[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Hobart as § 2.2 of the 2000 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Village of Hobart to regulate trees in the Village in order to promote the public health, safety and welfare, prevent the spread of fire, prevent the spread of tree diseases, protect property values, enhance aesthetics and scenic viewsheds, balance the need for road safety while preserving the Village's rustic roads and maintaining trees planted close to the road, reduce the potential for trees becoming public nuisances and hazards, protect trees from loss during construction, encourage use of trees to conserve energy, encourage and maintain an optimal level of age and species diversity, provide specifications for planting, maintaining and removal of trees and provide that all such work (including utility maintenance) in any right-of-way be under permit and to provide a forum for conflict resolution.
Trees are a valuable resource which enhance the aesthetics of the property, prevent soil erosion, filter airborne pollutants, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, produce oxygen and ameliorate harsh climates, thereby reducing energy consumption. In addition, trees contribute significantly to property values and provide many other benefits from a local to a global aspect. This is to be balanced with the need for open space and farm fields which are important aspects in Hobart's landscape and provide habitat for wildlife.
This chapter applies to all public land located on and within the boundaries of the Village of Hobart.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be deemed to impose any liability upon the Village, its officers or employees, nor to relieve the owner of any private property from the duty to keep any tree, shrub, or plant upon any road tree area abutting their property or under their control in such condition as to prevent it from constituting a hazard or an impediment to travel or vision upon any road, park, boulevard, alley, or public place within the Village.
Whenever the following words or terms are used in this chapter, they shall be construed to have the following meanings:
- The Hobart Parks and Urban Forestry Committee as constituted pursuant to § 255-5 in this Code.[Amended 1-6-2015 by Ord. No. 01-2015; 4-8-2015 by Ord. No. 03-2015]
- Person(s) or Village employee(s) designated by the Village Board as authorized to carry out provisions of this chapter.
- PARK TREES
- Trees, shrubs, bushes, and all other woody vegetation in public parks having individual names, and all areas owned by the Village, or to which the public has free access as a park.
- Any person, firm, association or corporation.
- PRIVATE TREES
- Any trees located or to be planted in or upon private premises.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- Any tree or shrub or part thereof growing upon private or public property which is interfering with the use of any public area; does not have adequate clearance over roads (14 feet) and walks (eight feet), is infected with a plant disease; or which is infested with injurious insects or pests which threaten public or private property; is dead; or which endangers the public health, safety and welfare.
- PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
- That part of every street between the lot line and the road.
- PUBLIC TREES
- Any trees located or to be planted in or upon any public property.
- PUBLIC UTILITY
- Any public, private or cooperatively owned line, facility, or system for producing, transmitting or distributing communications, power, electricity, light, heat, gas, oil products, water, waste or stormwater, which directly or indirectly serves the public or any part thereof within the corporate limits of the Village.
- ROAD TREES
- Road trees are herein defined as trees, shrubs, bushes, and all other woody vegetation on land lying between property lines on either side of all roads, avenues, or ways within the Village.
- TREE TOPPING
- Generally, the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree's crown to such a degree as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. This creates hazard trees.
- The Village of Hobart, Wisconsin.
The Village Forester shall have the authority to promulgate the rules and regulations of the arboricultural specifications and standards of practice governing the planting, maintenance, removal, fertilization, pruning and bracing of trees on the roads or other public sites in the municipality, and shall direct, regulate, and control the planting, maintenance, and removal of all trees growing now or hereafter in any public area of the Village of Hobart, to insure safety or preserve the aesthetics of such public sites.
The Village Forester shall cause the provision of this chapter to be enforced and shall have the authority to issue citations as provided for in the Code of the Village of Hobart. In his or her absence, these duties shall be the responsibility of a qualified alternate designated by the Village.
The Village Forester shall have the authority to affix reasonable conditions to the granting of a permit in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
[Amended 1-6-2015 by Ord. No. 01-2015; 4-8-2015 by Ord. No. 03-2015]
There is hereby established a Parks and Urban Forestry Committee for the Village of Hobart, which shall consist of five members, two of whom may hold another public office, including elected, appointed, and employees of the Village. Appointments shall be for three-year terms; except that initial appointments shall be for one three-year term, three two-year terms, and one one-year term.
