Town of North Hempstead, NY
Nassau County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the North Hempstead Town Board 1-10-1978 by L.L. No. 2-1978. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Environmental quality review — See Ch. 20.
It is hereby declared to be the legislative policy and intent of the Town Board of the Town of North Hempstead that the protection and maintenance of the physical environment, including land, water, air and other physical features, within this Town are of greatest concern to this legislative body and to the residents of this municipality. It is further declared to be the intent of the Town Board that this concern can best be served by regulation and control emanating from this Town Board as set forth in this chapter.
[Amended 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002]
Since it has been long recognized that trees provide a natural habitat for the wildlife of our area, absorb air pollution, provide us with oxygen, deter soil erosion and flooding and offer a natural barrier to noise, and that the wanton and indiscriminate destruction of trees could decimate the scenic natural beauty of the area, disrupt the ecological balance in nature; cause erosion of topsoil; create flood hazards and erosion; reduce property values, resulting in the encouragement of substandard development; and increase the cost of construction and maintenance of drainage systems through the increased flow and diversion of surface waters, the Town Board of the Town of North Hempstead hereby declares it in the public interest, convenience and necessity to enact regulations which will control the removal of or changes or damages to trees within the jurisdiction of the Town to eliminate the aforesaid injurious effects of such tree removal, changes or damages.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
APPLICANT
Any property owner or his duly authorized agent, or any person claiming a legal interest in real property who makes an application under this chapter.
ARBORIST
A specialist in the planting and maintenance of trees certified by New York State.
[Added 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002]
BORDER
The boundary line of the public right-of-way and the adjacent property owner.
DIAMETER
The measurement equaling the circular distance around a tree at a height of 4 1/2 feet above the base of the trunk divided by 3.14. The diameter of a multistem tree shall be the sum of the diameters of the trunks of each stem.
[Added 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002]
FRONT YARD
An open and unoccupied space across the full width of a lot extending from the front line of the lot to the front line of the building or, if no building is present, the back line of the required front yard setback whichever is greater in distance and measured between the side property lines.
[Added 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002]
HABIT
The natural growing characteristics of any tree, which includes branch spread and distribution, branch height above ground and root spread and distribution.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind, or agent thereof, but not including the Town, or any other governmental body or municipality or their agents, servants or employees, or a public utility.
PROPERTY OWNER
Any person or persons owning real property as shown by the Nassau County Clerk's records.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
Each street or highway, as the same is defined by the Highway Law of the State of New York, as from time to time amended, which is owned, controlled or otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the Town.
SAPLING
Any living woody plant which is three inches or more in diameter at a height of three feet above the base of the trunk, including its root system and the environment within the area defined by the outermost limits of its branches.
[Added 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002]
SUBSTANTIAL ALTERATION
Any cutting, pruning, elevating or other alteration of the habit of a tree which impairs or endangers the life of such tree or destroys its natural symmetry and shall include, but is not limited to, heavy or unnecessary cutting of top branches (topping), cutting of major lower limbs (severe elevating) or drastic pruning or cutting of roots of trees without compensatory cutting of the crown of the tree, but shall not include New York State forestry standards, guidelines or ornamental procedures.
TOWN
The Town of North Hempstead, County of Nassau, State of New York.
TOWN OFFICIAL
The official assigned to carry out the administration and enforcement as set forth in § 20A-4 of this chapter.
TREE
Any living woody plant which is six inches or more in diameter at a height of 4 1/2 feet above the base of the trunk, including its root system and the environment within the area defined by the outermost limits of its branches.
[Amended 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002]
TREE LAWNS
The portion of a public right-of-way not covered by pavement which lies between the border and the portion of the public right-of-way used for vehicular traffic.
A. 
Public rights-of-way. The Superintendent of Highways shall have the authority to promulgate rules and regulations governing the planting, maintenance, removal, fertilization, pruning and bracing of trees in public rights-of-way and shall direct, regulate and control the planting, maintenance and removal of all trees growing now or hereafter in any public right-of-way.
