[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Lansdowne 10-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1266. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Recreation and Park Board — See Ch. 77.
Parks and recreation — See Ch. 235.
Property maintenance code — See Ch. 255.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 294.
Zoning — See Ch. 330.
When used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
- HAZARD TREE
- Any tree on public or private property that poses an immediate danger to life or property, or any tree afflicted by a disease which threatens injury or destruction of other trees.
- HERITAGE TREE
- Any of the following:
- The legal and beneficial owner of land or the person or persons in possession of land. Where the legal and beneficial ownership of land is severed, the term shall include all persons holding legal and beneficial interests.
- A written permit or authorization issued by the representative of the Lansdowne Borough Council.
- Any natural person, firm, association, partnership or corporation.
- PUBLIC AREA
- That area, including unpaved areas, cartway and sidewalk, within public right-of-way lines for streets, highways, alleys and public ways within the Borough of Lansdowne and also all property owned by the Borough of Lansdowne.
- SHADE TREE
- Any tree, shrub or other woody plant in or upon any public area in the Borough of Lansdowne or that part of any tree, shrub or other woody plant which extends within the lines of any public area in the Borough of Lansdowne.
A Shade Tree Commission is hereby created in and for the Borough of Lansdowne.
The Shade Tree Commission shall be composed of five residents of the Borough of Lansdowne, who shall be appointed by the Council and shall serve without compensation. Upon enactment of this chapter, the members of the Tree Advisory Board shall automatically and without need for any further action be deemed to be the initial members of the Shade Tree Commission.
Each member of the Shade Tree Commission shall have a term of five years, provided that the initial members shall have terms of one year, two years, three years, four years and five years, respectively, determined by alphabetical order of the last names of such initial members. Upon the expiration of the terms of the initial members, all subsequent appointments shall be for terms of five years each. Any vacancy in the office of Commissioner shall be filled by the Council for the unexpired term.
The Shade Tree Commission shall have all the powers vested in such Commission by the Borough Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and all amendments, changes or additions thereto, except the following:
Said Commission shall not employ any persons, corporations, or associations or assistants without the prior approval of the Council, unless the same is or has been authorized in the budget adopted by the Council for the Borough of Lansdowne.
The Commission shall not authorize any expenditures or contract for the expenditure of Borough funds without the prior approval of the Council, unless authorized in the Borough budget.
Said Commission shall not publish notice of any proposal or program to plant, transplant or remove shade trees on any street without the prior approval of the Council.
The Commission may also perform the following functions:
The Commission may prepare a heritage tree inventory and update that inventory from time to time. The Commission or the Borough Council reserves the right to confer heritage tree status on any suitable tree brought to its attention. The failure of the Commission to include a tree on the inventory shall not exempt a tree meeting the above definition of heritage tree from the protections of this chapter.
The Commission may recommend suitable species of trees for planting along streets and in other areas, as well as appropriate size, spacing, planting, bracing, fertilization, maintenance and pruning of trees.
The Commission may hold public meetings on a regular basis, but not less frequently than four times a year, and shall publish its schedule of meetings and activities.
The Commission may, with approval of the Borough Council, consult a qualified arborist or landscape architect to advise on suitable species of trees, their planting, durability, rate of growth, litter tendencies, care, protection and treatment, tolerance to impervious coverage and traffic, and other such advice that may be useful or appropriate to the duties and responsibilities of the Commission.
The Commission may recommend to the Borough Council rules and regulations to further carry out its duties and responsibilities, which may include the issuance of mandatory or voluntary guidelines governing the planting, maintenance and removal of trees.
The Commission may establish a list of invasive species exempt from protection under this chapter and update that list at least every five years.
The Commission may assist the Borough in the dissemination of news and information regarding:
The selection, planting and maintenance of trees within the municipality, whether the same be on private or public property, and making such recommendations from time to time to the Borough Council as to desirable legislation concerning the tree program and activities for the municipality; and
The handling of fallen leaves within the municipality, whether the same be on private or public property, and making such recommendations from time to time to the Borough Council as to desirable regulations and practices concerning leaf mulching and leaf removal.
The Borough shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove shade trees, plants and shrubs in public areas, including, without limitation, within the right-of-way lines of all streets, alleys, avenues, roads, lanes, squares and public property as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds. Whenever the Borough proposes to plant, transplant, or remove shade trees on any street, notice of the time and place of the meeting at which such work is to be considered shall be given in one newspaper of general circulation in the Borough once a week for two weeks immediately preceding the time of the meeting. In addition, the owner of the property abutting the public right-of-way in which such work shall be done shall be provided with written notice by hand delivery or first-class U.S. Mail. The notice shall specify, in detail, the streets or portions upon which trees are proposed to be so planted, replanted, or removed.