Duties of the Village Forestry Committee.
It shall be the responsibility of the Committee to study, investigate, counsel, develop, update, and administer a written plan for the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal and disposition of trees and shrubs in parks, along roads, and in other public places. Such plan will be presented to the Village Board and upon their acceptance and approval shall constitute the official Comprehensive Forestry Plan for the Village of Hobart.
The Committee, when requested by the Village Board, shall consider, investigate, make finding, report, and recommend upon any special matter or question coming with the scope of its work.
The Parks and Urban Forestry Committee shall develop and maintain a desirable tree species list for the planting along roads. Lists of trees not suitable for planting will also be created by the Parks and Urban Forestry Committee.
Maintenance permit requirement and cost. No person shall plant, replace, prune, alter, do surgery on a tree, or disturb the land within the dripline of any tree on public property or cause such work to be done by others, without first obtaining prior approval for such work from the Village Forester as herein provided. The permit holder shall be responsible for paying for the cost of all work performed, unless acting under contract with the Village or its subunits.
Maintenance permit exemptions. No person shall be required to obtain a permit to fertilize or water trees in the right-of-way abutting their property.
Maintenance permit application. Any person who applies for a permit shall make said application in writing on Village forms detailing work to be done including plans showing all plantings, removals and trees to be worked on.
Maintenance permit issuance, fee and term. When the Village Forester determines that any proposed work described in an application for a permit is in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, taking into account the public health, safety and welfare, public sidewalks, driveways, streetlights and signs, the general character of the area in which the tree is located or proposed to be located, the type of soil, the characteristics and physiological need of the genus, species and variety of the tree, then a permit may be issued or denied as appropriate under the circumstances, with conditions or limitations, without a fee therefor. It is the person's responsibility to contact Diggers Hotline for location of buried utilities.
Maintenance permit and duration. Every permit issued by the Village Forester shall include a description of the work to be done and shall specify, in the case of plantings, the genus, species and variety, size, nursery grade and location of trees to be planted. Any work done under such permit issued under this section shall expire nine months after the date of issuance.
Maintenance permit violation. It shall be a violation of this chapter for any person to perform work under a permit contrary to the permit terms and provisions of this chapter. A permit violator shall be responsible for the repair and replacement of any tree damaged or destroyed due to defective work or noncompliance with this chapter for two full growing seasons following performance of work.
Compliance with vision clearance. No application shall be validated or permit issued unless the provisions of the Code of the Village of Hobart requiring vision clearance (or vision corners) on corner lots shall have been complied with.
Tree topping. It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm, or Village department to top any road tree or other tree on public property. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes, or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical may be exempted from this chapter at the determination of the Village Forester.
Annual public utility and contractor permits. Public utilities and contractors may apply for and obtain, in accordance with this chapter, an annual forestry permit subject to the following additional conditions, unless waived by the Village Forester.
Any permit granted under authority of this chapter may be revoked by the Village Forester for cause upon written demand and notice. The revocation of any permit may be appealed to the Village Board within 10 days of receipt of written notice of revocation.
Notice to abate public nuisances.
Whenever the Village Forester shall find that any tree or part thereof growing or located upon private property is a public nuisance, he/she shall notify the owner thereof, in writing, that the nuisance must be abated as directed in the notice within the time specified, which time shall not be less than 30 days, unless the Village Forester shall determine that immediate action is necessary to preserve the public health, safety and welfare, in which event a lesser period of time for abatement shall be provided.
Notice shall be served on the owner of record of said lot identifying those conditions which constitute a public nuisance and demanding abatement by a time certain in the manner and to the extent prescribed by said notice. Service shall be in the manner provided for service of a summons in the Circuit Court or by certified mail-return receipt. If the owner cannot be served or if there is no certified mail-return receipt, the order may be served by posting it on the main entrance of the building or structure, if any, or where no building or structure is present, by posting a sign on each of said lot, and by publishing as a Class 1 notice, under Chapter 985, Wis. Stats.