B. 
Town-owned public places. The Commissioner of Parks and Recreation shall have authority over the regulation of the planting, maintenance and removal of trees in Town-owned public places so as to ensure safety and preserve the aesthetics of such public site. He shall have the authority and duty to supervise or inspect all work done.
C. 
Public right-of-way and Town-owned public places. The Town Board shall adopt a policy governing the removal of trees from a public right-of-way and Town-owned public places. The policy shall be adopted and may be amended only after a public hearing is held by the Town Board. The policy shall include reasonable public notice of the removal of a tree(s) and shall be designed to minimize the need for the removal of trees other than for public safety or other public benefit.
[Added 3-21-2006 by L.L. No. 4-2006[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also redesignated former Subsection C as Subsection D.
D. 
Private property. The Commissioner of Buildings shall have the authority over the regulation of the removal and replacement of trees in the front yards of private properties so as to ensure safety and preserve the aesthetics and character of a neighborhood. He shall have the authority and duty to supervise or inspect all work performed.
[Added 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002]
[Amended 8-21-1990 by L.L. No. 9-1990; 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002]
A. 
Tree lawn. No person shall remove, destroy or substantially alter the habit of any tree or sapling within any tree lawn nor plant, spray, fertilize, prune, remove, cut above ground or otherwise substantially alter the habit of any tree on any tree lawn unless:
(1) 
A permit is first obtained from the Superintendent of Highways in accordance with requirements of this section;
(2) 
The work is undertaken in accordance with an approved landscape plan as part of an approved site plan or building permit application, provided that such a landscape plan is required as part of the site plan or building permit procedure; or
(3) 
The substantial alteration of habit is in accordance with the New York State forestry standards, guidelines or ornamental procedures.
B. 
Public right-of-way. Any person who applies for the removal of a tree or sapling in a public right-of-way shall post upon such tree a notice of the intent to remove the same. The notice shall be in the form of a sign provided by the Superintendent of Highways, and no permit may be issued until at least five working days have elapsed from the time of posting as evidenced by the receipt of an affidavit of posting by the Superintendent of Highways.
C. 
The application for a permit shall be made on such form or forms as may be prescribed by the Superintendent of Highways and shall include:
(1) 
Name and address of the applicant.
(2) 
Purpose of proposed activity for which a permit is required.
(3) 
Site of proposed activity, including the section, block and lot number of the property affected or adjacent to the tree.
(4) 
An attached sketch or plan of the area showing all existing, heavily wooded areas on the site and showing the tree or sapling type and size range.
(5) 
The nature of the proposed activity.
D. 
Any permit granted shall contain a definite description of work allowed by the permit and shall contain a definite date of expiration. Any permit shall be void if its terms are violated or if the work is not completed on or before the expiration date, except that, for good cause shown, the Superintendent of Highways may extend the expiration date in cases where the work is substantially completed.
E. 
Written notice of completion of the work allowed by the permit shall be given to the Superintendent of Highways within five working days after completion.
F. 
This section shall not apply in emergencies wherein the Town official determines that public health, safety or welfare will be affected.
G. 
This section shall not apply to the removal of trees located on private property. The removal of such trees is governed by §§ 2-9T, 2-14E, 2-28C(13), 2-75, 70-220, 70-221, 70-222, 70-225M and § 20A-5.2.
[Added 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002]
A. 
No person shall remove, destroy or substantially alter the habitat of any tree to cause the death of any tree which is 10 inches or greater in diameter and located within a front yard unless a tree removal permit is first obtained from the Commissioner of Buildings and the action is not in connection with any other activity for which a permit is required under § 2-9A.
B. 
The application for a permit shall be made on such forms as may be prescribed by the Commissioner of Buildings and shall include:
(1) 
Name and address of the applicant and status of legal entity.
