Borough of Hellertown, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Hellertown as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Property maintenance — See Ch. 310.
Tampering with public property — See Ch. 314.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 385.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 390, § 390-25.
[Adopted 5-6-1985 by Ord. No. 531]

§ 416-1 Title and short title.

A. 
Title. An ordinance establishing rules, regulations and standards governing the planting, replanting, removal, care of shade trees located along the various public ways of the Borough of Hellertown; the procedures to be followed relative to the administration of, and compliance with, these rules, regulations and standards; and setting forth the penalties for the violation thereof.
B. 
Short title. This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Borough of Hellertown Shade Tree Ordinance of 1985."

§ 416-2 Authority and jurisdiction.

A. 
Authority. The Borough Council is empowered to adopt, by ordinance, rules, regulations and standards regarding the custody and control of shade trees in the Borough pursuant to Article XXVI of the Borough Code, Act of February 1, 1966 (1965 P.L., No. 581), as amended.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 45101 et seq.
B. 
Jurisdiction. The Borough Council shall have the exclusive custody and control of the shade trees along and within the rights-of-way of the highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, and other public ways of the Borough of Hellertown, and may plant, remove, trim, maintain and protect said shade trees, and may require the planting, removal, trimming and/or maintenance of said shade trees. This jurisdiction shall also apply with respect to the trimming of any shade tree, the branches of which extend over and above any such public rights-of-way, as above enumerated, or to any shade tree, the continued existence of which shall be deemed a hazard to the public welfare.

§ 416-3 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to provide a uniform set of rules and regulations governing the care and control of the shade trees located along and within the various public ways of the Borough of Hellertown in order to promote the general welfare and safety of the community.

§ 416-4 General terms.

The following terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them as set forth below, except in those instances where the context already indicates a different meaning. All terms of the singular shall include those of the plural, and vice versa. The masculine shall include the feminine, and vice versa. The term "may" is permissible; "shall" is mandatory.

§ 416-5 Specific terms.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
PERMIT
That written document issued by the Borough of Hellertown pursuant to the various terms of this article.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, association, partnership or corporation.
RIGHT-OF-WAY
The entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
ROADWAY
That portion of a highway improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic.
SHADE TREE
Any tree, shrub or woody plant along or within the rights-of-way of the Borough of Hellertown, or that part of any tree, shrub or woody plant which extends within the public rights-of-way of the said Borough.
SIDEWALK
That portion of a street between curblines or the lateral lines of a roadway and the adjacent property lines intended for use by pedestrians.
SUBSTANTIAL TRIMMING
The pruning of a tree in such a manner and to the extent that said tree may be permanently damaged or destroyed.

§ 416-6 Trimming of shade trees.

A. 
Property owners responsible. It shall be the responsibility of every person owning property in the Borough of Hellertown to trim and to keep trimmed all shade trees growing on such property, and which also are located within the public rights-of-way and/or the branches of which extend over said rights-of-way and/or the public sidewalks, so that:
(1) 
There shall be a minimum clearance of the branches thereof of 14 feet above the roadway and nine feet above the public sidewalk.
(2) 
There shall be no obstruction of any parking or traffic control and regulatory signs as may be present.
(3) 
There shall be sufficient line-of-sight distances afforded to the operators of vehicles upon the public roadways within the Borough.
(4) 
There shall be no excessive obstruction of the illumination of the public streetlights of the Borough.
B. 
Authority of Borough to intercede. Should any person, responsible under Subsection A fail, neglect, or refuse to trim or cause to be trimmed any shade tree as required thereby, within 10 days after notice from said Borough to do so, the Borough shall have the authority to cause said work to be accomplished in the manner in which it deems to be most expedient and to collect the cost thereof, together with an additional amount of 10% of said cost, from such property owner in default.

§ 416-7 Removal of shade trees.

