Borough of Boyertown, PA
Berks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Boyertown 2-5-2007 by Ord. No. 01-07. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 70.
Parks and recreation areas — See Ch. 132.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 144.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 168.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 171.

§ 181-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BOROUGH
The Borough of Boyertown.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough of Boyertown.
NOTICE
A written notification to any person from the Code Enforcement Officer to plant, prune, remove or otherwise take action with respect to a shade tree.
PERMIT
Written permission to any person from the Code Enforcement Officer to perform some act with respect to a shade free.
PERSON
Refers to any natural person, firm, unincorporated association, partnership or corporation.
PUBLIC HIGHWAY
Includes the vehicular cartway and the right-of-way attendant.
STREET AND/OR SHADE TREE
Trees, shrubs, bushes, and all other woody vegetation on land lying in the Borough right-of-way lines on either side of all streets, avenues, alleys or ways within the Borough of Boyertown.

§ 181-2 General regulations of street trees.

A. 
No person shall plant or remove a street tree without first obtaining a permit from the Code Enforcement Officer. The permit shall state the species of the tree to be removed or planted and its location.
B. 
No person shall destroy, break, cut, scrape, paint, whitewash or in any way deface, injure or interfere with the roots, trunk, bark, branches, leaves, flowers or fruit of any street tree without written permission of the Code Enforcement Officer. Exception: This section shall not apply if the roots are interfering with a utility line.
C. 
All street trees shall be kept trimmed on or over the street, sidewalk and public alley on which they are located in accordance with §§ 181-8, 181-9 and 181-10. Street trees shall be trimmed so that no portion of any growing shrub or other woody plants (i.e., hedges) shall encroach to within 12 inches of any curbline of any property whereat there is no sidewalk or encroach over the sidewalk area where sidewalk has been installed. Any encroachment of or within 12 inches of the curbline where there is no sidewalk shall constitute a violation of these regulations.
D. 
No person shall attach any wire insulator, or other device for holding such wire, or any other item, document, flier or material to any street tree. Exception: Newly planted trees and or damaged trees may be guyed to provide stability during the first growing season.
E. 
All other wires shall be securely fastened so as not to come in contact with said trees or any part thereof, nor shall any person direct or allow their employees to climb said trees without the written permission of the Code Enforcement Officer. The use of implements with sharp, penetrating points, i.e., nails, staples, bolts, etc., is positively prohibited.
F. 
No person shall cause, authorize or permit any oil, liquid dye or any other substance deleterious to tree life to lie, leak, pour, flow or drop on or into the soil about the base of any street tree.
G. 
No person shall permit any escape of gas so as to injure any street tree. Any gas leak must immediately be repaired in such manner as to minimize any chance of recurrence.
H. 
No tight guards or any other device shall be attached to any street tree without the permission of the Code Enforcement Officer. No guard or device approved by the Code Enforcement Officer intended for the protection of a street tree shall be removed or damaged. Exception: Damaged trees may be secured by a holding device to allow healing.
I. 
In the erection, alteration, repair or removal of any building or structure, the owner thereof shall be responsible for the placing of such guards around all street trees as shall effectually prevent injury to them. No stories, brick, cement or any other building materials shall be placed in any manner which may impede the free passage of air and water to the roots of a street tree.
J. 
No person shall attach any rope, wire, sign, or other object to any street tree guard without the written permission of the Code Enforcement Officer.
K. 
Any of the regulations outlined above may be waived by the Code Enforcement Officer when it is necessary to perform the regulated actions to protect or preserve life or property.

§ 181-3 Street tree species to be planted.

The Borough Council shall, by resolution, establish from time to time a list of the official street tree species for the Borough of Boyertown, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. No species other than those included in such list may be planted as street trees without the written permission of the Code Enforcement Officer. A permit must be secured before planting, in accordance with § 181-13 of these regulations. The Code Enforcement Officer may refuse to issue a permit to plant any species of tree which in its opinion is not suited to the location.

§ 181-4 Location and spacing.

A. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall determine the species size class for each location.
B. 
The spacing of street trees will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in § 181-3 of this chapter and no trees may be planted closer together than the following, except in special plantings designed or approved by a landscape architect:
(1) 
Small trees: 30 feet;
(2) 
Medium trees: 40 feet;
(3) 
Large trees: 50 feet.
C. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall have the authority to solicit advice from an arborist or consultant on any tree issues.
D. 
The Code Enforcement Officer may allow any variances from this ordinance based on special conditions or circumstances.

§ 181-5 Distance from curb and sidewalk.

The distance trees may be planted from curbs or curblines and sidewalks will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in § 181-3 of this chapter, and no trees may be planted closer to any curb or sidewalk than the following:
A. 
Small trees: two feet;
B. 
Medium trees: three feet;
C. 
Large trees: four feet.

§ 181-6 Distance from street corners, stop signs and fireplugs.

No street tree shall be planted closer than 35 feet to any street corner, measured from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curblines except where a stop sign is placed; then no street tree shall be planted closer than 35 feet to any stop sign. No street tree shall be planted closer than 15 feet to any fireplug.

§ 181-7 Utilities; other obstructions.

No street trees other than those species listed as small trees per ordinance or resolution may be planted under or within 10 lateral feet of any overhead utility wire, or over or within 10 lateral feet of any underground water line, sewer line, transmission line, other utility, or any parking meter, bilco door, or other obstruction.

§ 181-8 Public tree care.