(2) 
The status of the applicant with respect to the land.
(3) 
Written consent of the owner or owners of the land, if the applicant is not the owner or sole owner.
(4) 
Description and purpose for the proposed activity for which a permit is required.
(5) 
Location of proposed activity, including section, block and lot number and street address of the property(s) affected by or adjacent to the tree.
(6) 
A plot plan of the front yard of the lot drawn to scale to include all existing buildings and trees within and adjacent to said area delineating all trees to be removed, preserved, or planted. The plot plan shall identify each tree proposed for removal or planting with diameter and type, including common name and/or botanical name.
(7) 
Condition of the tree with respect to disease and danger of falling.
(8) 
Such other information as may reasonably be required by the Building Commissioner to establish compliance with this section, including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) 
A signed statement from a New York State certified arborist indicating the health of the tree.
(b) 
An erosion control plan.
(c) 
Photos of each tree to be removed.
(d) 
A survey noting the location of any existing structures and utilities endangered by the tree.
(e) 
Alternative mitigation if the tree acts as a visual and/or noise barrier to a road or highway.
(f) 
Proposed methods to ensure the protection of remaining trees. A copy of the Tree Standards and Specifications to be promulgated by the Building Commissioner will be provided to the applicant.
(g) 
Flagging of each tree to be removed.
C. 
In making the determination to grant or deny the application, the Building Commissioner shall be guided by the following criteria:
(1) 
The necessity of removal.
(2) 
The preservation and enhancement of the aesthetics of neighborhoods.
(3) 
The ecologic and aesthetic value of trees.
(4) 
The ability to replace trees that are removed.
(5) 
The significance of the tree for the neighborhood due to:
(a) 
The size of the tree;
(b) 
The rarity of the species; and
(c) 
The historical value of the tree.
(6) 
The effect of removal on:
(a) 
The character of the site with respect to vegetation management practices.
(b) 
Ecological systems.
(c) 
The screening of any road or highway bordering the property in question.
(d) 
Erosion control from the parcel on which the tree is to be removed and its impact on adjacent parcels.
(e) 
The character of the neighborhood.
(7) 
The condition of the tree with respect to disease and danger of falling. In the event that the condition of the tree is not evident, the Commissioner of Buildings maintains the right to require the applicant to submit proof from a New York State certified arborist.
(8) 
The proximity of the tree to existing structures.
(9) 
Whether the tree endangers the usefulness of a public sewer or utility.
(10) 
Whether denial of the permit or the replacement requirement will result in unnecessary hardship or severe financial loss to the applicant.
D. 
Any permit granted shall contain a description of work allowed by the permit and shall contain a date of expiration. Any permit shall be void if its terms are violated or if the work is not completed on or before the expiration date, except that, for good cause shown, the Commissioner of Buildings may extend the expiration date in cases where the work is substantially completed.
E. 
Written notice of completion of the work allowed by the permit shall be given to the Building Commissioner within five working days after completion.
A. 
Public rights-of-way and Town-owned public places. If, in the opinion of the Town official, any tree on a public right-of-way or Town-owned public place constitutes a hazard to adjoining public rights-of-way or to persons using the adjoining public rights-of-way, or if its roots are causing excessive damage to the curb, gutters or sidewalks, or if it unduly interferes with any sewer system or public utility, the Town official may remove the tree or consent to its removal.
B. 
Private property.
(1) 
If, in the opinion of the Superintendent of Highways, any tree on private property constitutes a danger to a public right-of-way, to the public or to public property or in any way endangers the usefulness of a public sewer or public utility, he shall issue a notice to the property owner to remove such tree or substantially alter its habit within 10 days. Upon failure by the property owner to do the same, the Superintendent of Highways shall schedule a hearing, giving not less than 10 days' notice, to allow the property owner an opportunity to show the work to be unnecessary.
