City of Warren, PA
Warren County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Warren as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 410.
[Adopted 8-12-1996 by Ord. No. 1606 (Ch. 25, Part 1A, of the 1997 Code of Ordinances)]
This article may be referred to as the "Street Landscape Ordinance of the City of Warren."
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CITY TREE
A tree in a public park in the City.
COMMUNITY FORESTER
An arborist/horticulturist of the City of Warren to be appointed by Council.
PARCEL
Contiguous land under one ownership.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, company, association, corporation or other group or entity which engages in the cutting, topping, trimming, pruning or any other activity which cuts into trees or roots of trees on real property on which the person is neither owner nor acting on behalf of the owner.
PRIVATE TREE
A tree on private land not within City streets.
RIGHT-OF-WAY TREES
Trees within City streets (any area, all or a portion of which is within the right-of-way of a street officially accepted and opened as a City street).
SUBSTANTIAL INJURY
Such injury and damage which endangers the continued life of any tree.
THE STREET TREE MANAGEMENT PLAN
The ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations adopted by the City Council and relating to trees within City streets.
TOP OR TOPPING OF A TREE
The cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree's crown to such a degree as to substantially remove the natural canopy.
TREE
A woody plant with one or more main trunks which generally reach 20 feet or more in height at maturity.
TREE ZONE
The area of tree planting within City streets.
WITHIN CITY STREETS
Any area within the right-of-way of a street officially accepted and opened as a City street.
It shall be unlawful for any person to conduct any of the following activities without a permit issued by the City pursuant to and in accordance with The Street Tree Management Plan:
A. 
To cut down, top, prune, or cause to be cut down, topped or pruned, any tree within City streets, except trimming of low branches that interfere with the use of the street or sidewalk.
B. 
To plant or cause to be planted any tree within City streets.
C. 
To trim any tree within City streets when the trimming activity is performed by or on behalf of a utility company on two or more parcels of land as one work project.
D. 
To fasten externally ropes, wires, cables, electric attachments, signs or other devices to a tree within City streets.
E. 
To cut or disturb roots, to obstruct free access of air and water to roots, excluding sidewalk replacement, or to undertake demolition or construction work without protecting or guarding nearby trees, where such activity is likely to cause substantial injury or destruction of a tree within City streets, as determined by the Community Forester.
A. 
To obtain any permit to conduct any activities governed by this article, a written application, together with such fee as may be established from time to time by resolution of City Council, shall be submitted to the City. The application shall contain the following information:
(1) 
Name, address and phone number of the applicant.
(2) 
Location and description of property on which the activity requiring a permit is to occur.
(3) 
A description of activity to be undertaken and requiring a permit, including a description of trees affected; their location with respect to streets, property lines, sidewalks and structures; persons doing the work; and any other information requested by the City and reasonably necessary to determine whether a permit should be issued. Time frame, duration of work, traffic control plan and season of year must be included.
(4) 
For all persons engaged in tree topping, cutting, pruning and removal activities for a fee or as a business, the applicant shall be required to demonstrate possession of liability insurance covering the activities involved in minimum amounts of $500,000 per occurrence and $1,000,000 aggregate for bodily injury, death and property damage.
(5) 
Applications for permits for multiple tree trimming by utilities must describe the area of the work project.
(6) 
Applicant must certify that he has notified all utilities which may be affected by the activity.
B. 
A permit shall be issued only after the Community Forester determines that the planting, pruning or cutting down of a tree, or other matter or activity involving a tree or trees within a City street, will be performed in accordance with the street tree management plan.
C. 
No permit shall be issued by the City except upon the direction of the Community Forester.
D. 
A permit shall not be required for an activity conducted because of an emergency threatening individuals or property. Within 30 days following such activity, the person conducting the activity shall file with the City a report identifying the location and description of trees topped, cut, pruned or removed.
A. 
