[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Brighton 11-14-2001 by L.L. No. 8-2001. Amendments noted where applicable.]
There is a direct relationship between the planting and preservation of trees, shrubs and associated vegetation in sufficient number in populated areas and the health, safety and welfare of communities and the physical and visual qualities of the environment which towns are authorized to protect. Trees and such vegetation abate noise, provide welcome shade to people, preserve the balance of oxygen in the air by removing carbon dioxide and fostering air quality and add color and verdure to human construction. They also help to stabilize the soil and control water pollution by preventing soil erosion and flooding, yield advantageous microclimatic effects and provide a natural habitat for wildlife. The removal of trees and related vegetation impairs the stability and value of both improved and unimproved real property in the area of removal and adversely affects public health, safety and general welfare. The town, in seeking to promote the health, safety and general welfare of its citizens and in seeking to preserve the quality and character of its environment, finds that trees, shrubs and associated vegetation are an important natural resource. The Town recognizes the practical and aesthetic value of trees and wishes to assure that future generations of Town residents will continue to enjoy the benefits of living in a community filled with trees. This chapter seeks to promote the planting and preservation of trees in the town.
When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural include the singular and words in the singular include the plural. The word "shall" is mandatory and not merely directory.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein:
- ARBORICULTURAL SPECIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS OF PRACTICE
- Detailed specifications and standards of practice regarding such arboricultural activities as planting site and tree selection, site preparation and tree planting, maintenance, removal, replanting and replacement.
- The Code of the Town of Brighton, as adopted by the Town Council.
- COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS
- The Commissioner of Public Works or his or her designee.[Amended 8-13-2014 by L.L. No. 6-2014]
- CONSERVATION BOARD
- The Conservation Board of the Town of Brighton, established pursuant to Chapter 223 of the Code.
- DIRECTOR OF PARKS AND RECREATION
- The Director of Parks and Recreation of the Town of Brighton, or her/his authorized representative.
- The entire width of every public way or right-of-way when any part thereof is open to the use of the public, as a matter of right, for purposes of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
- MASTER TREE LIST
- A listing of suitable and desirable types and species of trees able to thrive in Town highways and public places of the town.
- Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind, including public utility and municipal departments.
- PRIVATE TREE
- Any tree now or hereafter growing within the bounds of the Town but outside of the limits of a public highway or public place.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Includes all grounds owned by the Town of Brighton or under its control or supervision, whether owned, leased or under contract of the town.
- SIGNIFICANT TOWN TREE
- Any Town tree whose trunk has a diameter of thirty inches or more at a height of four feet above the ground.
- The Town of Brighton, lying within the County of Monroe, State of New York.
- TOWN FORESTRY PLAN
- A written description of Town forestry goals, objectives and such related activities as updating the Arboricultural Specification and Standards of Practice and the Master Tree List, conducting street tree surveys, planting trees, maintaining, preserving and safeguarding trees and sponsoring educational programs for the public on trees.
- TOWN TREE
- Any tree now or hereafter with more than 1/2 of the base of the trunk growing within the bounds of any Town highway or public place.
- A living perennial, woody plant (including its trunk, branches, root system and stump), whose trunk is greater than two inches diameter at a height of four feet above the ground and whose full height at maturity would reach a minimum of 12 feet.
- TREE LAWN
- That part of a street or highway not covered by the sidewalk or other paving lying between the property line and that portion of the street or highway usually used for vehicular traffic.
[Amended 8-13-2014 by L.L. No. 6-2014]
The Town's Commissioner of Public Works shall have control of all trees in Town highways and in all Town parks and public places and shall be authorized to investigate, resolve and prosecute complaints for injury to a Town tree or trees therein. The Town Tree Council shall develop and recommend a comprehensive program promoting the purpose of this chapter, hereinafter referred to as the "Town Forestry Plan."
The Conservation Board shall be the Town Tree Council. The Tree Council may, as needed, recommend the retention of the services of a professional arborist as a consultant.
It shall be the responsibility of the Town Tree Council to develop and administer a written Town Forestry Plan and to provide advice and consultation regarding trees to any Town board, department, or citizen. In doing so, it may request that the Town Board appoint a citizens committee to assist in the development of the Forestry Plan. It shall also develop and make recommendations concerning public educational activities and materials regarding the Forestry Plan.