A. 
Damaged or diseased shade trees presenting imminent hazards. When any shade tree, which is located within the public rights-of-way and/or the branches of which extend over said public rights-of-way and/or the public sidewalks, shall become damaged by storm and/or are affected by any contagious disease or insect infestation, to the point where said shade tree endangers the life, health, safety or property of the general public, and said shade tree should be removed or substantially trimmed to mitigate the aforesaid hazards, it shall be within the discretion of the Borough of Hellertown to determine the degree of the remedy necessary to correct the identified hazard. In these instances, the following procedure shall prevail:
(1) 
The owner of the property, upon which the diseased/damaged shade tree is located, shall be notified, in writing, of the deficiency and of the required remedy.
(2) 
Said notification shall include:
(a) 
A permit, issued by the Borough, as required pursuant to §§ 416-12 and 416-13 of this article.
(b) 
The specified number of days in which the property owner shall be required to have completed, or to have caused to be completed, the specific remedy.
(c) 
Any other conditions as may be imposed pursuant to the terms of this article.
(3) 
It shall be the responsibility of the property owner upon whose property said identified shade tree is located to ensure compliance with this notification.
(4) 
In the event that the property owner should fail, neglect or refuse to comply with said notification within the required time period or should the Borough be unable to identify the subject property owner, the Borough then shall have the authority to cause the remedy to be accomplished in the manner in which it deems most expedient and to collect the cost thereof, together with an additional amount of 10%, from such property owner once he has been identified.
B. 
Damaged or diseased shade trees not presenting an imminent hazard. Should any property owner or person desire to remove or substantially trim a shade tree, as protected pursuant to the terms of this article, whether because it is believed that said shade tree is diseased or damaged or for any other reason, that property owner first shall make written application to the Borough for permission to effect the proposed removal, in accordance with the permit procedures as provided in § 416-13 of this article. It shall be the responsibility of the property owner or person so applying for a permit to document the justification for the proposed removal of the shade tree. Included among examples of justification for removal or substantial trimming are: a statement from a person engaged in the business of tree surgery, arboriculture or tree service, relative to damage and/or disease; or a statement from a registered plumber or the Hellertown Borough Authority which documents a history of sanitary sewer line infiltration by the roots of a protected shade tree.
C. 
Treatment of stumps. Any stump which remains subsequent to the felling of a protected shade tree shall be excised so that, at a minimum, the topmost portion of any remaining stump is level with or below the surrounding surface of the ground.
D. 
Coordination of efforts. Any property owner or person who has received the requisite permission to proceed with the removal or substantial trimming of a shade tree shall coordinate the proposed efforts with the Hellertown Borough Public Works and/or Police Department prior to the commencement of efforts. This coordination is to determine if the proposed efforts will require the closure or partial closure of any of the various public ways of the Borough, and to ensure that measures satisfactory to the Borough will be taken to protect the general welfare and safety of the public.

§ 416-8 Planting of shade trees. [1]

A. 
Property owners responsible. It should be the responsibility of every person, upon request by the Borough, to plant and pay for the cost of planting and/or transplanting any shade tree in and along the streets and highways in the Borough.
B. 
The cost of planting and/or transplanting:
(1) 
The costs of purchasing and planting a shade tree; the necessary and suitable guards, curbing or grading for the protection thereof; and 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 where the work is done.
(2) 
The amount each owner is to pay shall be ascertained and certified by the Shade Tree Commission to Borough Council and to the Borough Treasurer.
C. 
Notice.
(1) 
The owner of the property upon which the planting or replacement of a shade tree is located shall be notified, in writing, of the deficiency and of the required remedy.
(2) 
Said notification shall include:
(a) 
A permit, issued by the Borough, as required pursuant to §§ 416-12 and 416-13 of this article.
(b) 
The specified number of days in which the property owner shall be required to have completed, or to have caused to be completed, the specific remedy.
(c) 
Any other conditions as may be imposed pursuant to the terms of this article.
(3) 
It shall be the responsibility of the property owner upon whose property said identified shade tree is located to ensure compliance with this notification.
(4) 
In the event that the property owner should fail, neglect or refuse to comply with said notification within the required time period or should the Borough be unable to identify the subject property owner, the Borough then shall have the authority to cause the remedy to be accomplished in the manner in which it deems most expedient and to collect the cost thereof, together with an additional amount of 10%, from such property owner once he has been identified.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 416-9 Approved shade trees.