Except for trees planted by the City, it shall be the obligation of the owner of property on which there is a tree within a City street to:
(1) 
Trim and prune such trees within City streets so that no part of its limbs, branches or foliage shall have a clearance of less than eight feet above the surface of the sidewalk or of less than 14 feet above the surface of the roadway, street or alley. Tree trimmings shall be properly removed and disposed.
(2) 
Trim and remove dead, diseased, broken and decayed limbs and branches from trees within City streets which constitute a risk to sidewalk pedestrians, street traffic or to the public generally.
(3) 
Remove from within City streets all dead, diseased or other such trees, including stumps, which constitute a risk to the public by reason of disease or other dangerous condition.
B. 
All activities required by this section shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of this article and pursuant to a permit, if applicable.
A. 
Tree care within City streets.
(1) 
The City shall have the right, but not the duty, to plant trees within City streets to preserve and to enhance the symmetry of the City streets.
(2) 
The City shall have the right, but not the duty, to trim, maintain and remove trees within City streets which may be dead, diseased or in an unsafe condition or which may interfere with or cause harm to sewers, waterlines and other public utilities, or to public improvements; which may pose a high risk to traffic or pedestrians; which may interfere with traffic control devices or streetlights; which have been damaged by storm or other occurrence; or which in any other manner may pose a threat to the public health or safety.
(3) 
The City shall have the right, but not the duty, to treat or arrange for treatment of trees within City streets by spray, injection or other appropriate means to protect them from imminent infestation.
(4) 
Except with respect to trees which have been planted by the City, the City shall make reasonable efforts to provide the owner of adjacent property with notice of its planned action with respect to trees within City streets and to obtain consents to proposed actions by such owner.
(5) 
In the event the City engages in maintenance activities under this section with respect to trees within City streets not planted by the City, the property owner shall not be liable for the costs incurred with respect to any tree not planted by the City unless enforcement proceedings have previously been instituted by the City under § 431-9 of this article with respect to a violation hereof.
(6) 
The City has the right to obtain permission from property owners to plant trees on private land along streets with nonexistent or too narrow a space for tree-zone planting. Such trees shall be under the same regulations as other trees planted by the City within City streets.
B. 
The City shall, with the cooperation of the Street Landscape Committee, manage a continuous inventory of street trees, develop and establish regulations for the various classifications of trees, including the goal of specifying mature tree size in keeping with the architecture of an area and the planting, maintenance, protection and removal of trees within City streets. These regulations shall be established by resolution of City Council.
A. 
Organization. There is hereby created and established a Street Landscape Committee for the City of Warren, Pennsylvania, which shall consist of at least five members but no more than 15 members — citizens and residents of this City, who shall be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Council. In addition, nonvoting associate members, who may or may not be residents of the City, may be approved by the City Council. The members of the Committee shall serve without compensation.
B. 
Term of office. The term of the Street Landscape Committee to be appointed by the Mayor shall be four years, with 1/2 of the members appointed to the first Committee serving a term of two years. In the event that a vacancy shall occur during the term of any member, his successor shall be appointed for the unexpired portion of the term. A member may remain on the Committee after expiration of his or her term until a replacement is appointed.
C. 
Officers and actions. The Committee shall choose its own officers. The terms of the officers shall be one year, and all officers shall be eligible for reelection. A majority of the voting members shall be a quorum. A majority of votes cast at any meeting at which a quorum exists shall determine all issues.
A. 
The Committee shall study and make recommendations to the City Council on all matters affecting trees within City streets, including proposed ordinances and regulations for the placement, removal, care and protection of trees.
B. 
The Committee may solicit and accept grants and contributions. Funds obtained by the Committee in the form of grants and contributions shall be placed in the Memorial Tree Fund or other special funds established by the City and may be used by the Committee in a manner approved by the City Council. Such funds should be deposited and administered as funds and accounts of the City.
C. 
The Committee shall select and recommend to City Council a qualified person to act as Community Forester, with the appointment to be made by Council.