Transport of materials. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or transport into the Village any trees, logs, or branches known to be affected by any communicable disease or insect which may affect trees. Any such material brought into the Village shall be disposed of by the parties responsible for bringing the diseased or infected trees, logs, or branches into the Village in the manner and in a location designated by the Director of Public Works or Village Forester.
Failure to abate. If said owner fails to remedy or improve the condition complained of in accordance with the written notice furnished by the Village Forester, then said Village Forester shall, after the expiration of the period specified in the written notice, cause said nuisance to be abated.
Abatement by Village. The abatement may be by Village personnel or by a contractual agreement with others entered into by the Village.
Hearing. The owner, upon written request to the Village Clerk-Treasurer, served and postmarked during the notice period, shall be granted a hearing before the Village Board. Where possible, said hearing should be within 10 days following the request therefor. Said hearing shall give the owner the opportunity to contest the existence of facts sufficient to form the basis for the finding of a public nuisance as herein described. Following the hearing, a written statement of the findings of the Village Board shall be sent by regular mail to the owner at the address given by the owner at said hearing. The Village Forester may, for good cause, extend the period of time for abatement of the nuisance.
Appeal. The written order of the Village Forester, where a hearing has been held, may be appealed to the Village Board upon written request to the Village Clerk-Treasurer, served or postmarked within 10 days of the date of said written order. Where possible, said appeal should be heard at the next scheduled meeting of said Village Board, provided that the request for review is received by the Village Clerk-Treasurer at least seven days prior to the next scheduled meeting of the Village Board.
Special assessment. Following abatement of said public nuisance, the Village Forester shall bill the owner for the cost of abatement. If such bill is not paid within 30 days, said bill shall be processed as a special assessment against said property.
Emergency procedure. The above-specified notice procedure does not apply when circumstances arise which require immediate action to protect the public from imminent harm, such as sickness, disease or personal injury. In determining imminent harm, there must be a balance of the rights of the landowner to notice and appeal procedures with the right of the public to be protected from a risk of harm which could be avoided by prompt action. However, where possible, the landowner should be given a minimum of 24 hours' written or oral notice prior to Village abatement action. The above ordinance shall otherwise apply, except for the notice and appeal procedure, which shall be as herein stated.
No person, upon public property, shall:
Injure, destroy, damage, mutilate, deface or commit any act which will prevent the growth or cause the death of any tree.
Secure, attach, fasten, nail or run through any rope, cable, wire, sign or fixture to, around or through any tree.
Deposit, place or permit the deposit of any toxic or hazardous substance on or about any tree.
Excavate or disturb the ground within the dripline of any tree without a permit.
Perform any work within the dripline of any tree without taking measures as directed by the Village Forester to protect the tree from injury and damage, up to and including tunneling.
Remove any guard, stake or other protective device or close or obstruct any open space about the base of a tree designed to permit access of air, water or fertilizer.
Perform any other act contrary to this chapter.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Village Forester and designees thereof. Any Village department which observes a violation of this chapter shall bring said violations to the attention of the Village Forester.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay, or interfere with the Village, or any of its agents, while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, or removing of any road trees, park trees, or trees on private grounds, as authorized by this chapter.
Any person aggrieved by the administration or interpretation of any of the terms or provisions of this chapter may appeal to the Village Board which, after a hearing with notice to the appellant, may reverse, affirm or modify, in whole or in part, the order, requirement, decision or determination of the Village Forester, and to that end shall have all the powers of the Village Forester.
[Amended 1-6-2015 by Ord. No. 01-2015]
Any person who by himself/herself or by his/her agent or employee, shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter, shall, upon conviction, be subject to the penalties provided in § 1-3. A separate offense shall be deemed to have been committed on every day on which a violation occurs or continues.
[Amended 4-8-2015 by Ord. No. 03-2015]
Any fees concerning this chapter set by the Village of Hobart Board shall be reviewed every two years by the Parks and Urban Forestry Committee. The Parks and Urban Forestry Committee shall recommend any changes in fees to the Village Board.