[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Old Westbury 1-18-1988 by L.L. No. 2-1988. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building construction — See Ch. 74.
Drainage — See Ch. 91.
Environmental quality review — See Ch. 95.
Excavations — See Ch. 98.
Lot maintenance — See Ch. 132.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 185.
Zoning — See Ch. 216.
Editor's Note: This local law also superseded former Ch. 196, Trees, adopted 6-21-1982 by L.L. No. 4-1982.
The Board of Trustees cf the Incorporated Village of Old Westbury hereby finds that there is a direct relationship between preservation of and the planting of trees, shrubs and associated vegetation in sufficient number in populated areas of the Village and the health, safety and welfare of Village residents and that trees, shrubs and associated vegetation are related to the natural, scenic and aesthetic values and the physical and visual qualities of the environment which the Village is obligated to protect. Trees and such vegetation reduce noise, provide welcome shade to Village residents, preserve the balance of oxygen in the air by removing carbon dioxide and fostering air quality and create a bucolic and rural atmosphere in the Village, especially along the roads. Trees also stabilize the soil and control water pollution by preventing soil erosion and flooding, yield advantageous climatic effects and provide a natural habitat for wildlife.
The destructive and indiscriminate removal of trees and related vegetation causes increased Village costs for proper drainage control, impairs the benefits of occupancy of existing residential properties and impairs the stability and value of both improved and unimproved real property in the area of the destruction and adversely affects the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Incorporated Village of Old Westbury.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases and words shall have the following meanings:
- The owner, contract vendee or lessee of real property or its duly authorized agent.
- ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION
- The Environmental Commission of the Incorporated Village of Old Westbury or its successor.
- The natural growing characteristics of any tree or specimen tree, which includes branch spread and distribution, branch height above ground and root spread and distribution.
- Any resident of Old Westbury or any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, public agency, public utility or organization of any kind or agent thereof.
- REAL PROPERTY
- Includes all unimproved and improved real property within the Incorporated Village of Old Westbury.
- SPECIMEN TREE
- Any living, woody plant of the following species:
- SUBSTANTIAL ALTERATION
- Any cutting or drastic pruning or elevating the habitat of a tree or specimen tree which impairs, destroys or endangers the life of such tree or specimen tree or its natural symmetry, and shall include but shall not be limited to heavy or unnecessary cutting of top branches and cutting of major lower limbs.
[Amended 6-20-1988 by L.L. No. 10-1988; 4-19-1999 by L.L. No. 3-1999; 6-18-2002 by L.L. No. 2-2002]
It shall be unlawful for any person without a permit to remove, destroy or substantially alter the habitat of any tree specified below located on any real property within the Village of Old Westbury, or to cause such removal, destruction, or substantial alteration:
Any specimen tree having a diameter equal to or greater than the size specified in § 196-2A, or greater than 12 inches if the size is not specified, which diameter is measured at any point at or below four feet six inches above ground level.
Any nonspecimen tree that is 12 inches or more in diameter, measured at any point at or below four feet six inches above ground level.
No specimen tree named in § 196-2, irrespective of dimensions, may be removed or destroyed within 20 feet of a side or rear yard boundary or within 30 feet of a front yard boundary. The habitat of such tree may not be altered within 20 feet of a side or rear yard boundary or within 30 feet of a front yard boundary.
This chapter shall not apply in any emergency situation in which the removal, destruction or substantial alteration of any specimen or nonspecimen tree is necessary to prevent imminent danger to human life or property or to the removal, destruction or substantial alteration of the habitat of any specimen or nonspecimen tree accomplished pursuant to customarily accepted ornamental or therapeutic practices or to the growing stock of nurseries which is to be sold at retail or wholesale. In such event, the permission of the Village shall be obtained prior to removal. This chapter shall not apply to nursery stock intended for sale.
[Amended 4-19-1999 by L.L. No. 3-1999; 6-18-2002 by L.L. No. 2-2002]
Application for a permit shall be made to the Superintendent of Buildings.
The application shall be made on such forms as may be prescribed by the Superintendent of Buildings and shall include but not be limited to the following:
A sketch or plan of the area indicating the following may be required by the Building Department.
An outline of existing, wooded areas on the site, showing the specimen or nonspecimen tree species and sizes.
The location and size of specimen or nonspecimen trees to be affected by the proposed removal, destruction or alteration.
The location of any improvements on the real property.
Any additional information that the Building Department or Environmental Commission may deem necessary for evaluation of the application.
The Superintendent of Buildings shall request an advisory opinion and recommendation from the Village's Environmental Commission in connection with an application brought pursuant to this chapter affecting five or more trees. If the Environmental Commission fails to provide an advisory opinion or recommendation within 15 business days of the request by the Superintendent of Buildings, then the Commissioner of Public Works or his designee may approve the application. With respect to all such applications affecting less than five trees, the Superintendent of Buildings may request an advisory opinion and recommendation from the Environmental Commission.