D. 
The Committee may utilize the services of the Community Forester within the annual budget appropriations or special appropriations designated for the Committee, as adopted by City Council.
E. 
The Committee shall make an annual report to the City Council by September 30 of each year, stating its activities for the preceding year and providing proposed budget appropriations for the ensuing fiscal year.
[Amended 12-8-1997 by Ord. No. 1622]
A. 
When used within this section, the word "person" shall include the owner of subject land and those acting on behalf of the owner.
B. 
Any person who shall violate or fail to comply with the provisions of this article and regulations established hereunder (Article II of this chapter) shall be served with a written order issued by the City requiring such action as appropriate to correct the violation.
C. 
The orders shall require correction of the violation within a period of not more than 30 days, except that, in the case of emergency involving imminent risk to public health or safety, the orders will require appropriate and immediate correction.
D. 
Any person who is aggrieved by any order issued pursuant to this section may appeal the order to a board consisting of the Director of Public Works, the Community Forester and the Chairperson of the Street Landscape Committee by filing a written notice of appeal with the office of the City Manager within 10 days of the date of the subject order or notice, and said Board shall then conduct a hearing in accordance with the Pennsylvania Local Agency Law to determine whether the order was properly issued and whether the appellant is entitled to relief from the order. The Board shall respond within 45 days.
E. 
In the event a person fails or refuses to comply with any order of the City which is not subject to continuing appeal as provided by this article or by general law or otherwise fails to correct any prohibited condition or to cease any continuing violation, then the City may take one or more of the following actions:
(1) 
Revoke any permit issued pursuant to the provisions of this article.
(2) 
Correct or remedy the subject condition or violation at the cost of the property owner or other person responsible for the violation or subject condition. This cost, together with an administrative fee, shall be paid by the property owner or other person responsible for the violation or for failing to take any action required. Property owners and other persons responsible for the violation shall be jointly and severally liable for compliance with the provisions of this article and regulations (Article II) issued hereunder and for the payment of any and all sums which may be due to the City.
(3) 
Should any property owner or other person responsible for the violation fail to pay the cost of any corrective action together with the administrative fee authorized herein, such costs may be assessed against the subject premises and the owners thereof and collected as a municipal lien or collected otherwise as permitted by law.
(4) 
Institute a summary proceeding before the Magisterial District Judge for imposition of a penalty as provided for under Subsection F below.
(5) 
Proceed with an action as permitted by law for any other appropriate relief at law or in equity.
F. 
Penalty. Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine not to exceed $600 plus costs and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of this article continues shall constitute a separate offense.
[Adopted 8-12-1996 by Res. No. 2399 (Ch. 25, Part 1B, of the 1997 Code of Ordinances)]
[Amended 12-8-1997 by Ord. No. 1622]
A. 
All persons performing activities under this chapter and relating to the planting, cutting down, pruning or trimming of trees within City streets and applying chemicals or devices to trees within City streets and affecting the health of trees within City streets shall comply with these standards and specifications where applicable.
B. 
All persons receiving permits shall conduct the work in accordance with known and accepted arboricultural methods as are generally followed to protect the vitality of such trees, and they shall act in accordance with all relevant ordinances and resolutions of the City of Warren.
C. 
Fees shall be paid to the City for issuance of permits in amounts as established from time to time by resolution of City Council.
A. 
Specific requirements pertaining to pruning trees.
(1) 
Authority to prune or trim trees within City streets shall not include the cutting back of sound, healthy tree branches outside the stated purpose of the permit issued.
(2) 
Tree branches shall be removed and controlled in such a manner as not to cause damage to other parts of the tree or to other plants, people or property.
B. 
Standards of workmanship for pruning and removal.
(1) 
The use of climbing spurs or spikes shall be permitted only in the process of removing a tree.
(2) 
Right-of-way trees or poles in the right-of-way shall not be used as an anchor for any mechanical device.