Among other powers, the Borough shall have the power, as provided in Article XXVI of the Pennsylvania Borough Code, to require a property owner to cut and remove from his or her property trees and shrubs afflicted with any disease or infestation which threatens to injure or destroy plants, shrubs and shade trees anywhere in the Borough as per United States Department of Agriculture regulations.
The Borough may also require property owners to prune or remove any trees or shrubs which encroach upon or interfere with the safe use of a street or sidewalk or any dead or decaying tree or limb(s) which constitute a danger to the public or to private property in the vicinity.
Whenever the Borough shall exercise its right under this section to affect shade trees located within right-of-way lines but on privately owned property, the owner of said property shall be responsible for the cost of said activity, and, if the owner refuses to pay the reasonable cost of said activity, the Borough may cause the work to be done and may levy and collect the cost thereof from such owner by the filing of a municipal lien or by an action in assumpsit as provided by law.
Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, the Borough may elect to bear the costs of the planting shade trees within right-of-way lines but on privately owned property.
Except in case of necessity for protection of life or property, it shall be a violation of this chapter for any person to do any of the following acts within a public area without first obtaining a permit from the Code Enforcement Department as herein provided and doing the same in conformance with said permit:
Cut down or otherwise remove any viable healthy shade tree.
Interfere with the root system of any shade tree.
Cut into, drive nails or spikes into, break, climb with spurs, or injure in any manner a shade tree.
Place any rope, guy wire, cable, sign, poster or other hardware or fixture on a shade tree.
Injure or misuse a shade street tree or discharge or pour salt, saltwater, oil or other noxious liquids or materials on a shade tree or around its base.
Attach any electrical wire, insulator or any device for the holding of an electrical wire to any street tree.
It shall not be unlawful to do any of the following acts without a permit or approval of the Code Enforcement Department:
Prune shade trees to conform to the clearance requirements of this chapter, to prune shrubs within the public area and to cut or remove low-hanging or broken branches of trees which create or may create a public nuisance or danger.
Carry out normal repair, upkeep and minor pruning.
Prune or cut for the maintenance of public utility facilities.
Plant, remove, cut back, trim or prune shrubs in public areas along streets where sidewalks have not been laid, installed or constructed, where said shrubs are not planted within 25 feet of an intersection, which 25 feet shall be measured from the curb lines.
Pruning methods will adhere to International Society of Arborists/American National Standards Institute A300 pruning standards. Copies of said regulations are available at Borough Hall.
It shall not be necessary for the Borough of Lansdowne to obtain a permit to do any work on public areas owned in fee simple or rented by the Borough.
An application for a permit shall be made, in writing, to the Borough Code Enforcement Department on a form provided by the Borough. It shall specify:
The Code Enforcement Department shall review such application for a permit and shall grant or deny said application, and if granted it shall state in the permit the type or species of shade tree to be planted or removed, cut, trimmed or pruned and may set forth specifications for doing the same. It shall then be unlawful to plant, remove, cut, trim or prune any shade tree contrary to specifications set forth in the International Society of Arborists/American National Standards Institute A300 regulations.
All work to be done under any permit shall be completed within a period of 60 days from the date of issuance of the permit, unless such completion date is extended by the Code Enforcement Department.
No tree shall hereafter be planted in or upon the public streets, highways or avenues within five feet of any driveway, nor shall any tree on private property adjacent to the sidewalk be planted within three feet thereof. To maintain an adequate sight triangle for public safety, no tree shall be planted nearer to the intersection of any two or more streets than 25 feet from the point of intersection of any two public right-of-way lines, and a distance of 30 feet shall be maintained on streets which are state highways.
Any person directly affected by a decision of the Code Enforcement Officer or a notice or order issued under this chapter shall have the right to appeal to the Borough of Lansdowne Uniform Construction Code Board of Appeals, provided that a written application for appeal is filed within 20 days after the day the decision, notice or order was served and all fees associated with such appeals are submitted in accordance to the Borough's fee schedule. An application for appeal shall be addressed to the chairperson of the Borough's Appeals Board and shall be limited to claims that the true intent of this chapter or the rules legally adopted thereunder have been incorrectly interpreted, the provisions of this chapter do not fully apply, or the requirements of this chapter are adequately satisfied by other means. Appeals hearings shall be conducted as set forth in Section 107 of the Property Maintenance Code of the Borough of Lansdowne.
The power of the Commission to enforce this chapter is delegated to the Code Enforcement Department of the Borough of Lansdowne. The Code Department may assess penalties of not more than $600 plus costs of prosecution and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, of imprisonment for a period not exceeding 30 days for each and every violation of this chapter or any of the provisions of the Borough Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania so far as it relates to shade trees.