[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Piermont as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 11-14-1977 by L.L. No. 27-1977 as Ch. 99, Art. I, of the 1977 Code]
No person shall hereafter plant any tree or shrub or erect any fence between the curbline, either existing or proposed, of any street or highway and any property line in the Village unless such person shall first obtain the approval of and a permit from the Planning Board.
No such permit shall be issued unless the applicant shall file with the Planning Board a written application setting forth the location where each tree or shrub is to be planted or fence erected and the approximate size and variety thereof. The Planning Board may require as a condition that the applicant deposit with the Village Clerk as security a sum sufficient to ensure the proper planting of each such tree or shrub or erection of each such fence, the removal of all debris and the proper restoration of any grass areas, sidewalks and curbs. Upon the completion of such planting or erection and compliance with this article, such deposit, or any balance remaining after deducting the cost of removing any debris or the restoration of grass areas, shall be refunded to the applicant.
Any tree, shrub, hedge or fence planted or erected pursuant to this article shall become the property of the Village.
No person shall, upon any property within the Village and within 25 feet of any corner of any street intersection, permit any grass, hedge or fence to grow or be erected to a height in excess of 24 inches above road level which shall obstruct the vision of vehicles approaching such intersection, nor shall any sign or other object be erected or maintained within 25 feet of any corner of any street intersection which shall obstruct the vision of vehicles approaching said intersection. Shade trees at or near any street intersection shall be trimmed so as to remove foliage obstructing the vision of operators of vehicles approaching said intersection. Trees or branches overhanging sidewalks or streets shall also be trimmed to a height of at least eight feet above the ground. In the event of a violation of this section and after notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner or occupant of the premises in question to correct the violation within 10 days, and 10 days having elapsed and the violation not being corrected, then the Superintendent of Public Works is hereby empowered to enter upon any premises where a violation of this section exists and to trim trees, cut hedges and remove any other obstructions to vision, and the expense thereof shall be charged to the owner of the premises.
If such owner or person served by mail, as hereinabove provided, shall fail to pay the costs and expenses incurred by the Village within 10 days after being notified of the costs thereof by certified mail, the Village Clerk shall file, immediately preceding the time for making the annual assessment roll, a certificate of such actual cost and expense, with a statement as to the property upon which such cost and expense was incurred, the buildings or other obstructions removed, as the case may be, with the assessing authority of the Village, which shall, in the preparation of the next assessment roll of the general Village taxes, assess such amount upon such property, and the same shall be levied, collected and enforced in the same manner, by the same proceedings, at the same time, under the same penalties and having the same lien upon the property assessed as the general Village tax and as a part thereof.
No owner or occupant of property abutting on a public street, grounds or place or immediately adjacent thereto shall place or cause to be placed any barbed wire or similar device on any fence, house, post or tree along the boundaries of any such street, grounds or place immediately adjacent thereto.
[Adopted 3-28-2000 by L.L. No. 10-2000]
The Village's goal is to recognize trees and on-site vegetation as botanical features to be analyzed together with the geophysical characteristics of a site, and to be documented as property and community assets worthy of preservation, when considering applications for development.
The principal objectives are to:
Preserve and protect worthwhile healthy trees and, where removal is necessary to facilitate development, to replenish trees for both aesthetic and environmental benefits.
Promote the preservation, protection, restoration and reforestation of trees and forested areas and other vegetated areas to prevent soil erosion and water pollution, promote stormwater management, improve air quality, prevent site or local climate moderation, encourage energy conservation, provide noise buffers, promote water conservation, protect wildlife habitats, protect the ecosystem and enhance the economic value of real property.
Protect and preserve as many trees as possible, particularly specimen trees and/or select or rare tree species.
Begin a program of reforestation and replacement of those trees which must be removed due to disease or development of the site.
Ensure an acceptable level of green foliage in intensely developed areas and retain this feature in low-density suburban settings.
Ensure that suitable wildlife habitats are maintained, reinforced and restored in all sections of the Village.
