Municipality of Kingston, PA
Luzerne County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Kingston (now Town Council of the Municipality of Kingston): Art. I, 5-8-1923, amended in its entirety 12-14-1970; Art. II, 6-5-1967. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Grass, weeds and other vegetation — See Ch. 107.
[Adopted 5-8-1923; amended in its entirety 12-14-1970]

§ 167-1 Removal under certain circumstances.

The owner or owners of any lot or lots of land located in the Borough of Kingston and fronting or abutting upon any street or public alley along and through wherein there is or hereafter shall be constructed any public sewer, in front of or upon which lot there is now or shall hereafter be growing any tree or trees commonly known as "Carolina poplar," shall, within 10 days after written or printed notice from the Borough Council so to do, cause to be cut down and removed any and all such trees and the further growth thereof prevented.

§ 167-2 Failure to remove; removal by borough.

If any owner or owners of any lot or lots of land in the borough shall fail, neglect or refuse, within the time limit specified in the notice served upon such owner or owners, as provided in § 167-1, to cut down and remove any tree or trees, the Borough Council may cause such tree or trees to be removed and shall collect the cost of such removal, with 10% added, from such owner or owners in default.

§ 167-3 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 2-11-1985]
Any person who shall violate any provision of this Article shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a fine of not more than $300 and costs of such proceedings or, upon default of payment of such fine and costs, by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 30 days.
[Adopted 6-5-1967]

§ 167-4 Definitions and word usage.

A. 
The following words and phrases, when used in this Article, shall have the meanings hereby ascribed to them, except in those instances where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
COMMISSION
The Shade Tree Commission of the Borough of Kingston.
PERMIT
Any permit, in writing, as issued by the Secretary of the Shade Tree Commission.
PERSON
Any natural person, firm, association, partnership or corporation.
PUBLIC HIGHWAY
Any street, sidewalk or alley open to the public and shall include the area between the curb and the sidewalk known as the "tree lawn."
The Secretary of the Shade Tree Commission.
SHADE TREE
Any tree, shrub or other woody plant on any public highway in the Borough of Kingston, or that part of any tree, shrub or other woody plant which extends within the lines of any public highway.
B. 
Word usage. In this Article, the singular shall include the plural and the masculine shall include the feminine.

§ 167-5 Authority of Commission.

The Commission shall have exclusive custody and control of the shade trees in the Borough of Kingston and is authorized to plant, maintain and protect shade trees on the public highways in the borough.

§ 167-6 Permit provisions.

[Amended 6-3-1996 by Ord. No. 1996-2]
A. 
The application for any permit required hereunder shall be made in writing to the Secretary. It shall specify the particular kind of work or operation the applicant desires to perform thereunder and shall state the exact location and the species of any tree affected. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to submit every such application promptly to the Commission for approval or disapproval. The permit shall be effective for such length of time as the Commission shall in each case determine, and such time shall be indicated on the permit. Any such permit may be revoked at any time upon proof satisfactory to the Commission that any of the terms or conditions upon which such permit was issued are or have been violated. The Commission, in its discretion, may, as a condition precedent to the issuance of the permit, require the applicant to file a bond satisfactory to the Commission or to deposit security satisfactory to it to guarantee the compliance by the applicant with the terms and conditions upon which such permit is issued. Permits may be issued to public utilities on an annual basis with only oral approval of the Commission required as to specific trees or specific streets.
B. 
At the time a permit is issued for the removal of a tree, the applicant must post a deposit of $100. The applicant will have one year from the date of the issuance of the permit to replace the tree that has been removed. Upon replacement of the tree to the satisfaction of the Commission, the deposit of $100 will be refunded to the applicant. In the event that the applicant does not replace the tree within the one-year time period, the $100 will be forfeited to the municipality for the purpose of replacing the tree.
C. 
No person shall trim or prune any shade tree in the Municipality of Kingston until a permit therefore is granted.
[Added 9-8-1998 by Ord. No. 1998-6]
D. 
The Shade Tree Commission is to affirmatively facilitate the development of blighted commercial property within the Municipality and is authorized to grant such leniencies or waivers as may be necessary to accommodate such development.
[Added 1-6-2003 by Ord. No. 2002-11]

§ 167-7 Conditions for planting shade trees.

No person shall plant any shade tree in the Borough of Kingston until such a permit therefor is granted, such permit to designate where such tree is to be planted. The Commission may refuse a permit to plant any species of tree which, in its opinion, is not suited to the location.

§ 167-8 Manner of planting; approved species.

All shade trees planted in and among any of the public highways in the Borough of Kingston shall be set so as to form, as nearly as possible, a straight and uniform line with the other shade trees growing upon the same highway. Said trees shall be planted or set from 25 to 30 feet apart, where practicable, and shall be sound, straight and symmetrical. Every such tree shall be planted in a pit three feet square filled with good topsoil otherwise enriched and shall have an open space of ground outside the trunk of said tree with an area, where practicable, of not less than four feet square for the free entrance of water and air to the roots thereof. In order to secure uniformity and best results, all shade trees hereafter planted in or along any of the public highways in the borough shall be trees known as "Norway maple," "hard maple," "American elm," "mountain ash," "globe locust," "globe Norway maple," "globe-head elm" and "Korean mountain ash," except when and where otherwise authorized by the Commission.

§ 167-9 Trimming requirements.

