Township of Warminster, PA
Bucks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
GENERAL REFERENCES
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 22.
Zoning — See Ch. 27.
Attachment 1 - Appendix A, Plant Materials List

§ 25-101 Short title.

[Ord. 609, 3/11/2004, § I]
This Part 1 shall be known as the "Tree Ordinance of the Township of Warminster."

§ 25-102 Word usage; definitions.

[Ord. 609, 3/11/2004, § I]
1. 
In interpreting this Part 1, the present tense includes the future; the singular number includes the plural, and the plural the singular; and the word "person" includes natural persons, partnerships, firms, associations and corporations.
2. 
As used in this Part 1, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The duly elected and sworn members of the Warminster Township Board of Supervisors, which is the sole governing body of the Township.
CALIPER
The diameter of a tree, measured at a point on the trunk 4 1/2 feet above the ground surface.
CANOPY TREE
Canopy trees must be a deciduous type and a minimum of 2 1/2 inches in caliper when planted. When mature, a canopy tree should be a minimum of 40 feet high and have a minimum crown width of 30 feet.
PARK BOARD
The duly appointed members of the Park Recreation and Conservation Board of the Township of Warminster.
RIGHT-OF-WAY
The area of any public street, road, highway or other publicly held thoroughfare within the corporate limits of the Township that has been designated by law as the public right-of-way.
SHRUB
A woody plant (smaller than a tree), usually having multiple permanent stems branching from or near the ground. Shrubs may be evergreen or deciduous and shall be three gallons in size per ANSI standards at the time of planting.
STREET TREE
Any tree that is planted along a public right-of-way within Warminster Township. The street trees approved for use in Warminster Township are listed in § 22-523 of Chapter 22, Subdivision and Land Development, of the Code of the Township of Warminster. (Evergreen/conifer trees, including arborvitae, and other similar species shall not be used for street trees in Warminster Township.)
TOWNSHIP
The duly incorporated Township of Warminster, County of Bucks, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States of America.
TREE (DECIDUOUS)
Any tree that sheds its leaves before the cold or dry season. New leaves appear in spring.
TREE (EVERGREEN/CONIFER)
Evergreen/conifer trees have small and waxy leaves, sometimes needles, which are usually kept all year and usually remain green all year. The evergreen/conifer trees approved for use in Warminster Township are listed in § 22-523 of Chapter 22, Subdivision and Land Development, of the Code of the Township of Warminster.
UNDERSTORY TREE
Understory trees must be a deciduous type and a minimum of two inches in caliper when planted. When mature, an understory tree should be 25 feet to 40 feet high.

§ 25-103 Legislative intent.

[Ord. 609, 3/11/2004, § I]
A. 
The Township recognizes that properly planted, maintained and protected trees add to the aesthetics and health and welfare of the citizens of the Township. It shall be the intent of this Part 1 for the Township of Warminster to establish rules and regulations to encourage the planting of appropriate trees, provide for the proper maintenance of trees, protect trees and provide guidelines for the removal and replacement of trees.
B. 
It is also the intent of this Part 1 to encourage the use of deciduous canopy-type trees whenever possible and limit the use of evergreen/conifer trees when not used in conjunction with deciduous trees in an overall planting scheme.
C. 
It shall be a priority, and the goal of Warminster Township, to reforest portions of the public parkland. If a person or entity required to plant trees agrees with the Township to plant the trees off site, or pay a fee in lieu of planting trees on site, the priority of the Board of Supervisors shall be to plant the trees or use the fee in lieu of trees to reforest portions of the public parkland.

§ 25-104 Park, Recreation and Conservation Board.

[Ord. 609, 3/11/2004, § I]
1. 
The Park Board shall, when called upon, act as an advisory panel to the Township Board of Supervisors on all Township matters having an environmental impact on the Township, including, but not limited to, land development, park development, or improvements and revitalization projects.
2. 
The Park Board shall report to the Township Board of Supervisors.

§ 25-105 General regulations.

