[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Greenville 3-14-2016 by Ord. No. 2-16. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Fertilizer — See Ch. 135.
Parks and recreation areas — See Ch. 211.
Subdivision control — See Ch. 270.
Weeds and managed natural landscapes — See Ch. 307.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 282, Trees, Art. I, Urban Forestry Preservation, adopted 1-8-2001 by Ord. No. 33.
Having determined that a well-managed urban forest provides many benefits to the Town, its residents and visitors, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Town of Greenville, Wisconsin, to regulate, finance and control the planting, removal, maintenance, and protection of trees and shrubs upon or in all public areas of the Town in order to:
Promote and enhance the aesthetics and general welfare of the Town.
Eliminate and guard against dangerous conditions which may result in injury to persons using the public areas of the Town.
Prevent damage to any public sewer, water main, street, sidewalk, trail or other public property.
Protect trees and shrubs in public areas from undesirable and unsafe planting, removal, maintenance and protection practices.
Protect all trees and shrubs from the damaging effects of construction, alteration or repair of utility facilities and other improvements in any public area.
Guard all trees and shrubs both public and private, within the Town against the spread of disease, insects, or pests.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all trees and shrubs presently or hereafter planted in or upon any public area; and also to all trees and shrubs presently or hereafter planted in or upon any private premises which shall endanger the life, health, or safety of persons or property.
Due to the complex nature and often conflicting interrelationships between living plants, such as trees, shrubs and turf, and public improvements, such as streets, sidewalks and underground facilities, it is recognized that there is a need to manage both plants and improvements in a manner that will minimize conflict and maximize the benefits to be realized from each.
Therefore, it is hereby declared to be the intent of the Town of Greenville, Wisconsin that there shall exist at all times, a policy of open communication and coordination between the various departments and divisions of Town government regarding the management, installation and maintenance of the plants or improvements for which they are each responsible.
In this chapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the following words and phrases shall be defined as follows:
- The area defined by the outermost circumference of a tree canopy where water drips from and onto the ground.
- HAZARDOUS TREE
- Any tree with structural defects likely to cause failure of all or part of the tree, which could strike a target.
- MAINTENANCE AND PROTECTION
- Shall include all operations of trimming, pruning, spraying, injecting, fertilizing, treating, bracing, cabling and cutting any tree or shrub above or below ground.
- Written permission from the Town Forester to perform maintenance and protection on any public tree or shrub, or do construction (as defined in § 282-10) in the vicinity of any public tree or shrub. Any permit may include specifications which shall be complied with and any special provisions applicable to the purpose of the permit.
- Any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation or government entity.
- PUBLIC AREA
- Shall include all public ways, parks, and other lands owned, controlled, or leased by the Town.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- Any tree or shrub or part thereof which by reason of its condition and location has been declared to be a public nuisance under § 282-7 of this chapter.
- PUBLIC TREES AND SHRUBS
- Any tree or shrub as herein defined, presently or hereafter planted in or upon any public area.
- PUBLIC WAY
- Shall include all public streets, roads, boulevards, median strips, alleys, trails and sidewalks.
- A woody plant, usually with multiple stems branched at or near the base, reaching a height of less than 12 feet.
- STREET TREE
- Any public tree presently or hereafter located in the public way between the curb and public sidewalk, or between the curbs of a median strip, or in the equivalent location with respect to future curb, sidewalk or median strips where such curbs or sidewalk are not yet installed.
- TOPPING (also known as "heading", "hatracking," "dehorning" or "rounding over")
- The cutting of large diameter branches at a point between lateral shoots, thereby leaving stubs and resulting in substantial size reduction and destruction of the natural form and shape of a mature tree.
- The Town of Greenville, Wisconsin.
- TOWN FORESTER
- The person designated by the Town under § 282-5 of this chapter or his/her duly authorized representative designated to perform inspection or otherwise enforce the provisions of this chapter.
- A woody plant, usually with a single stem unbranched at the base, reaching a height of 12 feet or more.
- TREE PROTECTION ZONE
- A zone of protected space surrounding any public tree extending from the topmost branch or leader downward to a distance of 36 inches below the surrounding ground surface level. The radial dimension from the center of the tree to the outermost horizontal limit of the zone is determined by the diameter of said tree as measured at 4 1/2 feet above ground surface level, and is further defined in the Arboricultural Specifications Manual as adopted in § 282-6 of this chapter.
- URBAN FOREST
- The aggregate of all trees, shrubs and other woody vegetation in the Town of Greenville.
There shall exist a standing committee of citizens appointed by the Town Board called the Urban Forestry Board. The Urban Forestry Board shall operate according to the Urban Forestry Board Operating Guidelines.
The Town Forester, subject to the direction of the Urban Forestry Board, shall have the following general powers and duties:
To direct, manage, supervise, and control the Town's forestry program to include the planting, removal, pruning, maintenance, and protection of all trees and shrubs in or upon all public areas of the Town; to supervise Town personnel and private contractors in the planting, removal, pruning, maintenance, and protection of said trees and shrubs.
