[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Denmark at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II). Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the purpose of this chapter to promote and protect the public health, safety and general welfare by providing for the regulation of the planting, maintenance and removal of trees, shrubs and other plants within the Village.
It is the intent of the Village Board that the terms of this chapter shall be construed so as to promote:
The planting, maintenance, restoration and survival of desirable trees, shrubs and other plants within the Village; and
The protection of community residents from personal injury and property damage, and the protection of the Village from property damage, caused or threatened by the improper planting, maintenance or removal of trees, shrubs or other plants located within the community.
Having determined that a well-managed urban forest provides many benefits to the Village, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Village of Denmark, Wisconsin, to regulate and control the planting, removal, maintenance, and protection of trees and shrubs upon or in all public areas of the Village in order to:
Promote and enhance the aesthetics and general welfare of the Village.
Eliminate and guard against dangerous conditions which may result in injury to persons using public areas of the Village.
Protect trees and shrubs in public areas from undesirable and unsafe planting, removal, maintenance and protection practices.
Protect all trees and shrubs from the damaging effects of construction, alteration or repair of utility facilities and other improvements in any public area.
Guard all trees and shrubs, both public and private, within the Village against the spread of disease, insects, or pests.
Prevent damage to any public sewer, water main, street, sidewalk, or other public property.
Unless specifically defined below, the words or phrases used in this chapter shall be so interpreted as to give them the meaning they have at common law and to give this chapter its most reasonable application. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CLEAR-VISION TRIANGLE
- A triangle-shaped zone formed by the existing or proposed curblines of two or more intersecting streets, roads or alleys and a third line connecting said curblines at a distance of 25 feet in each direction from the point of curbline intersection, in order to provide vehicular traffic an unobstructed view of cross traffic at intersections.
- Person, firm, association or corporation.
- PUBLIC AREAS
- Includes all public parks and other lands owned, controlled or leased by the Village.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- Any tree or shrub or part thereof which by reason of its condition or location has been declared to be a public nuisance under § 273-6 of this chapter.
- PUBLIC TREES AND SHRUBS
- All trees and shrubs located or to be planted in or upon public areas.
- TERRACE AREA
- The land between the normal location of the street curbing and sidewalk.
- TREE MANAGEMENT PLAN
- A comprehensive annual plan including maintenance, inventory, new planting and budget, with projections for annual and long-range implementation.
- The Village of Denmark, Wisconsin
Authority over public trees and shrubs. The Village Board or its designee may plant, trim, spray, preserve, renew and remove public trees and shrubs or cause such work to be done as may be necessary to ensure the safety, preserve the beauty of public areas, and to protect public property, sewers and water mains from damage or injury.
Authority over private trees and shrubs and terrace trees.
Notice to abate public nuisances. Whenever the Village Board or its designee finds on examination that any tree or shrub or part thereof growing or located upon private premises or the terrace area is a public nuisance it must be sprayed, removed or otherwise abated as directed in the notice within the time specified, which shall not be less than 30 days unless the Village Board or its designee shall determine that immediate action is necessary for public safety.
Abatement of nuisances. If the owner of such premises or his agent shall refuse or neglect to comply with the notice within the time specified, the Village Board or its designee shall cause the nuisance to be sprayed, removed or otherwise abated and shall report the expense thereof to the Village Treasurer who shall enter it as a charge against the property upon which the tree or shrub is located.
The officers, agents, servants and employees of the Village may enter upon private premises at all reasonable times upon reasonable notice for the purpose of examining any tree or shrub located upon or over such premises and carrying out any of the provisions of this chapter.
No person shall interfere with the officers, agents, servants and employees of the Village while they are engaged in carrying out any work or activity authorized by this chapter.
The following are hereby declared public nuisances under this chapter:
Any dead or dying tree, shrub, or other plant, whether located on Village-owned property or on private property, that is the cause of substantial annoyance to the general public.
Any otherwise healthy tree, shrub, or other plant or portion thereof, whether located on public areas or on private property, which harbors insects or diseases which reasonably may be expected to injure or harm any tree, shrub, or other plant.
Any tree, shrub, or other plant or portion thereof, whether located on public areas or on private property, which by reason of location or condition constitutes a potential danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the general public.
Any tree, shrub, or other plant or portion thereof, whether located on public areas or on private property, which obstructs the free passage of pedestrian or vehicular traffic or which obstructs a street sign on Village property.
Any tree, shrub or other plant or portion thereof, whether located on public areas or on private property, which dangerously obstructs the view as such may be determined by the agent of the Village pursuant to this chapter.
Abatement. The following are the prescribed means of abating public nuisances under this chapter:
Any public nuisance under this chapter which is located on public areas shall be pruned, removed, or otherwise treated by the agent of the Village in whatever fashion is required to cause the abatement of the nuisance within a reasonable time after its discovery.
Any public nuisance under this chapter which is located on privately owned property shall be pruned, removed, or otherwise treated by the property owner or his/her agent in whatever fashion is required to cause the abatement of the nuisance. No property owner may be found guilty of violating this provision unless and until the following requirements of notice have been satisfied:
The agent of the Village shall cause a written notice to be personally served or sent by registered mail to the person to whom was sent the tax bill for the general taxes for the last preceding year.
Such notice shall describe the kind of tree, shrub, or plant or plant part which has been declared to be a public nuisance, its location on the property and the reason for declaring it a nuisance.
Such notice shall describe by legal description or by common description the premises.
Such notice shall state the actions that the property owner may undertake to abate the nuisance.
Such notice will require the elimination of the nuisance no less than 30 days after the notice is delivered or sent to the person to whom was sent the tax bill for the general taxes for the last preceding year.
