Chapter 273

Chapter 273

TREES

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Fredonia 3-13-2000 by L.L. No. 3-2000. Amendments noted where applicable.]

GENERAL REFERENCES

Property maintenance — See Ch. 223.
Sidewalks — See Ch. 240.
Zoning — See Ch. 297.

~ 273-1. Legislative intent.

It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to: protect and promote the public health, safety and general welfare by requiring the preservation and protection of trees on public and private property within the Village of Fredonia; prevent the unnecessary clearing, destruction and disturbance of trees on public and private property within the Village of Fredonia; establish minimum standards and criteria for the limitation of the removal of trees on public and private property within the Village of Fredonia; establish minimum standards and criteria to ensure the replacement of trees removed from public and private property within the Village of Fredonia; reduce flooding; reduce water pollution; reduce effects of wind and air turbulence; reduce visual pollution; reduce sound pollution; reduce soil erosion; reduce levels of carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the atmosphere; increase groundwater supply; provide shade; provide habitat for wildlife; conserve and protect property values and otherwise facilitate the creation of a convenient, attractive and harmonious community; and generally preserve and safeguard the ecological, economic and aesthetic environment.

~ 273-2. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

STREET TREES — All trees, shrubs, bushes and all woody vegetation on land located within the street right-of-way of public streets within the Village of Fredonia.

PARK TREES — All trees located in village parks and all other areas owned by the Village of Fredonia.

TOPPING — The severe cutting back of all limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree’s crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree.

TREES — Any woody perennial plant (deciduous or coniferous) usually having a single main stem generally with few or no branches on its lower part.

~ 273-3. Tree care and preservation.

The Village of Fredonia Superintendent of Public Works, also known as the “Street Commissioner,” hereinafter referred to as “Superintendent” or his designee shall have the right to remove, prune, treat, maintain and preserve any park trees or street trees as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to accomplish any village public works project or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of parks.

~ 273-4. Duty to prune; notice; noncompliance.

A. It shall be the duty of any person or persons or any other entity owning or occupying real property bordering on any street, upon which property there may be trees, shrubs or bushes, to prune such trees, shrubs or bushes in such manner that they will not obstruct or shade the streetlights, obstruct the passage of pedestrians on sidewalks, obstruct vision of traffic signs or obstruct the view of any street or alley intersection. The minimum clearance of any overhanging portion thereof shall be eight feet over sidewalks and 14 feet over all streets.

B. Notice to prune. Should any person or persons owning real property bordering on any street fail to prune trees as hereinabove provided, the Superintendent shall order such person or persons, within three days after receipt of written notice, to so prune such trees, shrubs or bushes.

C. Order required. The order required herein shall be served by mailing a copy of the order by certified mail to the last known address of the property owner as shown on the tax rolls for the Village of Fredonia.

D. Failure to comply. When a person to whom an order is directed shall fail to comply within the specified time, it shall be lawful for the municipality to prune such trees, shrubs or bushes, and the exact cost thereof shall be assessed to the owner and collected in the same manner as village taxes.

~ 273-5. Tree removal on public property prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person or firm, except for the Superintendent as authorized herein, to cut down or to top any street tree, park tree or other tree, shrubs, bushes and woody vegetation on public property.

~ 273-6. Interference with Superintendent of Public Works prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay, obstruct or interfere with the Superintendent or any of his agents or employees while engaging in the maintenance or removal of any street trees, park trees, trees, shrubs or bushes on private property, as authorized by this chapter.

~ 273-7. Pruning.

A. Every owner of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the Village of Fredonia shall prune the branches of said tree so that such branches shall not obstruct the view of any street intersection and so that there shall be a clear space of 14 feet above the street and eight feet above the sidewalk. Said owners, upon notice from the Village of Fredonia, shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees, or broken or decayed limbs, which constitute a danger and menace to the safety of the public.

B. The Superintendent or his designee shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a streetlight or interferes with visibility of any traffic control device or sign or obstructs the view of any street intersection.

~ 273-8. Tree removal permit.

A. Subject to the exceptions of ~ 273-9, it shall be unlawful for any person to cut down, kill or otherwise destroy any tree having a caliper greater than four inches, measured six inches above grade, growing on privately owned land within the village, without a tree removal permit issued by the Superintendent.

