[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Middletown 2-8-1967 by Ord. No. 67-1 (Ch. 25, Part 1, of the 1992 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 3-7-1978 by Ord. No. 78-1; 12-1-1992 by Ord. No. 92-13; 3-1-1994 by Ord. No. 94-02]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A permit in writing as issued by the Director of Public Works.
- Any natural person, partnership, association, firm or corporation.
- PUBLIC HIGHWAY
- Any right-of-way or easement accepted and dedicated to the Township of Middletown or the State of Pennsylvania.
- SHADE TREE
- Any shade tree, shrub or other woody plant on any public highway in the Township of Middletown or that part of any shade tree, shrub or other woody plant which extends within the lines of any public highway in said Township.
[Amended 3-7-1978 by Ord. No. 78-1; 12-1-1992 by Ord. No. 92-13; 3-1-1994 by Ord. No. 94-02]
The application for any permit required hereunder shall be made in writing to the Director of Public Works on forms furnished by the Township and shall specify the particular kind of work or operation the applicant desires to perform thereunder and shall state the exact location and species of any tree or trees affected. The Director of Public Works shall have the authority to approve or disapprove such applications. The permit shall be effective for such length of time as the Director of Public Works shall, in each case, determine, which shall be indicated on the permit, and such permit may be revoked at any time at the direction of the Director upon proof satisfactory to the Director that the terms and conditions upon which the permit has been issued are or have been violated. The Director may, in his/her discretion, as a condition precedent to the issuance of the permit, require the applicant to file a bond satisfactory to him/her to guarantee the compliance by the applicant with the terms and conditions upon which the permit is issued.
It shall be unlawful for any person, without first obtaining a permit as established from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors, to cut, prune, break, climb with spurs, injure in any manner or remove any shade tree; to cut down or interfere in any way with the main roots of any shade tree; to spray with any chemicals or insecticides injurious to any tree; to place any rope, guy wire, cable, signs, posters or other fixtures on a tree or tree guard; or to injure, misuse or remove any device placed to protect shade trees, except in case of immediate necessity for protection of life or property.
No shade tree shall be planted on any public highway, street or road in Middletown Township until a permit is granted therefor, such permit to designate the place where such tree is to be planted. The Director may refuse a permit to plant any species of tree which, in his/her opinion, is not suited to the location.
Editor's Note: Original Subsection 4 of this section of the 2009 Code, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 3-1-1994 by Ord. No. 94-02.
All shade trees shall be kept trimmed so that the minimum height where they overhang any public road shall be nine feet; seven feet above any public walk. However, the Township reserves the right to designate a higher clearance on certain highways, where heavy traffic or conditions make it expedient. All trees standing on private property and having branches projecting over a public highway shall be kept trimmed by the owner of such private property so that the lowest branches shall have a minimum height of 14 feet or to such other height as may be specified by the Township. In case the owner of such property shall neglect or refuse to trim such trees upon being notified in writing by the Township to do so and within the time specified by such notice, the Township may, after the expiration of the date specified in said notice, cause such trimming to be done at the expense of the owner, and the entire cost thereof shall be a lien upon said premises and shall be filed and collected by the Township in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.
No person shall, without first obtaining a permit, place or hereafter maintain any stone, cement or other substance which shall impede the passage of water and air to the roots of any shade tree unless such person shall leave an open space of ground surrounding the trunk of the tree, such space to be not less than four feet square.
In connection with any building operation or the performance of any work whatsoever in the Township in the vicinity of any shade trees, before any such work shall be commenced guards or protective barriers shall be placed at all shade trees which may be affected by such work so as to effectually prevent injury to them.
No person shall pour salt water, oil or other materials at any place in such a manner that injury may result to any shade tree.
No person shall, without first obtaining a permit therefor, attach any electric wire, insulator or any device for the holding of an electric wire to any shade tree.
Every person having any wire or wires charged with electricity running through a public highway shall securely fasten such wire or wires so they shall not come in contact with any tree so as to injure the same.
Whenever in order to take down or prune any shade tree in the public highway or having branches extending over the public highway it shall be deemed necessary to remove any wire or wires, every person having any such wire or wires running through a public highway shall temporarily remove the same or cut off the flow of current therefrom within 24 hours after service of written notice from the Township so to do.
Regulations governing shade trees shall be enforced by a tree warden to be appointed by the said Board of Supervisors. The tree warden shall be the Director of Public Works.
Any person who shall violate or fail to comply with any of the regulations of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $600 and costs and, in default of payment thereof, shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense. Such fines or penalties shall be collected as prescribed by law.
Editor's Note: Original Subsection 14 of this section of the 2009 Code, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 3-1-1994 by Ord. No. 94-02.
All shade trees must be of a two-and-one-half-inch caliper six feet above ground line with thirty-foot centers except where the Arbor Commission designates otherwise. Varieties should consist of a type hardy to the area. Prior to the approval of said tree and shrub planting plans, the builder or owner shall submit a total cost figure for said plantings. Upon approval, the Township shall designate the amount of monies that must be placed in escrow to cover the total cost of plantings (trees and shrubs). Upon completion and approval of the Township Engineer of said plantings, 15% of the escrow account shall be held for a period of 18 months to guarantee that all plantings are alive and growing.
It shall also be stated that the owners of said shade trees shall maintain all trees and shrubs in perpetuity.
The Township shall have the authority to direct the owner of said shade trees to institute replacement of any trees or shrubs that may have died or may be dying from whatever cause. Failure to comply with said directive within six months would render owner or parties responsible liable to a fine of $500 a day for each and every violation.
[Amended 3-1-1994 by Ord. No. 94-02]
The Director of Public Works may, upon five days' prior written notice by certified mail to owners of property or by written notice posted in a conspicuous place on said property, require the owner to cut and remove trees afflicted with Dutch elm or other disease which threatens or appears to the Director of Public Works to threaten to injure or destroy shade trees in the Township, under regulations prescribed by ordinance. Upon failure of any owner to comply with such notice and/or requirements, the Township may cause the work to be done by the Township and levy and collect the costs 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 Director of Public Works and shall be filed with the Township Secretary. Any such lien may be collected by action in assumpsit or by lien filed in the manner provided by law for the filing and collection of municipal claims.
Upon the filing of a certificate of lien and assessment with the Township Supervisors, the Township Secretary shall cause 30 days' written notice to be given to the persons against whose property an assessment has been made. The notice shall state the amount of the assessment and the time and place of payment and shall be accompanied by 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 Township Supervisors, and if not paid within the time designated in the notice, a claim may be filed and collected by the Township in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.
Editor's Note: Original § 105 of this chapter of the 2009 Code, amended 12-1-1992 by Ord. No. 92-13, which immediately followed this section, was repealed 3-1-1994 by Ord. No. 94-02.
[Amended 12-1-1992 by Ord. No. 92-13; 3-1-1994 by Ord. No. 94-02]
The penalties or assessments imposed under this chapter shall be paid to the Township Treasurer.