Protect, enhance or restore the unique visual and aesthetic character of Piermont as a wooded or forested community and to further preserve that character of the steep slope and mountainside areas as viewed from the downhill portions of the Village, the overall Hudson River Valley and the Hudson River Viewshed Park.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CANOPY ROAD TREE PROTECTION ZONES
- All lands within 25 feet of the curbline of street rights-of-way.
- All portions of a tree excluding the trunk and roots, such as branches, leaves, flowers and other foliage.
- DISTURBANCES AREAS
- Any area of a site which will be altered from its natural state as a result of development under a permit issued pursuant to an approved building plan, site plan or subdivision plan.
- ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE SITE OR FEATURES
- A lot, plot, parcel or portion thereof, or a characteristic or element of or on such land, that contains or exhibits the following geophysical features:
- A. Water resources, including perennial or intermittent watercourses, ponds, lakes, reservoirs, retention basins and watersheds therefor.
- B. Wetlands, as defined in the N wetland definition provided in a report dated January 10, 1989, and entitled "Federal Agency Committee for Wetland Delineation, 1998, Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands."
- C. Floodplains, as mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and/or determined by the Building Inspector.
- D. Aquifer recharge areas, as identified by the Soils Conservationist of the United States Soil Conservation Service.
- E. Erodible soils, according to the United States Soil Conservation Service.
- F. Steep slope areas.
- G. Rock outcroppings at or above the surface of the ground evidencing the original natural rock outcropping geological features indigenous to Piermont.
- PRECONSTRUCTION SITE DEVELOPMENT PLAN
- A plan setting forth how the site will be prepared for and impacted by construction and how the trees, tree clusters, environmentally sensitive features and nondisturbance areas will be preserved and protected.
- PRIMARY TREE PROTECTION ZONE
- That portion of a lot constituting the front, side and rear yard setbacks, as established by the Zoning Code. In cases where the special building setbacks appearing on the Zoning Map are greater, they shall be the controlling dimension.
- PROTECTED TREES
- Alders, ash, beech, dogwood, elm, birch, locust, maple, mulberry, oaks, poplars, sassafras, sycamores and all conifer/evergreens and fruit trees.
- ROAD RIGHT-OF-WAY TREE PROTECTION ZONE-- A. Land in which a governmental entity or property owner owns a legal interest in a roadway or has an easement devoted to or required for the use of the land as a road. B. That land designated as a road right-of-way by records on file with the Village of Piermont. SECONDARY TREE PRESERVATION ZONE
- All land not included in the primary tree protection zone, except for sidewalks and street rights-of-way.
- SPECIMEN TREE(S)
- Trees which have a minimum trunk diameter of 12 inches at a point four feet above the natural grade and/or a minimum crown spread of 15 feet; any other tree or grouping of trees deemed significant by an approving agency.
- Any woody plant having at least one well-defined trunk at least four inches in diameter measured at a height of four feet above the natural grade and having a clearly defined crown.
- TREE PRESERVATION, PROTECTION AND LANDSCAPING PLAN
- A plan identifying and showing the location, type, size and health of trees; stating the ultimate disposition of the trees; showing the type, size and location of any trees or other landscaping to be planted; and setting forth measures to protect trees before, during and after construction.
- TREE REMOVAL
- Any act which causes a tree to die within two years after completion of construction activities, which two-year period shall start upon the issuance of a final certificate of occupancy, including but not limited to damage inflicted upon the root system or trunk as the result of:
- A. The improper use of machinery on, near or in proximity to trees.
- B. The storage of materials on or around the trees, including storage of materials over the below-ground tree root system extending away from the tree trunk.
- C. Soil compaction caused by earth fill for final site or topographic grading, storage of construction materials, including equipment and temporary storage of earth for subsequent backfilling or removal from the site, temporary movement of vehicles or earth-moving equipment above a tree's root system.
- D. Altering the natural grade to expose the roots or to cover the trunk.
