City of Poughkeepsie, NY
Dutchess County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Section 17 1/2-1 Short title. [1]

[Ord. of 2-8-1978, § 2]
This Chapter shall be known as the "Municipal Tree Ordinance of the City of Poughkeepsie."
[1]
Editor's Note: An ordinance of 2-8-1978 specifically amended the Code by adding a Ch. 15 1/2. In order to maintain the alphabetical sequence of chapter title, and with the consent of the city, said provisions have been redesignated Ch. 17 1/2, Sections 17 1/2-1 through 17 1/2-15, as herein set out.

Section 17 1/2-2 Legislative finding of fact.

[Ord. of 2-8-1978, § 2]
(a) 
It is hereby found and declared that the City of Poughkeepsie, New York, is situated in an area covered with a wide variety of trees and shrubs that are a vital part of the heritage passed on to us by nature and our forefathers.
(b) 
Trees are valued as a valuable asset, providing a healthier and more beautiful environment in which to live. They provide oxygen, shade, beauty and a contrast to the man-made, urban setting. They help prevent erosion, fill in streams, flash floods and air, noise and visual pollution.
(c) 
Trees are economically beneficial in attracting new industry, residents and visitors. Healthy trees of the right size and species enhance the value and marketability of property and promote the stability of neighborhoods.

Section 17 1/2-3 Definitions.

[Ord. of 2-8-1978, § 2; Ord. of 4-13-1982, 1]
For the purpose of this Chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings given herein:
PARK
Includes any public park having an individual name.
PROPERTY LINE
The outer edge of a street or highway.
PROPERTY OWNER
The person owning such property as shown by the Tax Map of the City of Poughkeepsie, New York.
PUBLIC TREES
All trees now or hereafter growing on any street, park or any other public place.
TREE
All trees and shrubs.
TREE LAWN
That part of the street or highway, not covered by sidewalk or other paving, lying between the property line and that portion of the street or highway usually used for vehicular traffic.
TREE PROTECTION ZONE
All streets, parks and other city-owned property and all land within any right-of-way of any street or highway.
TREE REMOVAL
Any act which will cause a tree to die within a three-year period.

Section 17 1/2-4 Shade Tree Commission, creation.

[Ord. of 2-8-1978, § 2; Ord. of 9-6-1978, § 1; Ord. of 6-19-1979, § 1; Ord. of 10-7-1980, § 1; Ord. of 4-13-1982, § 2]
There is hereby created and established a Shade Tree Commission consisting of nine members to be appointed by the Mayor, at least one of whom shall be either professionally trained or experienced in the field of municipal arboriculture; one of whom shall be a member of the Common Council; one of whom shall be a member of the Planning Department or other appropriate city department. All lay members of the Commission shall be citizens and actual residents of the City of Poughkeepsie. The professionally trained advisor, the member of the Common Council and the member of the Planning Department or other appropriate city department shall be ex officio members of the Commission and shall have no vote on matters before the Board. All members of the Commission shall serve without pay.

Section 17 1/2-5 Same: term of office.

[Ord. of 2-8-1978, § 2; Ord. of 9-6-1978, § 1]
Of the members of the Commission who are first appointed pursuant to this Chapter, two shall be designated to serve for terms of two years, two shall be designated to serve for terms of three years and two shall be designated to serve for terms of four years. Thereafter, the term of office shall be three years.

Section 17 1/2-6 Same: powers and duties.

[Ord. of 2-8-1978, § 2; Ord. of 4-13-1982, § 3]
The Shade Tree Commission shall have power and it shall be its duty:
(a) 
To study problems and needs of the city in connection with its tree planting program and to make recommendations to the City Administrator and/or his designee as to type and kind of trees to be planted in the city;
(b) 
To assist in the dissemination of news and information regarding the protection, maintenance, removal and planting of trees in the city;
(c) 
To make recommendations to the Common Council as to desirable legislation concerning the tree program and activities for the municipality; and
(d) 
To provide for the holding of regular and special meetings and to adopt rules and regulations, not inconsistent with this Chapter, for the conduct of the meeting and business of the Commission. The Commission shall file a copy of the rules and regulations, and any amendments thereto, with the City Clerk.

Section 17 1/2-7 Master street tree plan. [1]

[Ord. of 2-8-1978, § 2; Ord. of 4-13-1982, § 6]
(a) 
The City Administrator and/or his designee shall have the authority to formulate and adopt a Master Street Tree Plan with the advise and approval of the Shade Tree Commission. The Master Street Tree Plan shall specify the species of trees to be planted on each of the streets or other public sites of the municipality. From and after the effective date of the Master Street Tree Plan, or any amendment therefor, all planting shall conform thereto.
(b) 
The City Administrator and/or his designee, with the approval of the Shade Tree Commission, shall have the authority to amend, update or add to the Master Street Tree Plan at any time that circumstances make it advisable.
[1]
Editor's Note: An ordinance adopted 4-13-1982, § 4 through 12, provided for the repeal of Sections 17 1/2-7, 17 1/2-8 and 17 1/2-11 and renumbered Sections 17 1/2-9 through 17 1/2-15 as 17 1/2-7 through 17 1/2-12. Formerly, such repealed sections had pertained to the qualifications and duties of the Tree Foreman and set forth appeal procedure for aggrieved parties, as derived from an ordinance adopted 2-8-1978, § 2.