(3) 
Under no circumstances, when removing a tree or any part of a tree, shall the work site be left unattended unless the tree and its branches are in a safe condition.
(4) 
Unless tree work is totally barricaded or otherwise kept safe while pruning or removing trees, at least one responsible worker shall remain upon the ground to coordinate safe operating procedures at all times during operations.
(5) 
No severed or partially cut branches shall remain in the upper portion of any tree being worked on after the workers leave the site.
(6) 
Whenever large tree sections are being cut which may endanger persons or property, such materials shall be secured by ropes and lowered safely in a controlled manner.
(7) 
Cleanup of branches, logs or any other debris resulting from tree pruning or removal shall be prompt and thorough. The work area shall be kept safe at all times during cleanup. Under no condition shall the accumulation of brush, branches, logs or other debris be allowed upon areas used by the public in such a manner as to result in a public risk.
(8) 
Upon removal of right-of-way trees, the remaining stumps shall be removed or ground to a minimum of six inches below surrounding ground level.
(9) 
Excavations resulting from tree or shrub removal must be properly filled to conform to the surrounding ground level with a clean earth fill lightly compacted and/or stump grindings.
C. 
Authorized types of pruning. A copy of the current "Pruning Standards for Shade Trees" by the National Arborist Association shall be available for reference in the City office to assist tree service companies and utilities in defining the limits and criteria of work.
The following specifications pertain to the spray application, soil application or injection of fertilizers, pesticides or growth inhibitors to the aboveground portions of trees or roots:
A. 
General specifications.
(1) 
Applicators applying chemical pesticides to right-of-way trees shall adhere to all federal and state laws pertaining to pesticides and their application.
(2) 
Application of restricted use material shall be made by a person with a current pesticide license.
(3) 
The pesticide applicator shall know and understand the capacities and safety precautions of those materials used by either himself or his employees and be aware of those recommendations stipulated by the manufacturer.
(4) 
Ineffectual control, damage, injury or death to plants or adverse effects on animals or persons resulting from the use of materials beyond the limitations of the manufacturer's guarantee shall be considered the responsibility of the licensed operator and his employer.
(5) 
Operators shall properly dispose of excess chemicals, including rinse water, in accordance with federal and state laws. Unsafe methods of washing out or draining tanks and equipment into public sewers and gutters is prohibited.
(6) 
No spray application shall be carried out when there is sufficient wind to make pesticide control ineffectual or create an over-spray risk to persons, plants or property.
(7) 
No spraying of pesticides shall be done when air temperature is less than 40° F.
(8) 
Adequate precautions shall be taken in all phases of chemical preparation and application in order to minimize the chances of toxicity or phytotoxicity to nontarget species.
B. 
Specific requirements pertaining to tree injection.
(1) 
Authorization by the Community Forester or a designee must be given prior to any injection of chemicals into right-of-way trees.
(2) 
A record of trees injected shall be kept and turned into the Community Forester upon completion of work. The record shall include date, time of day, location, operator, chemicals used, size, species of tree, amount of chemical used and any other pertinent information.
A. 
Plant material.
(1) 
Plant material shall conform to the latest version of the American Standard for Nursery Stock (ANSI Z60.1). Plant material shall be of standard quality or better, true to name and type of species. Said publication shall be available for reference in the City office.
(2) 
The Community Forester or a designee shall be notified and have the right to inspect any trees before or after they are planted.
(3) 
A tree list shall be maintained by the City categorizing small, medium and large appropriate varieties as selected and approved by the Community Forester in consultation with the Department of Public Works.
B. 
Planting methods and techniques.
(1) 
No plant pit shall be dug or approved until all underground electric or telephone lines, gaslines, waterlines or any other improvement locations are checked in accordance with Act 172 of 1986 of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Pennsylvania One-Call System.
(2) 
Trees may not be planted in violation of current City standards for distances from street intersections, fire hydrants, driveways or utility poles. Actual tree locations shall be approved by the Community Forester or his designee.