To cause the provisions of this chapter to be enforced.
To guard all trees and shrubs within the Town against the spread of plant diseases, insects or pests; to eliminate conditions which may endanger the life, health, or safety of persons or property.
To use all available means of communication to inform the public concerning the forestry program and tree and shrub care. The Town Forester shall, upon request by the owner or occupant of private property, examine and recommend the proper care or treatment of trees or shrubs, to be effected by the owner at his expense.
To implement and direct a Town Urban Forestry Management Plan.
Such other duties as are provided by the laws of Wisconsin.
The Town Forester shall have the authority to plant, remove, maintain, and protect all public trees and shrubs or cause such work to be done as may be necessary to preserve the beauty of public areas, and to protect life and property.
The Town Forester, or his/her authorized representative, shall have the authority to enter upon private property, excluding any buildings thereon, at reasonable times for the purposes of inspecting or abating suspected public nuisance trees or shrubs as defined in § 282-7 of this Code. All nuisance trees and shrubs to be removed pursuant to § 282-7 of this Code may be appropriately marked by the Town Forester.
The most recent version of the following documents, each in its entirety, are hereby adopted and made a part of this chapter upon passage:
Town of Greenville Arboricultural Specifications Manual.
Town of Greenville Urban Forestry Board Operating Guidelines.
ANSI A300, American National Standard for Tree Care Operations - Tree, Shrub and Other Woody Plant Maintenance - Standard Practices.
ANSI Z133.1, American National Standard for Arboricultural Operations - Safety Requirements.
ANSI Z60.1, American Standard for Nursery Stock.
The Town Board hereby declares any of the following to be a public nuisance and therefore subject to abatement pursuant to Subsection C of this section:
Any tree or shrub, or part thereof, located upon any public or private property suffering from a communicable disease or insect infestation which threatens the health of the urban forest.
Any dead or dying tree, or part thereof, located upon public or private property which, by reason of location, constitutes an imminent danger to the health, safety or welfare of the general public.
Any hazardous tree, or part thereof, located on public or private property within the Town when such tree constitutes a hazard to life or property in any public area.
Public nuisances prohibited. No person shall permit any public nuisance as defined in Subsection A of this section to remain in or upon any premises owned or leased by that person within the Town.
Public areas. Whenever the Town Forester shall find on examination that a public nuisance as herein defined exists upon any public area, he/she shall immediately cause such nuisance tree, shrub, or part thereof, to be treated, pruned, removed, or otherwise abated in such a manner as to destroy or prevent the spread or continuance of the nuisance. The manner in which the nuisance shall be abated shall be determined by the Town Forester.
Private property. If the Town Forester shall determine with reasonable certainty upon inspection or examination that any nuisance tree or shrub as herein defined exists in or upon any private property within the Town, he/she shall notify the owner of such property, or his/her agent, in writing that said nuisance tree or shrub must be treated, pruned, removed, or otherwise abated. Said written notice shall specify the nature and exact location of the nuisance, the manner in which the nuisance shall be abated, and the time limit in which the nuisance shall be abated, which shall not be less than 15 days after issuance of said notice unless the Town Forester shall determine that immediate action is necessary for the public safety, in which case the Town Forester is empowered to cause immediate abatement of the nuisance.
Abatement by Town. If the owner of such private property, or his/her agent, shall refuse or neglect to comply with the terms of the written notice within the time specified, the Town Forester shall cause the public nuisance to be abated and shall report the expense thereof to the Town Clerk who shall enter it as a charge against the property upon which the nuisance is located. No damage shall be awarded to the owner for the destruction of trees or shrubs pursuant to this section.
Injury to public trees and shrubs prohibited. No person shall, without written permission from the Town Forester, do or cause to be done any of the following:
Secure, fasten, or run any rope, wire, sign, electrical installation or other device or material to, around or through any public tree or shrub except in an emergency, such as a storm or accident.
Break, injure, mutilate, deface, kill, or destroy any public tree or shrub.
Top or make topping cuts on any public tree.
Permit any toxic chemical, gas, smoke, oil, or other injurious substance to seep, drain, or be emptied upon or about any public tree or shrub. Routine winter street maintenance by proper authorities is exempt from this provision.
Excavate any ditch, tunnel, or trench, or lay any drive, sidewalk, trail or other impermeable surface within the tree protection zone of any public tree or shrub.
Erect, alter, repair, raze, or excavate within the tree protection zone of any public tree or shrub without placing suitable guards approved by the Town Forester around such trees and shrubs which may be injured by such operations.
Remove any guard, stake, or other device or material intended for the protection or support of any public tree or shrub.
Place any earth fill, rock, trash, or other material within the tree protection zone of any public tree or shrub which may compact or prevent the entry of air and water to the root zone.
Corner visibility. No tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation shall be permitted to grow in a manner so as to interfere with corner visibility as defined in § 320-29 of this Code.