(2) 
If, after the hearing, the Superintendent of Highways determines that removal or alteration of the habit of the tree is necessary, the property owner shall cause such work to be done within 10 days after receiving written notice of the results of the hearing. Upon the failure by the property owner to have such work performed, the Superintendent of Highways may cause such work to be done by the Town, and the total expense thereof shall be borne by the property owner. The expense so incurred shall be assessed by the Town Board on the real property on which the tree is located and shall constitute a lien on the real property on which it is levied until paid or otherwise satisfied or discharged and shall be collected in the same manner and at the same time as other charges.
(3) 
If the property owner is a nonresident, a notice to remove or alter the habit of a tree on his property mailed to his last known address shall be sufficient service thereof.
(4) 
Emergency tree removal on private property. In the event that any accident or natural disaster shall cause a tree(s) to be in danger of falling or otherwise be in such condition as to seriously endanger persons or property, the owner of such tree(s) shall immediately contact the Commissioner of Buildings describing the location of the tree(s), extent of the damage, and any emergency measures required to resolve the problem. Upon verbal approval by the Building Commissioner, the owner shall immediately remedy such situation and shall immediately take all such necessary steps to make said location safe and secure. Such owner must apply for a tree removal permit within 48 hours after such natural disaster or serious accident shall have developed.
[Added 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002]
[Amended 3-11-1980 by L.L. No. 3-1980]
A. 
Removal by Superintendent of Highways. Whenever the Superintendent of Highways deems it necessary to remove, or cause to be removed, a tree or trees from a tree lawn in connection with the paving or repair of a sidewalk or the paving or widening of the portion of a public right-of-way used for vehicular traffic, the Town shall replant such trees or replace them at the discretion of the Superintendent of Highways.
B. 
Removal pursuant to permit. Whenever a person removes, or causes to be removed, a tree or trees from a tree lawn pursuant to § 20A-5 of this chapter, such person shall replant or replace such trees at the discretion of the Superintendent of Highways. Such requirement by the Superintendent of Highways shall be a condition contained in any permit so issued, and the notice of completion filed by the permit holder pursuant to § 20A-5E shall establish that the permit holder has complied with this condition of the permit.
A. 
Any person doing business as a public utility and subject to the jurisdiction of the New York State Public Service Commission and any duly constituted public agency authorized to provide utility service shall notify the Superintendent of Highways of planned intent to work in any public right-of-way, where activity includes the removal or alteration of the habit of any tree, at least five working days to commencing such work, whenever possible. The Superintendent of Highways shall review such notice and, where necessary, impose reasonable conditions and standards so as to promote the intent of this subsection.
B. 
Whenever possible, a public utility shall post a notice upon any tree in a public right-of-way at least five days prior to the planned work, the form of which notice shall conform to § 20A-5B of this chapter.
C. 
Whenever a public utility removes, or causes to be removed, a tree or trees from a tree lawn, the public utility shall replant or replace such trees at the discretion of the Superintendent of Highways.
[Added 3-11-1980 by L.L. No. 3-1980]
[Added 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002[1]]
Each tree removed of a diameter of 10 inches or greater is subject to the tree replacement guidelines enumerated in this section:
A. 
Fifty percent of the total tree(s) diameter removed must be replaced.
B. 
The tree(s) to be planted in replacement shall be located in the front yard of the same parcel from which the tree(s) is proposed to be removed.
C. 
The proposed location(s) of the new tree(s) shall be approved by the Building Commissioner.
D. 
The tree(s) to be planted in replacement shall be from a similar size class or from a larger size class. Size classes are enumerated in the Tree Standards and Specifications to be promulgated by the Building Commissioner.
E. 