(3) 
It is prohibited to plant or cause to be planted any tree less than the following distances from curbs, sidewalks, underground water, sewer or other utility facility, and overhead utility wire, cable or similar utility facility, except that, in some cases, the Community Forester may approve the planting of smaller tree species in treelawns less than four feet wide.
Curbs and sidewalks
Small trees — 2 feet
Medium trees — 3 feet
Large trees — 4 feet
Underground water, sewer or other utility facility
Medium trees — 8 feet
Large trees — 10 feet
Overhead utility cable, cable, wire or similar utility facility
Medium trees — 10 feet
Large trees — 10 feet
(4) 
The spacing of right-of-way trees shall be as follows: small trees, 25 feet; medium trees, 30 feet; large trees, 40 feet; except in special plantings designed by a landscape architect and approved by the Community Forester.
The following specifications are intended to prevent unnecessary damage and destruction to trees:
A. 
General specifications.
(1) 
Authorization must be given by the Community Forester or a designee before any of the following is performed:
(a) 
Attach or install any metal materials, signs, cables, wires or other things foreign to the natural structure of a tree within City streets.
(b) 
Treatment of the soil within the root zone with a soil sterilant.
(2) 
All site or landscape plans involving public property shall show all existing trees. Trees proposed to be saved and removed shall be indicated. Every possible effort shall be made to preserve desirable trees.
(3) 
During new construction, existing trees to be saved shall be marked with prominent identification. Protective devices shall be placed around all "save" trees as soon as possible. Acceptable protective devices include, but are not limited to, standard snow fencing attached to metal posts, wire or string with flagging attached to wooden or metal post set securely in the ground or board fencing.
(4) 
Heavy equipment shall not be allowed to travel over the root zone of existing trees unless landscape fabric and wood chips or boards in small areas are used to avoid compaction of the soil and damage to the tree's roots.
(5) 
Curb cuts shall not be closer than five feet from the trunk of a tree. No paving or asphalt, other than replacement, shall be installed closer than two feet from a tree trunk.
(6) 
New sidewalks, paving or asphalt, other than street cartway, must allow space for tree roots that is permeable to air and water. The following should be used as a guideline. For trees up to four inches in trunk caliper, 25 square feet of porous area is needed. For each additional two inches of tree caliper, 10 more square feet are needed.
(7) 
Changes to finished grade elevations within the dripline of a tree to be saved shall be avoided whenever possible. If proposed final grade changes from existing grade are absolutely necessary within the dripline of "save" trees, tree wells or walls shall be used.
(8) 
If trees are in full leaf during the construction phase, it may be necessary to supply supplemental irrigation. The Community Forester shall notify the permittee when irrigation is required.
B. 
Specific requirements pertaining to protection of trees.
(1) 
Permits granted for street openings and curb cuts include notice of the requirements of the Street Landscape Ordinance (Article I of this chapter).
(2) 
When an underground project encounters the roots of a tree within City streets, modification of the project under or around the tree roots may be required as reasonably necessary to protect the health and survivability of the tree.
(3) 
When in the process of excavating within the dripline of a tree within City streets roots larger than two inches are encountered, the Community Forester or his designee shall be contacted. All roots shall be cleanly pruned on the tree side of the excavation. Backfilling shall be done as soon as possible to prevent the drying of exposed roots.
(4) 
Installation of curbs and sidewalks shall be completed in a manner as may reasonably protect the health and survivability of trees and tree roots. Clean cuts shall be made in every case.
(a) 
Sidewalks. Roots less than two inches in diameter of trees within City streets may be cleanly pruned on the tree side of the excavation without notifying the Community Forester. Notification of the Community Forester is required to prune roots larger than two inches in diameter. Sidewalk cutouts are permitted to clear trees or large roots while maintaining a minimum four- or five-foot-wide sidewalk, as the case may be.