[Amended 12-27-2007 by L.L. No. 14-2007; 8-13-2014 by L.L. No. 6-2014]
The Town Tree Council shall develop and present a written Town Forestry Plan to the Town Council and, as set forth in § 175-4, may request that the Town Board appoint a citizens' committee to assist in the development of such Forestry Plan. The Town Forestry Plan, after revision and adoption by the Town Council, shall constitute the official Town Forestry Plan for the Town of Brighton and shall be administered by the Commissioner of Public Works, and shall be subject to periodic review and revision by the Town Council. The Town Forestry Plan shall define the goals and objectives of the Town Forestry Program, both as to Town trees and private trees, in protecting and preserving the tree resources of the Town. The plan shall include, but not be limited to, developing policies for the trimming of Town trees, including trimming for preservation and health of the tree, aesthetic trimming and hazard trimming; the preservation and management of mature trees; the planting of new trees; means and objectives for diversifying species of trees; the protection of tree roots, including the development and use of preservation techniques for cabling, sidewalk and street installation and repair, and construction excavations so as not to disturb tree roots; and the management of necessary tree removals to ensure no significant loss of tree canopy in a given neighborhood. The Town Forestry Plan shall address the retention of dead and dying trees in woodlots and other areas where such trees would not constitute a hazard to people, in order to provide essential habitat and food to wildlife. The plan may also include a plan for the planting of commemorative or memorial trees. The Town Forestry Plan shall also include a current statement of arboricultural specification and standards of practice and a current Master Tree List. Nothing contained in the Town Forestry Program or the arboricultural specification and standards of practice shall abridge the authority of the Commissioner of Public Works as provided for in the New York State Highway Law. The Town Forestry Plan shall be periodically reviewed and modified by the Town Board when deemed appropriate. The Tree Council shall review the Town Forestry Plan at least annually and recommend modifications for adoption by the Town Board when deemed appropriate.
Owners of property adjoining Town highways may locate and plant trees in the tree lawn at their own expense, with the approval of the Commissioner of Public Works. Approval may be granted if the planting proposed is in accordance with the arboricultural specification and standards of practice included in the Town Forestry Plan, the trees to be planted are selected from the Master Tree List included in the Town Forestry Plan and the planting will otherwise meet highway permit requirements. The Town Commissioner of Public Works shall authorize planting by issuing a highway permit as described in Article IV of Chapter 166 of the Code. Any tree so installed shall become a Town tree. If approval to plant a tree is withheld by the Commissioner solely because the tree is not included on the Master Tree List, the owner may request an exception from the Commissioner. If the Commissioner concludes that the proposed tree is appropriate and an exception is warranted, approval may be granted and a permit shall be issued.
All work on town/public trees shall be performed in accordance with the arboricultural specifications and standards of practice included in the Town Forestry Plan.
Property owners may fertilize, spray, brace, cable or perform other routine maintenance for the health, care, preservation and maintenance of Town trees adjoining their property. With the exception of removals of suckers, sprouts, dead limbs and dead branches, and trimming necessary to maintain clear vision areas as described in § 207-1 of the Comprehensive Development Regulations, no person other than the Town Commissioner of Public Works or his duly authorized deputy or agent shall prune, cut above ground or below ground or otherwise disturb any Town tree within a Town highway without first obtaining a highway permit from the Town Commissioner of Public Works. The Commissioner may issue a permit if he determines that the work proposed is not detrimental to the health and maintenance of the tree and that the methods and workmanship proposed are satisfactory. The Town's Commissioner of Public Works may inspect all work done under permit. There shall be no charge for a permit issued under this § 175-7B.
No person other than the Commissioner of Public Works shall fertilize, spray, cable or brace, trim, prune, cut above ground or below ground or otherwise disturb any Town tree in a Town park or other public place within his jurisdiction without first obtaining a permit from the Commissioner of Public Works. He shall issue a permit if he determines that the work proposed is necessary for the health and maintenance of the tree and that the methods and workmanship proposed are satisfactory. He may supervise and inspect all work done on Town trees under permits issued by him.
Tree trimming by public utilities.
A highway permit shall be required for the trimming of Town trees by public utilities. The standards contained in the Town Forestry Plan shall be included in the requirements of all such permits.
Except for emergency work, public utilities shall be required to provide at least 48 hours' prior written notice to the owners of properties, subject to a utility easement, on which the trimming of either Town trees or private trees is proposed. Said notice shall contain a general description of the work to be done and a person and telephone number to contact if a discussion of the proposed work is desired.
No person other than the Town Commissioner of Public Works or his duly authorized deputy or agent shall cut down, remove or destroy any Town tree within his jurisdiction as described in § 175-3; provided, however, that the Commissioner of Public Works may issue a permit for the removal of a Town tree if the Commissioner determines that the tree is dead or diseased or constitutes a hazard to life or property, subject to the procedures set forth herein. Except for emergency work, the Commissioner of Public Works shall be required to provide 30 days' prior written notice of any proposed removal of a nonsignificant Town tree to the owner(s) of property adjoining the location of the tree. If any notified property owner disagrees with the removal of the tree, that property owner may request, within 30 days of such written notice, that the Commissioner reconsider the proposed removal of the tree. The Commissioner may refer the proposed tree removal to the Tree Council for its review and recommendation. In the case of a proposed removal of a significant Town tree or any other Town tree that is not dead, diseased, or does not constitute a hazard to life or property, the Town Board shall hold a public hearing upon at least 20 days' notice by first class mail addressed to the owner(s) of the adjoining property and the owners directly across the Town highway from and the properties contiguous to the adjoining property that front on the same Town highway. Following such hearing, the Town Board shall make the final determination as to whether the Town tree shall be removed if it finds the Commissioner has shown good cause for such removal.