[Amended 6-16-2003 by L.L. No. 2-2003; 9-17-2007 by Ord. No. 5-2007]
The decision of the Superintendent of Buildings shall be based upon the following criteria:
The condition of the specimen or nonspecimen trees with respect to disease and danger of falling, proximity to existing or proposed structures and interference with utility services.
The necessity of the removal, destruction or alteration of the specimen or nonspecimen tree in question.
The effect of the removal, destruction or alteration on ecological systems.
The intended impact at the proposed site of the removal, destruction or alteration with respect to existing vegetation and landscape management practices.
The impact of any removal, destruction or alteration upon existing screening or any road or highway bordering the property.
If provided, the advice and recommendation of the Environmental Commission, which shall at a minimum consider the aforesaid five criteria.
[Amended 6-16-2003 by L.L. No. 2-2003; 11-15-2010 by L.L. No. 5-2010; 12-16-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
The application fee shall be $50 per tree.
[Amended 6-18-2002 by L.L. No. 2-2002]
Private property. Any specimen or nonspecimen tree growing on private real property which is endangering or, in the opinion of the Environmental Commission, Superintendent of Buildings or the Building Inspector of the Incorporated Village of Old Westbury, constitutes a danger to a public street or to public places or which in any way endangers the usefulness of a public sewer or public utility shall be removed or trimmed by the owner of the real property within 14 days after receipt of a notice from the Environmental Commission or Superintendent of Buildings. In the event that the property owner fails to remove or trim such specimen or nonspecimen tree within said time, the Environmental Commission may then arrange for the removal or trimming of said specimen or nonspecimen tree and assess the cost thereof against the property owner.
Public property. Nothing herein shall limit the authority of the Building Inspector or his designee to remove or alter any specimen or nonspecimen tree he deems necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Village residents.
[Amended 6-18-2002 by L.L. No. 2-2002; 11-15-2010 by L.L. No. 5-2010]
The Environmental Commission, Architectural Review Board, or the Superintendent of Buildings, as applicable, may require the planting of the same species or an agreed-upon alternate species of specimen or nonspecimen trees which are as nearly comparable in type and size as practical to the specimen or nonspecimen trees to be removed, destroyed or affected by the alteration, when the individual character of the specimen or nonspecimen trees or the ecological setting requires special consideration, as a condition for the issuance of a permit for removal, destruction or alteration. The location for planting of the replacement specimen or nonspecimen trees shall be specified prior to issuance of the permit for removal.
In the event the Environmental Commission, Architectural Review Board, or the Superintendent of Buildings determines that replacement planting is required pursuant to Subsection A but that, either upon request of the applicant or upon its own review, the Commission, Board or Superintendent determines that replacement planting of one or more trees to be removed is impractical, unfeasible or undesirable within the confines of the subject property, a fee of $75 per inch of diameter of each such tree required to be replaced shall be assessed, collected and placed in a trust account for replacement planting of specimen or nonspecimen trees on public property and associated equipment for such purposes consistent with the findings in § 196-1 of this chapter.
A trust account is hereby authorized and directed to be established from which funds collected pursuant to this section may be held and expended for replacement planting of specimen and nonspecimen trees on public property and for equipment associated therewith to carry out the public purposes recited in § 196-1 of this chapter.
Any proposed change in landscaping that involves the removal of trees must be accompanied by a landscape plan, submitted by a certified landscape architect with seal and signature, showing the caliper of trees to be removed and a list of replacement trees cumulatively resulting in a minimum 10% additional caliper.
[Amended 6-18-2002 by L.L. No. 2-2002]
Any person aggrieved by any act or determination of the Environmental Commission or Superintendent of Buildings in the exercise of the authority herein granted shall have the right to appeal to the Board of Appeals, the decision of which shall be final and conclusive.
An appeal shall be in writing, stating the decision appealed from and reasons for the appeal.
[Amended 4-19-1999 by L.L. No. 3-1999; 6-18-2002 by L.L. No. 2-2002; 12-16-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a violation, and upon conviction thereof, the court may impose a fine of no less than $1,500 and no more than $10,000 per tree (nonspecimen or specimen) illegally removed, destroyed or substantially altered. The court, in addition to any penalties imposed, may order any person convicted of violating the provisions of this chapter to replace the specimen or nonspecimen tree(s) illegally removed, destroyed or substantially altered with the same species or agreed-upon alternate species having approximately the same diameter. Each such violation shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as such hereunder.
[Amended 6-18-2002 by L.L. No. 2-2002]
Nothing herein shall abridge or alter any rights or remedies now or hereinafter existing, nor shall this chapter nor any provision thereof nor any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder be construed as estopping the People of the Village of Old Westbury from exercising its rights and fulfilling its obligations to protect the public health, safety and welfare.