the written permit of the Department, shall attach to any tree growing or planted in any park or parking strip or upon any public highway in the City any electric wire or insulator or any device for holding any electrical wire or bracing the poles carrying the wire.
Whenever the limbs, branches or other parts of trees extend over or into any public thoroughfare so as to interfere with its free and uninterrupted use, the Department may give notice to the owner or other person in control of the property to trim such trees within the time specified in the notice which shall not be less than 10 days.
If the owner or person in control served with notice as set forth in Subsection A above fails to comply with the terms of the notice within the time prescribed, it shall be the duty of the Department to trim or detach any limbs, branches or other parts of such tree or trees. Upon completion of the work required to be done under the terms of this section, the owner(s) of the premises upon which such work was done shall be billed for the amount of money so expended by the City. Unless reimbursement is received from the owner billed for the services within 30 days from the date of billing, suit shall be brought in the name of the City for the amount due in any court of competent jurisdiction, and all sums realized either by suit or payment shall be placed in the municipal funds to the credit of the appropriation from which the cost of doing such work shall have been expended.
If such limbs or branches of any tree or trees so extending are required to be cut off or detached for any other purpose than for ordinary travel on the surface of the thoroughfare, the expense of detaching or cutting off such projecting limbs or branches on any tree or trees shall be defrayed by the person whose use of such thoroughfare shall require the detaching or trimming of such limbs as project into the thoroughfare. The detaching or trimming of such limbs or branches of any tree or trees projecting into a highway shall be done under the direction and supervision of the Department, and no limbs or branches of any tree or trees so projecting into a highway shall be detached or trimmed by persons without the written permission of the Department.
Whenever the Department determines that any tree in or upon any private premises in the City is in danger of falling in or across any public thoroughfare, or is a danger to public safety because of decay or lack of proper support, it shall be the duty of the Department to notify the owner or other person in control of the property on or in front of which any such tree may be located that a hearing shall be held by the Department to consider the removal, pruning or cutting down in whole or in part any such dangerous, decayed or improperly supported tree. The notice shall state the date, time and place of the hearing, at which the affected owner shall be given an opportunity to appear in person or be represented by an attorney. If after hearing and investigation the Director, or his/her designee, determines that any such tree shall be removed, pruned or cut down in whole or in part, it shall be the duty of the owner of the premises affected to remove, prune or cut down such tree or part of such tree in accordance with the determination of the Department.
If the affected owner does not comply with the determination of the Department, the Director shall immediately cause the required work to be done, thereafter rendering a bill to the affected owner for costs of services and materials resulting from such work. Unless reimbursement is received from the owner within 30 days of billing, suit at law shall thereafter be instituted for the collection of the amount so due for work done and money so expended in any court of competent jurisdiction.
Notice. Except as provided in Subsection B(3) below, no tree shall be removed prior to the posting of a notice that a public hearing may be requested to determine whether removal of the tree is necessary to protect the health, safety or welfare of the residents of the City. Notice that such a hearing may be requested shall be given by posting a placard affixed to the tree in question. The notice shall advise interested parties that they may file a request for a public hearing with the City Clerk within 14 days of the posting of such notice. If a request for hearing is timely received by the City Clerk within 14 days of the posting of the notice, then a public hearing to determine the matter will be scheduled by the City Clerk.
Hearing. The hearing shall be called on notice to all those filing requests or comments and shall be conducted by the Open Space Advisory Board. At the public hearing the Department of the City or members of the public seeking to have the tree removed shall explain the reasons for such removal. Members of the public shall then have an opportunity to present evidence and argument in opposition to the removal of the tree. The Board shall make a determination within 15 days of the date of the public hearing as to whether the public health, safety and welfare require the removal of the tree.
Exception. Notwithstanding Subsection A(1) and (2) above, a tree may be removed without the posting of a notice if in the discretion of the Shade Tree Superintendent removal of the tree prior to a public hearing is necessary to alleviate a hazardous or dangerous situation and constitutes an imminent threat to public health, safety and welfare; or, following posting, but without a public hearing, in the event no request or comment is timely filed.
Replacement trees. Whenever a tree is removed for any reason, the person who removed the tree shall replace the removed tree with another tree within one year and under the Director of the Department of Recreation, Natural Resources and Culture.
Unless otherwise provided for in the written permit required by § 287-2C, there must be maintained about the base of the trunk of each shade tree or plant in the streets of the City 16 square feet of open ground for a tree of up to six inches in diameter, and for every three inches of increase of such diameter there must be an increase of at least one square foot of open ground. Where any tree in or upon any public highway of or within the City may now or hereafter be surrounded at the base of its trunk by ground which is not open, or by open ground of less quantity of measurement than that required by the subsection, it shall be the duty of the Department of Recreation, Natural Resources and Culture to notify the owner of the property on or in front of which any such tree may be to remove, within a time fixed in the notice, so much of the cement, brick or other covering as may be necessary to give the space of open ground required herein. If the person notified shall not remove the covering by the time fixed, the Department may do so or cause to have it done and charged to the person notified for the work done and the money expended therefor, and if payment shall not be made 30 days from the date of billing, suit at law shall be instituted in the name of the City for the collection of the amount due in any court of competent jurisdiction which, when realized, shall be placed in the municipal fund to the credit of the appropriation from which the cost of doing such work shall have been expended.
In the erection or repair of a building or structure the owner, contractor or other person in charge shall place such guards around all nearby trees on the public highways as shall effectually prevent injury to them.
No person shall do any excavating or operate heavy equipment within six feet of any tree without permission of the Department of Recreation, Natural Resources and Culture.
No person shall use or operate any power shovels, bulldozers or any other implement or tool in such a manner as to damage or destroy any tree or tree roots.
No person shall permit any animal owned by him/her, or under his/her control, to damage or destroy any tree or plant on a public thoroughfare, nor shall any person fasten any animal to any such tree or plant.
Every person having control over any wire charged with electricity running through a public thoroughfare in the City shall securely fasten such wire so that it shall not come in contact with any tree or plant.
It shall be unlawful for any person owning, using or having control of gas or other substance deleterious to tree life to allow such gas or other substance to come in contact with the soil surrounding the roots of any tree in any public thoroughfare or of any tree or plant in any City park or parking strip in the City in such manner as may injure or destroy the tree or plants.
It shall be unlawful for any person to cause any brine water, oil, liquid dye or other substance deleterious to tree life to flow into the soil about the base of a tree in any public thoroughfare or City park or parking strip in the City or onto a sidewalk, road or pavement at a point from which such substance may seep into the soil or in any other manner injure such tree.
No person shall in any way interfere or cause or permit any interference with the officer or employee of the City in the planting, mulching, protection, care or removal of any tree or plant in the public highways of the City or in removing any stone, cement sidewalk or other substance about the trunk of any such tree or plant.
The Superintendent of Trees and the Superintendent of Parks are responsible to protect trees and plants from vandalism and abuse. The Superintendent of Trees and the Superintendent of Parks are charged with the responsibility to serve summons and to issue citations for violation of this chapter, subject to the jurisdiction of the Trenton Municipal Court.