A. 
The Borough shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within the right-of-way lines of all streets, alleys, avenues, and lanes, as may be necessary to insure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such areas. The Borough shall only have the right to plant trees within the public right-of-way with the permission of the property owner.
B. 
The Borough may remove, or cause or order to be removed, any tree or part thereof which is in an unsafe condition or which by reason of its nature is injurious to sewers, electric power lines, gas lines, water lines or other public improvements, or is affected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest.
C. 
The Borough may order removal of any tree which has become overgrown and when the base of the trunk reaches the curbline.

§ 181-9 Tree topping.

It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm or Borough department to top any street tree. "Topping" is defined as the severe cutting back of 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 severely damaged by storms or other causes, or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical, may be exempted from this section at the determination of the Code Enforcement Officer.

§ 181-10 Pruning and maintenance.

The clearance of space between the street and the overhanging branches of the tree shall be 13 feet six inches above the surface of the street continuing completely around the circumference of the tree. Branches shall not obstruct the proper spread of light from any streetlight or obstruct the view of any sign, traffic control device or street intersection. Dead, broken or decayed limbs must be removed so as not to constitute a menace to the safety of the public. (Newly planted trees will be exempt from height requirements in this section until the tree reaches maturity). The cost and expense of caring for such trees after having been planted (except for removal) shall be borne by the property owner.

§ 181-11 Dead or diseased tree removal on private property.

A. 
The Borough shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased trees on private property within the Borough, when such trees constitute a hazard to life and property, or harbor insects or disease which constitute a potential threat to other trees within the Borough.
B. 
The Code Enforcement Officer will notify, in writing, the owners of such trees. Removal shall be done by said owners at their expense within 60 days after the date of service of notice, unless exigent circumstances require removal in a shorter period as determined by the Code Enforcement Officer. The above time frames may be extended by the Code Enforcement Officer upon request in writing by the owner, setting forth the reasons for the same. In the event of the failure of owners to comply with such provisions, the Borough shall have the authority to remove such trees and charge the cost of removal to the property owner in the form of a lien upon the 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.

§ 181-12 Removal of stumps.

All stumps of street trees shall be removed below the surface of the ground so that the top of the stump shall not project above the surface of the ground.

§ 181-13 Notices and permits.

A. 
Any person receiving a written notice from the Code Enforcement Officer to perform any of the actions requested in this chapter must conform to the notice within the time period specified on the notice. Failure to comply with the notice will result in the work being done by the Borough at the expense of the person receiving the notice. The entire cost of the work performed shall be a lien upon the 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.
B. 
Applications to the Code Enforcement Officer for permission to plant a street tree must state the species and the location of the tree to be planted. The Code Enforcement Officer may refuse to issue a permit which in his opinion violates this chapter or is not suited for its location. Issued permits will state the approved species and the approved location of the planting. The Borough will mark the exact location where the tree(s) may be planted according to code. Any violation of any such conditions or limitations shall be a violation of these regulations.
C. 
Upon completion of work, the applicant shall fill out the bottom section of the permit and return the stub to the Code Enforcement Officer.
D. 
There shall be no charge or fee for any of the permits required under these regulations.
E. 
Whenever the Borough proposes to plant, transplant or remove shade trees on any street, notice of the time and place of the meeting at which such work is to be considered shall be given in one newspaper of general circulation in the Borough once a week for two weeks immediately preceding the time of the meeting. The notice shall specify in detail the streets or portions upon which the trees are proposed to be planted, replanted or removed.

§ 181-14 Interference with Borough.

It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the Borough, or any of its agents, while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying or removing of any trees as authorized in this chapter.

§ 181-15 Violations and penalties.

Any person who shall violate any of the foregoing regulations may, upon conviction therefor before the appropriate authority, be sentenced to pay a fine of $50 but not more than $300 for each and every violation and for each tree concerned, and all costs of prosecution, and in addition thereto, or in the alternative, where authorized by the foregoing regulations, charges may be assessed against the owners of property and liens placed against real estate of the offender and collected in the same manner as municipal claims are collected.

§ 181-16 Payment of damages.

In the event of a shade tree being damaged, the Borough may make a charge for treatment to the tree, plus, should the tree be destroyed, all costs for removal and replacement of the tree, against the person causing the damage to the said tree(s). The payment of damages as set forth herein is in addition to the penalties set forth in § 181-15.

§ 181-17 Payment by owners; assessments and liens.

A. 
The cost of planting, transplanting or removing any shade trees in and along the streets and highways in the Borough, of the necessary and suitable guards, curbing or grading for the protection thereof, and of the replacing of any pavement or sidewalk necessarily disturbed in the execution of such work, shall be paid by the owner of the real estate abutting that on which the work is done, unless the work is done under grant. The amount each owner is to pay shall be ascertained and certified by the Code Enforcement Officer to Council and to the Borough Treasurer.
B. 
Upon the filing of the certificate within the Council, the Borough Secretary shall cause 30 days' written notice to be given to every person against whose property an assessment has been made. The notice shall state the amount of the assessment, and the time and place of payment, and shall be accompanied with a copy of the certificate. The amount assessed against the real estate shall be a lien from the time of the filing of the certificate with the Council, and if not paid within the time designated in the notice, a claim may be filed and collected by the Borough Solicitor in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.

§ 181-18 Enforcement.

These regulations shall be enforced by the following parties:
A. 
The Code Enforcement Officer;
B. 
The Police Department; and
C. 
The Borough Manager.