[Amended 12-17-2007 by L.L. No. 14-2007]
All removal work on Town trees shall be performed in accordance with the arboricultural specifications and standards of practice included in the Town Forestry Plan. Debris generated by such removal shall be disposed of in a manner consistent with § 175-11.
No person other than the Commissioner of Public Works shall cut down, remove or destroy any Town tree within his jurisdiction as described in § 175-3. Any removal of a significant Town tree or a Town tree that is not dead or diseased or that does not constitute a hazard to life or property is contrary to the statutory purpose of preserving the existing trees in the community and must be reviewed by the Town Council, following a public hearing on notice published in the Town newspaper at least 10 days prior to such hearing, to determine whether the Commissioner of Public Works has shown good cause for the removal.
[Amended 8-13-2014 by L.L. No. 6-2014]
[Amended 8-13-2014 by L.L. No. 6-2014]
The Town Commissioner of Public Works shall see that Town trees which must be removed are replanted or replaced in accordance with the arboricultural specifications and standards of practice included in the Town Forestry Plan, provided that such replanting or replacement is consistent with the approved budget, and that all replacement trees are selected from the Master Tree List included in the Town Forestry Plan. If conditions prevent planting at the removal site, a tree removed from the tree lawn may be replanted or replaced at an alternative site in the same area; and a tree removed from a public place may be replanted or replaced at an alternative site in the same public place of the town.
No person shall cut, carve, injure, harm or damage any Town tree; attach any rope, wire, nails, advertising posters or other contrivance to any Town tree, other than as allowed in § 175-7; allow any gaseous, liquid, chemical or solid substance which is harmful to trees to come into contact with any Town tree; or set fire or permit any fire or the heat thereof to burn or injure any portion of any Town tree.
No person shall undertake any excavation or fill, construction or street work near any Town tree until said tree shall be safeguarded by such high-visibility barriers or other protective measure as shall effectually prevent injury to any part of any tree and its root system to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Public Works. No person shall excavate any ditches, tunnels or trenches, otherwise change the grade of any terrain or lay any drive within a radius of 15 feet from any Town tree without the written approval of the Town Commissioner of Public Works. The Commissioner of Public Works may consult with the Tree Council on the potential impacts of, and mitigation measures which shall be required for, projects which may disturb more than 500 linear feet of a Town right-of-way or which may disturb three or more adjoining properties, whichever is less.
No person shall deposit, place, store or maintain upon any Town highway, park or public place of the Town any stone, brick, sand, fill dirt, concrete or other materials that may impede the free passage of water, air and fertilizer to the root system of any tree without the written approval of the Town Commissioner of Public Works.
To protect the public, any person who plants, maintains, or removes trees as a business on any area of land in the Town shall carry insurance in such amounts and types as may be determined by resolution by the Town Board and shall comply with state and local liability insurance requirements, worker's compensation and safety codes. No person who plants, maintains, or removes trees as a business shall work on any tree on any area of land in the Town without first applying for and obtaining an annually renewable registration certificate from the Town available through the office of the Commissioner of Public Works. Principals and employees or firms registered under this section shall, while planting, maintaining or removing trees within the Town, be required to produce a copy of the registration certificate upon demand from the Commissioner of Public Works or his designee. The Town Council shall, by resolution, establish and amend the registration fee. No person who plants, maintains or removes trees as a business shall fertilize, spray, cable or brace, trim, prune or otherwise disturb any Town tree without first obtaining a permit from the Commissioner of Public Works. Such permit will in no event allow for the cutting down or removal of a Town tree, except as provided in Subsection A of § 175-8. Any person who plants, maintains or removes trees as a business shall haul away all debris generated by such work within the Town, and the debris shall be disposed of in a solid waste management facility authorized to take such waste.
Any person violating or failing to comply with any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined a sum not exceeding $500 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding 15 days, or both. Each tree affected by noncompliance with this chapter shall constitute a separate violation.
In addition to any fine or imprisonment, or both, imposed for a conviction of a violation of this chapter, each such violation may be subject to a civil penalty not exceeding $500, to be recovered in an action or proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction. Each day a violation continues shall be subject to a separate civil penalty. In addition to said civil penalty, recovery of the value of any tree damaged, destroyed or removed in violation of this chapter shall be had by the Town in an amount equal to the value of said tree or trees, based on the International Society of Arboriculture's Valuation of Landscape Trees, Shrubs and Other Plants.
The Commissioner of Public Works shall have the authority to issue an appearance ticket subscribed by him/her directing a designated person to appear in a designated criminal court at a designated future time in connection with the alleged commission of a designated violation of this chapter, or any order made thereunder.
[Amended 8-13-2014 by L.L. No. 6-2014]
In addition to, or instead of, any fine, imprisonment or civil penalty imposed for a violation of this chapter, each such violation may be cause for the revocation of the registration certificate, issued under § 175-11 of the Code. This revocation may be imposed by resolution of the Town Board, but only after a written recommendation by the Commissioner of Public Works and a public hearing before the Town Board.