[Ord. 609, 3/11/2004, § I]
1. 
The maintenance, care or removal of any trees, as defined herein, and required compliance with any provisions of this Part 1 shall be the responsibility of the property owner on whose property the tree is located or whose property abuts the right-of-way in which the tree is located.
2. 
No person, without first obtaining permission from the Park and Recreation Department, shall remove, relocate, cut, prune, break, affix any foreign object to or in any way cause injury to any tree within any public right-of-way or municipal property within the Township.
3. 
No person, without first obtaining permission from the Park and Recreation Department, shall plant a tree within any public right-of-way or municipal property within the Township.
4. 
Persons making application for permission from the Park and Recreation Department shall provide recommendations and certification from a certified arborist.
5. 
All mature trees located in the public right-of-way or having branches extending into the public right-of-way shall be kept trimmed to a minimum branching height of nine feet, except that the Board of Supervisors may require greater height clearances to eliminate traffic or other hazards.
[Amended by Ord. 737, 1/19/2017]
6. 
Whenever, in the opinion of the Township, a health or safety hazard exists which is caused by a tree, the Township may issue a written order to the responsible property owner to take action to correct the condition within 10 days of the date of the order. If, after written notification, the responsible property owner fails to take corrective action, the Township Department of Public Works shall have the required work accomplished to correct the health or safety condition and shall bill the responsible property owner. Failure to remit by the responsible property owner may result in a lien placed against the property by the Township.
7. 
Whenever a tree is planted within 10 feet of a curb or public sidewalk, a root barrier of a type approved by the Township shall be required.
8. 
Whenever a tree is cut down in the public right-of-way, removal of a stump should occur within 30 days.

§ 25-106 Trees in Township parks and municipal properties.

[Ord. 609, 3/11/2004, § I]
1. 
A certified arborist chosen by the Park Board shall perform a biannual inspection of all trees in the parks of the Township and on all municipal properties owned by the Township and file a report with the Township Board of Supervisors on the condition of the trees and needed maintenance. The inspection shall be done in the late summer and the report filed as needed.
2. 
The Director of Warminster Township Parks and Recreation shall maintain all records relating to trees agreed to be planted off site and funds from applicants in lieu of planting trees on their site. The goal is to use these excess trees, or the funds paid in lieu of trees, to reforest Township parkland areas.
3. 
If requested by the Board of Supervisors, any new planting proposals shall be reviewed by the Park Board prior to review by the Warminster Township Planning Commission, and the Board shall make recommendations on the type of trees (indigenous species) that should be planted.

§ 25-107 Trees in residential and nonresidential districts.

[Ord. 609, 3/11/2004, § I]
In addition to the foregoing general regulations, the following special provisions shall apply to trees located in residential and nonresidential zoning districts of the Township:
1. 
Only canopy trees will be used for street trees in these districts.
2. 
A combination of canopy, understory, and evergreen/conifer trees and shrubs shall be used for buffer planting in these districts.
3. 
Except on existing individual residential lots, existing trees three inches in caliper or greater shall not be removed without first obtaining the approval of the Township Engineer, in writing. All trees that are to be removed must be replaced by understory trees or canopy trees. Additionally, the cumulative size of trees removed must be replaced on a one-for-one basis. If a person or entity required to plant trees agrees with the Township to plant the trees off site or pay a fee in lieu of planting trees on site, those trees or fee in lieu of planting may be used in the Township's parkland reforestation project, as directed by the Township Director of Parks and Recreation. This Subsection 3 shall apply to all residential land yet to be developed and to all nonresidential property.
4. 
Dead or diseased trees not located in the public right-of-way or which are not part of a buffer planting may be removed without being replaced. However, on residential land yet to be developed and on nonresidential lots, and for all trees located within the public right-of-way or which are a part of a buffer planting, written permission of the Township Engineer must be obtained prior to the removal of dead or diseased trees.
5. 
The Township recommends that trees should be planted with alternating species to prevent possible future disease and infection.

§ 25-108 Violations and penalties.

[Ord. 609, 3/11/2004, § I]
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this Part 1, upon a finding of liability in a civil enforcement action commenced before a Magisterial District Judge pursuant to the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, shall pay a penalty of not more than $600 per violation, plus costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the Township in the enforcement proceedings. Each day that a violation of this Part 1 continues shall constitute a separate offense.

§ 25-201 Purpose and intent.

[Ord. 730, 7/21/2016]
The purpose of this Part 2 is to control the planting, cultivating, or growing of certain running bamboo grasses in the Township, and to require barriers to prevent the invasive spread of existing running bamboo into other areas of the Township.

§ 25-202 Definitions.

[Ord. 730, 7/21/2016]
As used in this Part 2, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BAMBOO
Any monopodial (running) tropical or semitropical grasses from the genera Bambusa, including, but not limited to, Bambusa phyllostachys, fallopia and pseudosasa as well as common bamboo, golden bamboo, arrow bamboo, and Japanese bamboo.
BAMBOO OWNER
Any property owner or resident who has planted and/or grows bamboo, or who maintains bamboo on his/her property, or who permits bamboo to grow or remain on the property even if the bamboo has spread from an adjoining property. Any property owner or resident at property on which bamboo is found will be considered a bamboo owner, except any property owner or resident who:
1. 
Has provided satisfactory proof to the Township that, within a reasonable period of time after discovering the encroachment of bamboo onto the property from an adjoining or neighboring property, he/she has advised the owner of such property of his/her objection to the encroachment; and
2. 
Has initiated steps for the removal of the encroaching bamboo, including notifying the Township of the encroachment or otherwise exercising private remedies at law.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Warminster, Bucks County.

