[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Charleroi 4-12-2012 by Ord. No. 1000. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Shade Tree Commission established by Borough Ordinance No. 922 of 1999 is hereby abolished. The Commissioners previously appointed by Council are now relieved of their duties and obligations to serve as Commission members. Further, Ordinance Nos. 954 and 959 are hereby repealed as their provisions are consolidated into this chapter.
The exclusive custody and control of shade trees in the Borough is vested in the Charleroi Borough Council. Council is authorized to plant, remove, maintain and protect shade trees on the streets and highways in the Borough. The Council may employ and pay such superintendents, engineers, foresters, tree wardens, or other assistants, that the proper performance of the duties devolving upon it shall require, to name, make, and enforce regulations for the care and protection of shade trees of the Borough. All powers, rights and duties set forth in 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 2720 et seq., and any recodification or amendment to such statute, is exclusively reserved to the Council of the Borough of Charleroi.
Council shall determine in its sole discretion whether to issue annual reports concerning shade trees within the Borough. Council shall through the Borough Manager keep regular accounts of all transactions and expenses regarding shade trees in the Borough and shall report such transactions and expenses as it does any other expense of the Borough.
Whenever the Council of the Borough of Charleroi proposes to plant, transplant, or remove shade trees on any street, Council shall give notice of the time and place of the meeting where such work is to be considered. Notice shall be given by publication in one newspaper of general circulation within 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 trees are proposed to be so planted, replanted, or removed.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Includes any natural person, partnership, association, firm or corporation.
Lists of trees not suitable for planting shall be approved by the Council of the Borough of Charleroi and shall be available for public inspection. The spacing of shade trees shall be determined at the discretion of the Charleroi Borough Council.
It shall be the duty of every owner of property fronting alongside any street or alley in the Borough of Charleroi, upon notice of the Borough Council or its designated agent, to trim all trees planted or growing upon such property or upon the sidewalk area adjacent to thereto so that no part of any such tree, or the branches of foliage thereof, shall be closer than 15 feet above the surface of the cartway or the street or nine feet above the surface of the sidewalk.
The distance trees may be planted from curbs or curblines and sidewalks shall be determined by Borough Council following consultation with the Borough Engineer, and or the Borough Code Enforcement Officer and/or the Head of the Borough Street Department.
It shall be the duty of every property owner in the Borough of Charleroi, upon notice from the Borough Council or its designated agent, to remove any tree growing upon such property or upon the sidewalk area adjacent thereto when the roots of such tree shall cause any part of the sidewalk to heave up, be cracked or otherwise disturbed, and thereafter to repair or reconstruct the sidewalk as required by the Borough Code, to place the same in proper condition.
It shall be the duty of every owner of property in the Borough of Charleroi to remove or trim any tree growing upon such property or upon the sidewalk area adjacent thereto upon notice from the Borough Council or its designated agent, when such tree poses a threat to the safety of the public or any adjacent property.
The distance that trees may be planted from street corners and fireplugs shall be determined by Borough Council upon consultation with the Chief of Police and the Fire Chief.
The Council of the Borough shall adopt regulations with regard to the planting of trees under or near overhead utility wire or other structures or improvements.
The cost of planting, transplanting or removing any shade trees in or along the streets and highways of the Borough, or the necessary and suitable guards, curbing or grating for the protection thereof, and of replacing or any pavement or sidewalk necessarily disturbed in the execution of such work, shall be paid by the owner of the abutting real estate where work is done. The amount each owner is to pay shall be ascertained and certified by the Borough Council.
On failure of any owner, after reasonable notice, to comply with the terms of this chapter, the Borough may cause such trees to be planted or replanted at the expense of the Borough, and thereupon, in the name of the Borough, collect the cost of such work from the owners in default, as debts of like amount are by law collectable.
Upon the filing of certificates with 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. 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, the claim may be filed and collected by the Borough Solicitor in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.
The cost and expenses of caring for shade trees after they have been planted and the expense of publishing notices hereinbefore provided for shall be paid by the Borough. The median amount shall each year be certified by the Borough Manager to Council and shall be drawn against, as required by Council, in the same manner as money appropriated for Borough purposes.
The Council may levy a general tax, not to exceed the sum of one-tenth of one mil on the dollar on the assessed valuation of the property in the Borough taxable for county purposes, for the purpose of defraying the cost and expenses of caring for such shade trees and the expense of publishing the notice; or it may provide for the expense of the caring of trees already planted and of publishing the notice by appropriations equal to the amount certified to be required by the Council.
Pursuant to 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 2720.4, Council may impose a penalty for violation of its regulations and of this chapter as it relates to shade trees. Any penalty so assessed shall be a lien upon the real estate of the offender and may be collected as municipal claims are collected. All penalties or assessments imposed under this chapter shall be paid to the Borough Treasurer, to be placed to the credit of shade tree expenses as permitted by this chapter.
Council, upon 15 days' notice, may require owners of property to cut and remove plants, shrubs, and trees, afflicted with Dutch Elm or other diseases, which threaten to injure or destroy plants, shrubs and 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 Borough employees, and levy and collect 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 an action in assumpsit or by a lien filed in the manner provided by law in the filing and collection of municipal claims.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with Council, or any of its agents, while engaging in and about the planting and cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying, or removal of any shade trees, park trees, or other trees as authorized in this chapter. Any person violating any part of this subsection shall, upon summary conviction, be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, Article II, Enforcement; General Penalty, of this Code.
Upon the petition of a majority of the property owners upon any public street thereof, Borough Council may require the planting and replanting of suitable shade trees along and upon the sides of such streets, upon such alignment and at such points as may be designated by Borough Council or by the owners of property abutting the street at the points designated. This section shall not authorize Borough Council to require the planting or replanting of trees at any point that may interfere with the necessary or reasonable use of any street or abutting property or unreasonably interfere with any business conducted thereon.