- E. Permitting the infection or infestation of the tree by pests, fungus or harmful bacteria.
- F. Excessive harmful pruning.
- G. Paving with concrete, asphalt or other impervious surface within such proximity as to be harmful to the tree.
- H. Application of herbicides or defoliants to any tree without first obtaining a permit.
These guidelines shall be applied to pending and future development proposals involving undeveloped land, environmentally sensitive sites or features or portions of otherwise developed sites; redevelopment projects on land to be cleared of structures; subdivisions; special permits, building permits for commercial buildings, new multifamily buildings, new one- and two-family homes, lot line adjustments and any other development proposals as determined by an approving agency.
Development subject to these guidelines includes the performance of any building activity making any material change to any structure or the natural surface of land, such as clearing of trees, grading, excavation and earth-filling activities.
Approving agencies shall use these guidelines in the review and approval of applications for building plans, site plans, special permits, variances, subdivisions, lot line adjustments, preconstruction site development plans and on-site implementing procedures pursuant to § 185-11 of these guidelines.
Technical assistance will be available from the Conservation Commission, the Village Engineer, the Building Inspector and other staff as needed.
These guidelines shall not be applied to pending or future building permit applications regarding minor site plan amendments as defined by the Piermont Planning Board.
These guidelines shall not be applied to normal maintenance of trees, including trimming or pruning of branches or the removal of diseased, dead or dying trees or trees that are likely to endanger the public or an adjoining property owner.
An applicant shall provide the approving agency with a tree protection, preservation and landscaping plan containing at least the following information, unless deemed not pertinent or necessary by the agency or official approving the plan:
An inventory of existing trees, showing tree species, location, size and condition. The inventory shall include specimen and protected trees, trees or groupings of trees deemed significant, all trees with a minimum trunk diameter of six inches at a point four feet above the natural grade and any grouping of 20 or more trees.
A tree preservation, protection and landscaping plan showing the trees to be saved and those to be removed, proposed tree planting and other landscaping and all proposed improvements or areas to be altered, including utilities to be installed, grading and a limit of construction disturbance and the approximate location of all structures, driveways, walkways and curb cuts.
A detailed plan to preserve and protect trees before, during and for a period of two years after construction. This shall include a written statement setting forth those steps to be taken to protect trees, roots and crowns from damage during site clearance, excavation, grading, installation of utilities, paving and construction.
The above items may be integrated into the normal application requirements and submittals.
The applicant shall physically identify all trees on the property and in proximity to the property line to show the trees proposed to be preserved and those to be removed. The identification shall be conspicuous and consist of flagging tape banded around the tree trunk approximately four feet above grade using the following color scheme:
The approving agency shall apply the following standards in reviewing all development applications and shall attach such conditions and safeguards to any applications as are in its opinion deemed necessary. [NOTE: Healthy trees can only be saved through cooperation between the approving agency and the applicant. However, the burden of identifying and selecting those trees to be protected and preserved as well as new trees to be planted rests with the developer. He must comply with the Village's standards. This will require better site planning on his part and more thorough review by approving agencies and officials.]
Healthy specimen and protected trees and other trees deemed significant by the approving agency located in the primary tree protection zone, the canopy tree protection zones and in the road right-of-way tree protection zone shall be preserved where feasible. [NOTE: The approving agency should be flexible in applying this standard. It should not create a safety hazard or be so absolute as to make a project technically and/or financially impossible or burden an owner with trees that severely limit the use or enjoyment of his property. However, the applicant must consider tree preservation in design and site planning and justify the removal of any trees.]
Healthy specimen and protected trees and other trees deemed significant located in the secondary tree protection zone may be required to be preserved at the discretion of the approving agency.
Healthy specimen and protected trees and other trees deemed significant by the Planning Board located in conservation development required perimeter setbacks shall be preserved where feasible. Additionally, healthy specimen and protected trees, and other significant trees in other sections of the conservation development, may be required to be preserved at the discretion of the Planning Board.