Section 17 1/2-8 Permits and permit fees.

[Ord. of 2-8-1978, § 2; Ord. of 4-13-1982, § 7]
No person shall trim, spray, maintain, plant, remove or otherwise disturb trees in public places without first filing an application and procuring a permit from the City Administrator or his designee. The application shall be on a form designated by the City Administrator and/or his designee with the advice of the Shade Tree Commission and shall contain such information and data as he deems reasonably necessary to a fair determination of whether a permit should be issued. The City Administrator and/or his designee shall issue the permit provided for herein if, in his judgment, the proposed work is necessary and desirable and the proposed method and workmanship are satisfactory (there shall be no fee assessed for such permits).

Section 17 1/2-9 Duty to trim, treat or remove trees.

[Ord. of 2-8-1978, § 2; Ord. of 4-13-1982, § 9]
(a) 
It shall be the duty of any person or person owning or occupying real property abutting on any street upon which property there are trees to trim or remove such trees so that they will not obscure or interfere with the view of motorists entering any intersection of the city, obstruct the passage of pedestrians on sidewalks or obstruct the streetlights or traffic signs.
(b) 
The owner or occupant of private property shall treat or remove any trees suffering from a transmittable disease or insect infestation which is on such private property but may affect the health of trees in public places.
(c) 
If the provisions of Subsections (a) and (b) are not complied with, the City Administrator and/or his designee may serve written notice to comply with the provisions of said subsection upon the owner or occupant or any person having control of such property. The Councilman in whose ward such tree or trees exist shall also receive a copy of the written notice to comply.
(d) 
Such notice shall be affixed or posted upon said property, and a copy of such notice shall be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, to such owner, occupant or person at his last known address. Such notice shall require compliance with provisions of said subsection within 30 days after the time of posting of such notice as aforesaid. Compliance shall be requested within five days after the time of posting such notice in the case of hazardous conditions.
(e) 
If the person upon whom such notice is served fails, neglects or refuses to trim, treat or remove such trees within 30 days after the date of mailing or posting of such notice as aforesaid or within five days after the date of mailing or posting of such notice in the case of hazardous conditions, the Tree Foreman shall cause such trees on such private property to be trimmed, treated or removed.
(f) 
The actual cost to the city of such trimming, treating or removal, plus a sum equal to 5% of such actual cost for inspection and other additional cost in connection therewith shall be certified by the City Administrator and/or his designee to the Commissioner of Finance and the amount thereof shall become and be a lien upon the property on which such tree was located, and the total amount thereof shall be added to and become a part of the next annual assessment roll at the time and in the manner prescribed by the Charter of the city and subject to all the provisions thereof.

Section 17 1/2-10 Protection of trees.

[Ord. of 2-8-1978, § 2; Ord. of 4-13-1982, § 10]
(a) 
All trees within 30 feet of any excavation or construction of any building, structure or street work shall be guarded through the length of the project with a good substantial fence, frame or box not less than four feet high and eight feet square or at a distance in feet from the tree equal to the diameter of the trunk in inches at 4 1/2 feet from the ground, whichever is greater. All equipment, building materials, chemicals, dirt or other debris shall be kept outside the barrier at all times.
(b) 
No person shall excavate any ditches, tunnels or trenches or lay any drive within a radius of 10 feet from any tree without first obtaining the approval of the City Administrator and/or his designee.
(c) 
It shall be unlawful for any person to move any building or other large object which may injure public trees, or parts thereof, without first having obtained the approval of the City Administrator and/or his designee.
(d) 
No person shall deposit, place, store or maintain upon any public place any stone, brick, sand, concrete or other materials which may impede the free passage of water, air and fertilizer to the roots of any tree growing therein, except with the permission of the City Administrator and/or his designee.
(e) 
No person shall damage, cut, carve or transplant any tree; attach any rope, wire, nails, advertising posters or other contrivance to any tree; allow any gaseous, liquid, chemical or solid substance which is harmful to trees to come in contact with any tree; or set fire or permit any fire to burn when such fire or the heat thereof may injure any portion of any tree without first obtaining a written permit from the City Administrator and/or his designee.

Section 17 1/2-11 Emergencies.

In case of officially declared emergencies, such as windstorms, ice storms or other disasters, the requirements of Sections 17 1/2-9 and 17 1/2-10 shall be waived so that the requirements of this Chapter would in no way hinder private or public work to restore order in the municipality. This work shall follow maintenance standards as outlined by the City Administrator and/or his designee.

Section 17 1/2-12 Violation and penalty.

[Ord. of 2-8-1978, § 2; Ord. of 4-13-1982, § 12]
Any person violating or failing to comply with the provision of this Chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $100. The penalty may be collected by the City Administrator and/or his designee by action against the responsible person commenced by the Corporation Counsel of the city. For the purpose of this Chapter, each tree affected by noncompliance with the provisions of this Chapter shall constitute a separate violation.