B. In determining whether or not to issue a permit the Superintendent shall consider the following factors:

(1) The extent to which the actual or intended use of the property in accordance with the regulations of the zoning district in which the property lies requires cutting down, killing or destroying trees, following approval of a tree preservation plan and development/site plan.

(2) Any unreasonable hardship to the applicant which will result from modification or denial of the requested permit.

(3) The value of preserving any tree by reason of its location, size, age or some other outstanding quality, such as uniqueness, rarity or status as a landmark or species specimen, but not limited thereto.

(4) The extent to which the area would be subject to increased water runoff and other environmental degradation due to removal of the tree(s).

(5) The heightened environmental value of preserving tree cover in densely developed or densely populated areas.

(6) The need for visual screening in transitional zones or relief from glare, commercial or industrial unsightliness or any other affront to the visual sense in any part of the village.

(7) The condition of the tree(s) with respect to disease and potential for creating hazardous conditions.

(8) The proximity of the tree(s) to existing or proposed structures and utility appurtenances.

(9) The environmental effect of the removal, destruction or killing of the tree(s).

(10) The intention of the applicant to replant additional trees at the site.

(11) Noncorrectable damage or obstruction to sewer services.

~ 273-9. Exceptions to tree removal permit.

The requirement of a permit in ~ 273-8 shall not apply to the following activities:

A. Cutting down, killing or otherwise destroying trees by the owner of any tract of land no larger than one acre, improved and being used for residential purposes. In the event that a tract of land is being used for residential purposes and is larger than one acre, this exception shall only apply to a one-acre area immediately surrounding and measured equally around the residential unit.

B. Cutting down, killing or otherwise destroying any tree which has become a danger to human life or property due to disease, accidental causes, natural forces or other emergency.

C. Cutting down, killing or otherwise destroying trees on properties while being operated and maintained as farms, nurseries, orchards or commercial forests. This exception shall not permit lumber harvesting or any form of tree removal incidental to or in preparation for development of the land for a change of use thereof to a use not specified in this Subsection C.

D. Cutting down, killing or otherwise destroying trees by public utility, natural gas companies or the Village of Fredonia performing normal construction and maintenance pursuant to and in compliance with the law; provided, however, that the Village of Fredonia may review the procedures employed by such companies or departments to determine whether they comply with all applicable laws and meet the purpose of this chapter.

E. Cutting down, killing or otherwise destroying trees where required by law.

F. Cutting down, killing or otherwise destroying trees by the Superintendent as authorized by this chapter.

G. The cutting down, removal or trimming of any tree, shrub or bush by a person, firm, corporation or other entity pursuant to a public works contract with the Village of Fredonia, unless the Superintendent or the Board of Trustees of the Village of Fredonia has prohibited or restricted such cutting down, removal or trimming.

~ 273-10. Trees required.

A. Replacement by village.

(1) When street or park trees are removed by the authority of the Superintendent, said trees shall be replaced by the Village of Fredonia where practicable to do so:

(a) By planting a tree where practicable in the same location of suitable species for planting in an urban environment; or

(b) By offering the adjacent property owner a replacement tree to be planted on his/her property near the side of the street right-of-way of a suitable species for an urban environment as determined by the Superintendent.

(2) The Board of Trustees may, in its discretion when it deems it in the best interest of the Village, waive the requirement of tree replacement.

B. Unless otherwise exempt under ~ 273-9 of this chapter, where a building permit or site/subdivision plan is required and where more than three trees are to be removed, the applicant must make provisions for new trees to be planted where practicable on the site as a mitigation measure. Such new plantings shall be subject to approval by the Superintendent.

~ 273-11. Penalties for offenses.

Every violation by any person, firm, association or corporation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to be an offense against this chapter and, upon conviction thereof, such person, firm, association or corporation shall be subject to a fine of not more than $250 for each and every offense; and a civil penalty for the removal or destruction of any tree on private property or street or park tree equal to its value, not to exceed $2,500 per tree.

~ 273-12. Enforcement.

This chapter shall be administered as specified herein and enforced by the Superintendent or other designee of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Fredonia.

~ 273-13. Severability.

If any clause, sentence, paragraph or part of this chapter shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder of this chapter and shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.