§ 25-203 Applicability.

[Ord. 730, 7/21/2016]
For purposes of this Part 2, bamboo found growing upon a property shall constitute presumptive evidence that the bamboo was planted and/or grown by and/or with the consent of the property owner, tenant, or other individual, entity or corporation having control over the property.

§ 25-204 Prohibition.

[Ord. 730, 7/21/2016]
Except as provided herein, upon the effective date of this Part 2, the planting or growing of bamboo shall be prohibited within the Township, and no persons, property owners, tenants or other individual entities or corporations having control of property within the Township shall plant, cultivate or cause to grow any bamboo on any lot or parcel within the Township. Any person who plants or grows, or causes or allows to be planted or to be grown, bamboo within the Township shall be deemed to be in violation of this Part 2 and shall be subject to the penalties provided herein.

§ 25-205 Recovery of cost of removal.

[Ord. 730, 7/21/2016]
This Part 2 shall not be deemed to alter any rights of any property owner at common law or otherwise to recover the cost of removal of bamboo on their property that has run over from a neighboring property.

§ 25-206 Exceptions.

[Ord. 730, 7/21/2016]
1. 
The root system of such bamboo plant(s) is entirely contained within an aboveground level planter, barrel or other vessel of such design, material and location as to prevent the spread of growth of the bamboo plant's root system beyond the container in which it is planted.
2. 
The root system is contained completely within a barrier constructed in accordance with the following specifications, and only after a compliance inspection is performed and a permit issued by the Township:
A. 
The barrier itself shall be composed of a high-density polypropylene or polyethylene, with a thickness of 40 ml or more;
B. 
Each portion of the barrier shall be secured or joined together by use of stainless steel clamps or stainless steel closure strips;
C. 
The barrier shall be installed no less than 30 inches deep;
D. 
The barrier shall be circular or oblong shaped;
E. 
Not less than three inches of the barrier shall protrude above ground level around the entire perimeter of the bamboo planting area;
F. 
When installed, the barrier shall slant outward from the bottom to the top.
3. 
Whether planted or growing in a container, as described herein, all bamboo plants shall be located, trimmed and maintained so that no part of the plant shall be closer than 10 feet from any property line, pavement or sidewalk and no closer than 40 feet from a public or private roadway within the Township.

§ 25-207 Preexisting bamboo.

[Ord. 730, 7/21/2016]
Any bamboo that has been planted or otherwise permitted to grow on any property within the Township prior to the effective date of this Part 2 may remain on such property only subject to compliance with the following:
A. 
The bamboo shall not be closer than 10 feet from any property line, pavement or sidewalk and no closer than 40 feet from any public or private roadway within the Township.
B. 
Any bamboo owner whose property contains bamboo shall remove and abate the growth of any bamboo within 40 feet of the edge of pavement or traveled portion of any roadway within the Township.
C. 
Each bamboo owner shall be responsible to ensure that the bamboo planted or growing on the property prior to the effective date of this Part 2 is maintained such that it does not encroach or grow upon any adjoining or neighboring property or properties, including all public property and public rights-of-way.
D. 
If the Township determines that any portion of such bamboo has been allowed to grow upon, extend roots across, or extend branches, stalks, or leaves over any public right-of-way or any private property not owned by or in possession of the bamboo owner, the bamboo owner shall be required to comply with the provisions of § 25-208.
[Amended by Ord. 737, 1/19/2017]

§ 25-208 Removal.

[Ord. 730, 7/21/2016]
In the event the bamboo owner does not remove or contract for the removal of bamboo from any public or private property within 20 days from the date of written notice of any violation under this Part 2, the Township may take such steps it deems appropriate to abate the violation, including removal of the bamboo by Township personnel, removal of the bamboo by contract, charging the costs of removal as liens against the property remediated or filing an appropriate action in equity to abate the violation. Nothing herein shall be construed to create an affirmative obligation on the part of the Township to abate or remove any bamboo within the Township.

§ 25-209 Replanting prohibited.

[Ord. 730, 7/21/2016]
Any bamboo which is removed after the effective date of this Part 2, whether by death, destruction or other method, may not be replanted unless such replanting is consistent with the provisions of this Part 2 that apply to new plantings.

§ 25-210 Violations and penalties.

[Ord. 730, 7/21/2016]
Any person, firm or corporation found to be in violation of any of the terms, conditions or provisions of this Part 2 shall, in addition to any other remedies provided hereunder, upon conviction before any Magisterial District Judge, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be required to pay a fine not exceeding $1,000, plus the costs of prosecution. Each day that a violation continues after due notice shall constitute a separate offense.