A. 
In addition to trimming performed by public utilities, all shade trees shall be kept trimmed by the owner of the property on or in front of which they are located:
(1) 
So as not to interfere with the proper lighting of public highways by the streetlights.
(2) 
So that the minimum clearance of any public highway of any overhanging portion thereof shall be 12 feet. The Commission shall have the authority to designate a higher clearance on any public highway where heavy traffic or other conditions make it expedient.
B. 
If any property owner shall neglect or refuse to trim any shade tree as required by § 167-9, upon notice in writing by the Commission, within the time limit specified in such notice, the Commission may cause such trimming to be done at the expense of such owner, and the entire cost thereof shall be a lien upon said premises, and a claim therefor shall be filed and collected by the Borough Solicitor in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.
C. 
Tree maintenance activities.
[Added 9-8-1998 by Ord. No. 1998-6]
(1) 
No person may remove, prune, trim or alter a tree without first obtaining a permit under the provisions of § 167-6A of this article.
(2) 
All pruning of shade trees within the Municipality of Kingston shall conform to ANSI A300-1995 Pruning Standards - "Tree, Shrub and Other Woody Plant Maintenance - Standard Practices." All work must also conform to the latest revision of the American National Standards Institute ANSI Z133-1 (Safety Requirements for Pruning, Trimming, Repairing, Maintenance, Removing Trees and for Cutting Brush). A copy of both standards (ANSI A300-1995 and ANSI Z133-1) is on file in the Municipal Building.
(3) 
Any person or entity violating the provisions of this article by performing tree maintenance activities without a permit or in violation of tree maintenance or safety standards (ANSI A300-1995 and ANSI Z133.1) shall, upon conviction before a District Justice, be subject to the penalties set forth in § 167-19 of this article.
D. 
Damaged trees.
[Added 9-8-1998 by Ord. No. 1998-6]
(1) 
Any tree damage caused by any person or entity is to be repaired immediately at no expense to and to the satisfaction of the Municipal Shade Tree Commission. Trees damaged as judged by the Shade Tree Commission will be appraised to determine the extent and value of the damage. For the purposes of this article, pruning carried out in violation of the aforementioned standards shall be categorized as "damage."
(2) 
If the shade tree is damaged, the Municipality of Kingston may pursue the individual or entity inflicting such damage for the appraised value of said damage. This remedy is in addition to the penalties for violation set forth in § 167-19 of this article. If the Shade Tree Commission determines that the damage warrants removal, the municipality may take such action and accomplish such removal. In the event of damage or necessary removal, the municipality may pursue the individual or entity causing such damage for the appraised value of the damaged tree in its undamaged condition. In the alternative, at the municipality's option, the municipality may accept replacement trees whose combined diameter is equal to the tree removed. All replacement trees shall be balled and burlapped and of a species approved by the Shade Tree Commission. Replacement trees shall be delivered to the municipality between April 1 and May 15 of the year following the damage and removal.

§ 167-10 Restricted activities.

No person shall, without first obtaining a permit therefor, cut, break, climb with spurs, injure in any manner or remove any shade tree; or cut down or interfere in any way with the main roots of any shade tree; or spray any shade tree with any chemical or insecticide; or place any rope, guy wire, cable, sign, poster or any other fixture on any shade tree or guard for any shade tree; or injure, misuse or remove any device placed to protect any shade tree, except in case of immediate necessity for the protection of life and property.

§ 167-11 Access of air and water to roots.

No person shall, without first obtaining a permit, place or hereafter maintain any stone, cement or any other substance which shall impede the passage of water and air to the roots of any shade tree unless such person shall have an open space of ground surrounding the trunk of such tree, such space to be not less than four feet square.

§ 167-12 Protective guards under certain circumstances.

In connection with any building operation or the performance of any work whatsoever in the borough in the vicinity of any shade tree, before any work shall be commenced, guards shall be placed at all shade trees which might be affected by such work so as effectually to prevent injury to them.

§ 167-13 Pouring or placing of certain materials near trees.

No person shall pour salt water, oil or any other material at any place in such a manner that injury might result to any shade tree.

§ 167-14 Attachment of electrical apparatus to shade trees.

No person shall, without first having obtained a permit therefor, attach any electric wire, insulator or any device for the holding of an electric wire to any shade tree.

§ 167-15 Injury of trees by electric wires.

Every person having any wire charged with electricity running along or through a public highway shall securely fasten such wire or place an adequate shield thereon, so that such wire shall not come into contact with any shade tree, so as not to injure the same.

§ 167-16 Removal of wires during pruning.

Whenever, in order to take down or prune any shade tree in any public highway or having branches extending over any public highway, it shall be deemed necessary to remove any wire running through or along such public highway, the public utility involved shall be notified and shall promptly do the necessary work to take down or prune the tree.

§ 167-17 Removal of diseased trees.

The Commission may, upon 30 days' notice, require owners of property to cut and remove dead trees and trees afflicted with the Dutch elm or other disease which threatens to injure or destroy shade trees in the borough. Upon failure of any owner to comply with such notice, the borough may cause the work to be done by the borough and levy and collect all or any portion of the cost thereof from the owner of the property. The cost of such work shall be a lien upon the premises from the time of the commencement of the work, which date shall be fixed by the Borough Engineer and shall be filed with the Borough Secretary. Any such lien may be collected by action in assumpsit or by lien filed in the manner provided by law for the filing and collection of municipal claims.

§ 167-18 Enforcement.

This Article shall be enforced by the Commission in conjunction with the Mayor and the borough police.

§ 167-19 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 2-11-1985]
Any person who shall violate any provision of this Article shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a fine of not more than $300 and costs of such proceedings or, upon default of payment of such fine and costs, by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 30 days.