To preserve healthy and specimen trees, particularly in the secondary tree preservation zones, and to maintain the site's unique natural character and environmentally sensitive features as shown on the approved plans, including any conditions and attachments thereto, trees and environmentally sensitive features shall be preserved, to the maximum extent feasible, in clusters within their natural setting.
Prior to the commencement of any development activity on any part of a site, the Building Inspector shall meet with the developer, his construction manager or the developer's designee to ensure that:
Those trees, tree clusters and environmentally sensitive features designated on the approved plans to be preserved are physically identified on the site so as to be easily recognizable as being protected.
Agreed-to measures to protect trees before, during and for a period of two years after construction are implemented.
Areas shown on the approved plans as not to be disturbed shall be identified on the site by means of construction or erosion control fencing or other readily identifiable methods and shall have no equipment, building, soil or other debris or materials stored on them. These areas of preservation may eventually be enhanced by the planting of additional appropriate trees or other types of landscaping.
On any site or part thereof where the approving agency has determined that additional measures are necessary to ensure the protection and preservation of trees, tree clusters and environmentally sensitive features during development of the site, the approving agency may make issuance of permits required for the development under the approved plan subject to approval of a preconstruction site development plan and on-site implementing procedures by the Building Inspector and/or the Piermont Technical Advisory Committee pursuant to §§ 185-11 and 185-12 of these guidelines.
Prior to the issuance of a final certificate of occupancy for any development activity on any part of a site, the Building Inspector shall inspect the site, all improvements and landscaping to certify compliance with the approved tree preservation, protection and landscaping plan.
Landscaping plans shall generally conform to the following minimum standards. [NOTE: The agency or official approving the landscaping plan may modify the minimum standards to accommodate special types of trees which may not conform to these standards.]
Shade and/or decorative trees shall be planted at a ratio of at least one tree per 1,000 square feet of lot area which will be disturbed, regraded or altered, or major fraction thereof. [NOTE: Plantings shall be nursery stock with a minimum one-year guaranty.]
Trees to be planted in one- and two-family residential districts should have a minimum trunk diameter of 2 1/2 inches at a point two feet above the finished grade.
Trees to be planted in all other districts should have a minimum trunk diameter of 3 1/2 to four inches at a point two feet above the finished grade.
In selecting locations to plant trees, priority should be given to that section of the lot within a canopy tree protection zone and the front yard setback.
The approval agency may apply a credit toward the landscaping requirements for the maintenance of preserved healthy specimen or protected trees or other trees deemed significant and may apply credit toward the landscaping requirements for significant landscaping such as screening hedges or other vegetation. [NOTE: Preservation of trees within the road right-of-way protection zone are not eligible for credit.]
Tree protection, preservation and landscaping plans shall provide for the additional planting of trees within the adjacent street right-of-way to meet the standard for achieving one street tree every 40 feet on center along the street, as appropriate, by taking into consideration the proximity of other street and private property trees, sufficient planting area, the placement of underground and overhead utility lines and other site or street conditions as are deemed feasible by the approving agency.
In reviewing the tree preservation, protection and landscaping plan the approving agency shall consider the following:
The scenic view from the future development to the Hudson River, the Sparkill Creek, the Piermont Marsh and Tallman or Clausland Mountains should be analyzed to identify a view shed for the purpose of selective tree removal. Individual trees outside the boundaries of the scenic view shed should be specifically identified, as appropriate, for preservation and protection.
The scenic view toward the future development and/or mountainside areas from the downhill areas of the Village and the overall Hudson Valley should be analyzed with the purpose of preserving or restoring the forested nature of the community.
The landscaping plan should incorporate appropriate screening to and from the future development as feasible.
The landscaping plan should incorporate a mixture of indigenous trees, plants, shrubs and flora and natural buffers and avoid a monoculture plant landscaping to minimize potential impacts from diseases.
The landscaping plan should take into consideration the ecology of the community and any hillside areas.