A. 
Preferred tree species.[1]
(1) 
Small trees, smaller than 30 feet. Suitable for narrow street tree lawns/pits (less than six feet wide), and low overhead utility lines. Trees should be planted at thirty-foot to thirty-five-foot intervals.
Acer buergerianum
Trident maple
Acer campestre (cultivars Queen Elizabeth 'Evelyn' or 'Schichtel's Upright')
Hedge maple
Carpinus caroliniana
Ironwood, Musclewood or American hornbeam
Cercis canadensis (single leader)
Eastern redbud
Cornus mas
Cornelian-cherry
Pyrus betulaefolia 'Southworth' Dancer™
Ornamental birch-leaf pear
Pyrus calleryana 'Jaczam,' 'Jilzam'
Jack™, Jill™ callery pear
Syringa reticulata 'Ivory Silk'
Japanese tree lilac
Tilia cordata 'Halka'
Summer Sprite® littleleaf linden
Zelkova serrata 'Schmidtlow'
Wireless® zelkova
(2) 
Medium to large trees, larger than 30 feet. Suitable for wide tree lawns/pits (greater than six feet wide) or park settings without overhead utility lines. Trees should be planted at thirty-five-foot to forty-foot intervals.
Acer x freemanii 'Armstrong'
Columnar red maple
Acer rubrum
Red maple
Carpinus betulus
European hornbeam
Cercidiphyllum japonicum
Katsura tree
Celtis occidentalis
Common hackberry
Ginkgo biloba (male only)
Ginkgo, sometimes called "Maidenhair Tree"
Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis (nonfruiting cultivars)
Thornless common honeylocust
Gymnocladus dioicus (male only)
Kentucky coffeetree
Phellodendron amurense (male only)
Amur cork tree
Platanus x aceriflolia
London planetree
Prunus sargentii
Sargent cherry
Quercus acutissima
Sawtooth oak
Quercus coccinea
Scarlet oak
Quercus imbricaria
Shingle oak
Quercus macrocarpa
Bur oak or mossycup oak
Quercus muehlenbergii
Chinkapin oak, sometimes called "Yellow chestnut oak"
Quercus phellos
Willow oak
Quercus rubra
Northern red oak
Quercus robur
English oak
Quercus shumardii
Shumard oak
Robinia pseudoacacia
Black locust
Tilia cordata 'Greenspire'
Littleleaf linden
Tilia tomentosa 'Green Mountain'
Silver linden
Ulmus carpinifolia (Dutch-elm-disease-resistant cultivars)
Elm hybrids
Zelkova serrata
Japanese zelkova
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
Any shade tree not included on this list, and as may be proposed as a replacement tree, is subject to approval of the Borough. This list may be amended, from time to time, at the discretion of the Council of the Borough, by resolution of said Council.

§ 416-10 Permit required.

No person shall plant or cause to be planted any tree within the public rights-of-way of the Borough without first having secured a permit from the Borough pursuant to §§ 416-12 and 416-13 of this article.

§ 416-11 Type and location subject to approval.

The Borough may specify the type and location of any new shade tree proposed to be planted within the public rights-of-way of the Borough. Such a stipulation shall be made as part of any permit that may be issued.

§ 416-12 Permits required.

No person shall remove, substantially trim or plant any shade tree located or to be located within the public rights-of-way without first having made application for and having received a permit as issued by the Borough of Hellertown.

§ 416-13 Permit procedure.

A. 
Application. A shade tree permit application shall be secured from the Borough of Hellertown. Said application shall be completed in its entirety and returned to the Borough, together with five-dollar nonrefundable filing fee.
B. 
Borough review. The Borough Secretary or his designated representative shall review the application and the actual site of the proposed work as may be necessary and proper. All reasonable efforts shall be made to complete this review within 10 working days of receipt of the application.
C. 
Permit issuance. Upon finding the application complete and being satisfied that the proposed work will be conducted in full compliance with the terms of this article, the Borough Secretary or his designated representative shall issue a shade tree permit, together with any conditions or stipulations as may be necessary given the circumstances of the application, the site involved, and/or to ensure compliance with the terms of this article.

§ 416-14 Unlawful acts.

It shall be unlawful for any person to plant, replant, remove, substantially trim, or fail to maintain any protected shade tree in a manner contrary to the provisions of this article.

§ 416-15 Violations and penalties. [1]

A. 
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate an provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 plus costs and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of this article continues or each section of this article which shall be found to have been violated shall constitute a separate offense.
B. 
Penalties imposed under the provisions of this article shall be a lien upon the real estate of the offender and may be collected as municipal claims are collected. All penalties and assessments imposed under this article shall be paid to the Treasurer of the Borough of Hellertown, to be placed to the credit of the Borough, subject to being drawn upon by the Borough for the purposes of the preceding sections of this article.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).