Obstruction of signs, signals and travel. All trees and shrubs located upon any public way or upon any private premises adjacent to the public way shall be kept pruned so as to provide adequate clearance height above the traveled portion of a public street and/or sidewalk/trail. The Town Forester may waive the provisions of this section for newly planted or naturally low-profile trees if he/she determines that they do not interfere with public travel, obstruct the light of any streetlight, obstruct the view of any traffic sign or signal, or endanger public safety.
Permit required. No person shall plant, remove, prune or protect any public tree or shrub, or cause such work to be done without obtaining a written permit from the Town Forester.
Application and approval. Any person desiring to plant, remove, maintain or protect any public tree or shrub shall apply in writing to the Town Forester for a permit to do such work. Such application shall specify the location and description of the proposed work. If the Town Forester determines that the proposed work is necessary and in accord with the purposes of this chapter, taking into account the safety, health, and welfare of the public, location of utilities, public sidewalks, trails, driveways and streetlights, general character and aesthetic quality of the area in which the tree or shrub is located or proposed to be located, and the soil conditions and physiological needs of the tree or shrub, he/she shall issue a permit to the applicant.
Permit form; expiration; compliance; inspection. Permits shall be issued by the Town Forester on the standard form for this purpose and shall include a description of the work to be done and shall specify the genus, species, variety, size, grade, and location of trees or shrubs to be planted, if any. Any work done under such permit shall be performed in strict compliance with the terms thereof and with the arboricultural specifications and standards set forth under § 282-6 of this chapter and with § 265-13 of this Code for plantings. The Town Forester may inspect all work performed pursuant to this section. Permits issued under this section shall specify an expiration date not to exceed six months after the date of issuance.
Permit exemptions. No permit shall be required to water, fertilize or mulch any public tree or shrub or to take the necessary action to guard the public safety or clear the public way in the event of a storm, accident or other emergency.
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The installation, alteration, repair, replacement or relocation of any of the following:
- (1) Any street, curb, sidewalk, trail, pavement, streetlight, traffic signal or other surface structure.
- (2) Any underground utility distribution and service facility, including water pipe, sanitary and storm sewer, gas pipeline, electric power and communication wire, cable, conduit, duct and associated vaults, manholes, pull boxes; and any irrigation facilities.
- (3) Any overhead wire, cable and associated support structure.
Specifications. The Town of Greenville Arboricultural Specifications Manual, a separate document as adopted in § 282-6 of this chapter shall by reference or inclusion, be made a part of any permit issued pursuant to this section, and also be made a part of any contract for construction in any public area.
Permit required. No individual person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or government entity, except as provided in Subsection F of this section, shall do or cause to be done, any construction as herein defined, within the dripline of any public tree in the Town prior to issuance by the Town Forester of a valid forestry special construction permit.
Permit application; plan review; approval. Any person proposing to do construction work in the dripline of a public tree shall apply in writing to the Town Forester for a permit to do such work. Such application shall specify the location and description of the proposed work, and the estimated start and completion dates. A complete copy of the construction plans shall be provided along with said application. If, upon review of the construction plans and any supplemental information provided by the applicant, the Town Forester determines that the work is necessary and can reasonably be expected to progress in compliance with all forestry specifications and conditions, he/she shall issue the permit.
Permit form; expiration; compliance; inspection. Permits shall be issued by the Town Forester on the standard form for this purpose. The permit shall specify the forestry specifications and any special conditions or requirements to be satisfied in connection with the work. Permits issued under this section shall specify an expiration date not to exceed 12 months after the date of issuance. The Town Forester shall inspect the work in progress on a regular basis to ensure compliance with the terms of the permit.
Permit exemption. No permit shall be required for construction proposed by any department or division of Town government; however, all other provisions of this section shall apply. Any contract entered into between any Town department or division and a contractor for hire shall contain the construction specification provisions of Subsection B of this section. Any Town employee performing construction work under this subsection shall also comply with the provisions of Subsection B of this section.
Any person who violates this chapter shall, upon conviction, be subject to the forfeiture amount in the Fine and Forfeiture Schedule of the Town of Greenville that shall be as set from time to time by ordinance by the Town of Greenville. In addition, if as a result of the violation of any provisions of this chapter, the injury, mutilation or death of a tree, shrub or other plant located on Town property is caused, the cost of repair or replacement of such tree, shrub or other plant shall be borne by the party in violation. The replacement value of trees and shrubs shall be determined in accordance with the most recent edition of A Guide to Plant Appraisal by the International Society of Arboriculture.
A person who receives an order from the Town Forester and objects to all or part thereof may, within 10 days of receipt of order, notify the Town Forester in writing of the nature of the objection and request to be placed on the agenda of the next scheduled Urban Forestry Board meeting. The Urban Forestry Board may elect to schedule a meeting sooner than the next scheduled meeting if it deems necessary. The Urban Forestry Board may affirm, cancel, or modify the order, in its discretion, to best conform such order to the intent of this chapter. The decision of the Urban Forestry Board shall become final after it is reviewed by the Town Board.
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by reason of any decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision will not affect the validity of any other section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion thereof irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses, phrases or portions thereof may be declared invalid or unconstitutional.