If the Building Commissioner determines that the front yard of the site does not allow for the planting of the required number of trees, the Building Commissioner shall require the applicant to plant the maximum number of trees possible, with the remaining trees to be replaced with shrubbery, provided the plant selection has met his prior approval, as a condition of a tree removal permit. If the site does not permit the planting of shrubs, the Building Commissioner shall require the applicant to pay an additional fee to the Commissioner of Buildings in an amount determined by the applicant and confirmed by the Commissioner to be equal to the estimated cost of the required number of trees and/or shrubs.
F. 
All required plantings shall occur between April 1 and December 1 and 90 days after the tree removal.
G. 
If plantings cannot occur within 90 days of the removal due to the above planting time restrictions specified in § 20A-9F, the Commissioner of Buildings may require the applicant to deposit a performance bond or a cash deposit in the form of a certified check with the Commissioner of Buildings in an amount which shall be determined by the applicant and confirmed by the Commissioner to be equal to the estimated cost of planting the required number of trees and/or shrubs and, if applicable, stabilizing the site. The term of said deposit or performance bond shall not exceed a period of six months, and the deposit or bond shall not be released until the plantings have been satisfactorily completed in accordance with the approved tree removal permit.
(1) 
In the event of a default, such bond or cash deposit shall be forfeited to the Town Parks Department for additional plantings in Town parks, and the applicant shall be found to be in violation of the conditions of the tree removal permit. The Commissioner of Buildings shall determine the remedy of the violation; however, in no circumstances shall such forfeiture of the bond serve as a remedy of the violation.
(2) 
Upon satisfactory completion of the contemplated work in accordance with the application and this chapter, such bond or cash deposit shall be released by the Commissioner of Buildings. Satisfactory completion of the work shall be evidenced by the Commissioner of Buildings.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also renumbered former § 20A-9 as § 20A-10.
A. 
Unless specifically authorized by the Superintendent of Highways, no person shall intentionally damage, cut, carve, transplant or remove any tree on a public right-of-way, attach or maintain any rope, wire, nails, advertising posters or other contrivance to any tree in a public right-of-way, allow any gaseous, liquid or solid substance which is harmful to such trees to come in contact with them or set fire or permit any fire to burn when such fire or the heat therefrom will injure any portion of any tree in a public right-of-way, except that a notice to remove a tree may be posted on that tree pursuant to § 20A-5B of this chapter.
[Amended 3-11-1980 by L.L. No. 3-1980]
B. 
Whenever necessary and practical, in the opinion of the Superintendent of Highways, all trees in a public right-of-way or on Town-owned property within a radius of 10 feet of any excavation or construction performed by any person shall be guarded by a fence, frame or box of not less than four feet in height and eight feet square or at a distance in feet from the tree equal to the diameter of the tree. All dirt, debris, rubble or building or construction material shall be kept outside the enclosure.
C. 
No person shall deposit, place, store or maintain upon any Town-owned public place any stone, brick, sand, concrete or other materials which may impede the free passage of water, air and nutrients to the roots of any tree growing therein except by written permission of the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation.
[Added 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002[1]]
A. 
All fees prescribed in this section shall be collected by the Building Commissioner, and no permits shall be issued by the Building Commissioner until such fees have been paid.
B. 
The "estimated cost" herein referred to means the amount of money that would ordinarily be expended for healthy trees and shrubs.
C. 
For a permit for the removal of trees, the fee shall be in the amount indicated in the Town of North Hempstead Fee Schedule.
[Amended 4-11-2006 by L.L. No. 5-2006]
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also renumbered former §§ 20A-10 through 20A-12 as 20A-12 through 20A-14.
[Amended 8-21-1990 by L.L. No. 9-1990; 4-2-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002; 12-8-2009 by L.L. No. 20-2009]
Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a violation and shall be liable for a fine of not less than $150 nor more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both, for conviction of a first offense; for conviction of a second offense, both of which were committed within a period of five years, by a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both. Each violation shall constitute a separate offense and is punishable accordingly.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section, word or part of this chapter is adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder of this chapter but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this chapter directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment is rendered.
This chapter shall take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State.