The landscaping plan should incorporate size and scale of trees to be preserved and planted. For example, shorter trees below the view shed will serve to maintain views to the river. Larger canopy trees planted outside of view corridors provide shade and maintain the forested character of the community.
The approval agency may consider the designation of tree preservation areas, as appropriate, which would be permanently protected and maintained as undisturbed open space areas and specified as a landscape feature on the approved tree preservation, protection and landscaping plan and the site plan. Such areas would be maintained in or restored to a naturally landscaped and vegetated state. Only minor maintenance would be undertaken in this area to remove diseased, dead or dying trees. Planting may be added to supplement existing vegetation. Such other improvements or activities may be permitted as regulated in the Village codes.
In assessing the potential impacts to individual trees, the approval agency should consider the preservation of the critical root zone, which is the circular area measured outward from a tree trunk representing the essential area of the roots that must be maintained or protected for the tree's survival. The root zone is generally measured as one foot of radial distance for every inch of tree diameter, measured four feet above grade, with a minimum of an eight-foot radius. For specimen trees, the critical root zone is measured as 1.5 feet of radial distance for every inch of tree diameter.
In assessing the potential impacts to individual trees, it is understood that the area of land to be cleared of trees and other vegetation in conjunction with a proposed development or land use shall generally include:
Street construction and necessary slope construction as part of an approved development plan.
Building roof coverage area and ancillary structures, such as patios and porches, plus 15 feet on all sides for construction activity.
Driveways, walkways, parking areas and other land area necessary to the installation of the proposed development or use as part of an approved development plan. Other necessary land area may include area for gardens, lawn areas and related structures.
Public service or utility easements and rights-of-way. These easements shall not be cleared prior to the actual utility installation.
The approval agency should consider the project scheduling and should include prohibitions on the removal of on-site trees prior to the start of construction activity for the proposed new use or building or prior to the issuance of a building permit.
The approval agency should consider the project scheduling and conditions to schedule the earliest possible landscape replanting.
The approving agency shall review and approve a tree preservation, protection and landscaping plan prior to approving an application.
The Board of Trustees, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Building Inspector, as the approving agency, shall refer all tree preservation, protection and landscaping plans to the Planning Board as the involved referral agency for review and report prior to taking action on the application.
Approval of the applications shall be conditioned upon the approval by the approval agency of tree preservation, protection and landscaping plans.
This section shall apply to development on any site or part thereof under an approved building plan, site plan, subdivision plan or other approved plan where the approving agency has made issuance of permits for the development of the site subject to review and approval of a preconstruction site development plan and on-site implementing procedures by the Tree Preservation Committee.
For an approved project meeting the above requirement, the developer shall prepare and the approval agency shall review a preconstruction site development plan and on-site implementation procedures for preconstruction phase activities which shall include the following:
Preconstruction Phase I activities: Activities subject to review in this initial phase include site preparation for rights-of-way, streets, utility easements and construction equipment and materials storage areas.
Preconstruction Phase II activities: Activities subject to review in this phase include site preparation for building lots, detention basins, drainage swales and other development activities not included in Phase I.
The basis for preparation of the preconstruction site development plan and on-site implementation procedures shall be the plan approved by the approving agency, including all conditions and attachments thereto.
Prior to the issuance of any permits for Phase I activities, except as may be required to provide limited access to the site for the sole purposes of surveying the site and analyzing trees and site conditions, the following procedures shall be followed:
The developer shall prepare a preconstruction site development plan showing boundaries and maximum disturbance areas for the rights-of-way, streets, utility easements and construction equipment and materials storage areas that are proposed to be developed.
The maximum disturbance areas for the activities shown on the Phase I preconstruction site development plan shall be clearly staked and marked on the site.
Any trees, tree clusters and environmentally sensitive features which are required to be preserved according to the approved plan and which are located in or within 10 feet of disturbance areas for Phase I activities and shown on the preconstruction site development plan shall be clearly marked, cordoned off and protected in a manner prescribed by the Tree Preservation Committee.
After the Phase I preconstruction site development plan has been received by the Tree Preservation Committee and all disturbance areas and areas to be protected have been marked and protected on-site according to Subsection C(2) and (3) above, the Tree Preservation Committee shall inspect the site with the developer or his designee and the professional who developed the preconstruction site development plan, as required by the approving agency, to determine that all trees, tree clusters and environmentally sensitive features to be preserved according to the approved plan and the proposed preconstruction site development plan have been properly identified and protected on the site. The Tree Preservation Committee may make recommendations to the developer for modifications to the proposed preconstruction site development plan and on-site implementation procedures to better protect trees, tree clusters and environmentally sensitive features.
Except as provided in Subsection C above, no departments or agencies shall issue any permits for Phase I activities until the Tree Preservation Committee has filed a report approving the preconstruction site development plan and on-site implementing procedures with the approving agency and the departments and agencies responsible for issuing said permits.
Prior to the issuance of any permits for Phase II activities, the following procedures shall be followed:
The developer shall submit a staged preconstruction development plan for Phase II activities for approval by the approval agency. The plan shall designate the clusters of lots to be reviewed in each stage. The plan shall indicate the proposed maximum disturbance area on each lot in each lot cluster and show within the disturbance areas the maximum approved building footprint in a location having the least impact on existing grades, trees, tree clusters and environmentally sensitive features. Tree clusters and environmentally sensitive features will necessarily cross lot lines and, within the approved lot layout, tree preservation and preservation of environmentally sensitive features shall be achieved irrespective of lot lines.
The maximum disturbance areas for the Phase II activities and the maximum building footprint as shown on the Phase II preconstruction site development plan shall be clearly staked and marked on the site, and the environmentally sensitive features, trees and tree clusters to be preserved shall be properly identified and protected in a manner prescribed by the approval agency.
After the Phase II preconstruction site development plan has been reviewed by the tree approval agency and the developer has marked the site and protected trees, the tree clusters and environmentally sensitive features on-site according to Subsection D(2) above, the Building Inspector shall inspect the site with the developer and/or his designee and with the professional who developed the preconstruction site development plan, as required by the approving agency, to determine that all trees, tree clusters and environmentally sensitive features shown to be preserved on the approved plans and the preconstruction site development plan have been properly identified and protected on the site. The Building Inspector may make recommendations to the developer for modifications to the proposed preconstruction site development plan and on-site implementation procedures to preserve and protect the trees, tree clusters and environmentally sensitive features.
No departments or agencies shall issue any permits for Phase II activities until the Building Inspector has approved the preconstruction site development plan and on-site implementing procedures for the Phase II activities. The approval agency or the Building Inspector may issue separate approval reports for separate clusters of lots.
It is the stated intention of this article to preserve and maintain a sufficient number of trees and a suitable wildlife habitat throughout the Village. Therefore, elimination of trees in violation of conditions imposed by the approving agency shall cause the Village to seek penalties which lead to the restoration of adequate planting to meet those goals.
Upon any clear violation of the tree preservation, protection and landscaping plan, the Building Inspector shall issue a stop-work order immediately, setting forth the grounds for its issuance, and may require that remedial actions be taken. In cases where trees are removed or destroyed, or at the discretion of the Building Inspector, the remedial actions shall be agreed to by the approving agency before a stop-work order may be canceled.
Remedial action for the elimination, without reason, of trees identified for preservation and protection by the approval agency may include replacement planting of trees with the sum total of new tree trunk diameters equal to the trunk diameter of the tree eliminated. Such remedial planting should be subject to the consideration of a revised landscaping plan for the entire site.
The approving agency shall apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain whatever penalties are permitted by law. Once legal proceedings are initiated, such proceedings shall not be withdrawn or discontinued unless a replanting or landscaping plan has been agreed to by the applicant.
Removal of healthy specimen and protected trees, or other trees deemed significant, after the effective date of this article, but prior to submitting an application, or during the review process, shall be considered a violation of this article and all appropriate sanctions may be applied.