In the event that the nuisance is not abated by the date specified in the notice, the agent of the Village is authorized to cause the abatement of said nuisance.
The agent of the Village is empowered to cause the immediate abatement of any public nuisance, provided that the nuisance is determined by the agent of the Village to be an immediate threat to any person or property.
The entire cost of abating any public nuisance as defined herein that is located on private premises shall be charged to and assessed against the parcel or lot upon which such tree is located or the parcel or lot upon which such tree stands in accordance with § 66.0627 or 27.09, Wis. Stats. The cost of abating any such nuisance or part thereof which is located in or upon any park, public grounds, or terrace areas shall be borne by the Village.
A special charge may be levied against property for the cutting down and removing therefrom of any tree infected with determined infectious tree insect/disease. The special charge shall be paid in accordance with § 66.0627, Wis. Stats.
The Village Tree Management Plan consists of a Village-wide, street-by-street written evaluation of all public rights-of-way and public areas space and site factors which will aid in the determination of the tree genus and species and variety best suited to a particular planting site in regard to growth habit, shape, form, health, disease, insect and pest resistance, conflict with wires, lights, pavement, traffic, pedestrians, sidewalk, environmental pollution, sewers and space availability. The evaluation of the space and site factors and the genus and species and variety selection for a particular street shall be made by the agent of the Village or hired qualified consultant.
Scope of requirement. No person except the authorized agent of the Village may perform any of the following acts without first obtaining from the agent a permit, and nothing in this section shall be construed to exempt any person from the requirements of obtaining any additional permits as are required by law:
Remove, destroy, cut, deface or injure any tree existing in the public area or attach any rope, wire, chain, sign or any other device to any public tree.
Plant, prune, fertilize or spray any tree or shrub existing on any public area in the Village or authorize or cause the same to be done.
Place or maintain upon the ground in any public area any stone, concrete, brick or other impervious material or substance in such a manner as may obstruct the free access of air and water.
Issuance. Within 14 days of receipt of the application, the agent of the Village may issue a permit to perform, within 30 days of the day of issuance, any of the acts specified in Subsection A immediately above, for which a permit is requested, whenever:
Such acts would result in the abatement of a public nuisance;
An application has been signed by the applicant and submitted to the agent of the Village detailing the location, number, size, and species of trees, shrubs, or other plants that will be affected by such acts, setting forth the purpose of such acts and the methods to be used, and presenting any additional information that the agent of the Village may find reasonably necessary; and
The applicant agrees to perform the work for which the permit is sought in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
No trees or shrubs shall be planted within 30 feet of any street corner. There shall be a minimum distance of 30 feet and a recommended distance of 50 feet between terrace area trees depending upon the size of tree and other factors. Terrace trees shall be planted an equal distance between the sidewalk or proposed sidewalk and back of the curb or proposed back of curb. In terrace areas less than three feet wide, planting will not be permitted. Large tree species planted in terrace areas must be a minimum of seven feet in height and 13 inches in diameter. Smaller tree species must be a minimum of five feet in height and one inch in diameter. Tree diameters shall be measured at six inches above ground height.
The agent of the Village shall approve the species of tree that will be allowed to be planted at each location.
Pruning. Trees and shrubs standing in or upon any terrace area, public area or upon any private premises adjacent to any public street or alley shall provide a clearance of not less than 12 feet over sidewalks and 15 feet over streets. The agent of the Village may waive the provisions of this subsection for newly planted trees if he determines that they do not interfere with public travel, obstruct the light of any street corner or endanger public safety.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, no person shall maintain, plant or permit to remain on any private or public premises situated at the intersection of two or more streets or alleys in the Village any hedge, tree, shrub, or other growth which may obstruct the view of the operator of any motor vehicle or pedestrian approaching such intersection. A clear-vision triangle shall be maintained to a minimum distance of 25 feet from the corner of two intersecting streets.
No person shall, without the consent of the owner in the case of a private tree or shrub, or without written permission from the Village in the case of a terrace area tree, public tree or shrub, do or cause to be done by others any of the following acts:
Secure, fasten or run any rope, wire, sign, unprotected electrical installation or other device or material to, around, or through a tree or shrub.
Break, injure, mutilate, deface, kill or destroy any tree or shrub or permit any fire to burn where it will injure any tree or shrub.
Permit any toxic chemical, gas, smoke, oil or other injurious substance to seep, drain, or be emptied upon or about any tree or shrub, or place cement or other solid substance around the base of the same.
Erect, alter, repair, raze, or excavate without placing suitable guards as approved by the Public Works Department around all public trees or shrubs which may be injured by such operations.
Remove any guard, stake or other device or material intended for the protection of a public tree or shrub, or close or obstruct any open space about the base of a public tree or shrub designed to permit access of air, water and fertilizer.
Top any public tree. Topping is defined as a severe cutback of leaders and main scaffold branches to stubs within the tree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. Trees damaged by storms when proper pruning practices are impractical may be exempted from this subsection at the determination of the Village Board.
When permission is obtained from the Public Works Department to move over-height and over-width structures or objects, the agent of the Village will assist in advising the carrier regarding trees and shrubs on routes. Any damage done to trees and shrubs in the process of such a move shall be the liability of the carrier.
No citizen shall remove or cause to be removed any tree or shrub from any public area or terrace.
No person shall transport into the Village any infectious tree insect/disease bark bearing wood or brush without securing written permission from the agent of the Village.
The cost of replanting in the street right-of-way or terrace shall be assessed against owners of adjacent property in the same manner as other special assessments.
Any person who receives a determination or order from the agent of the Village and objects to all or any part thereof may appeal to the Village President within seven days of receipt of the order and the Village President shall hear such appeal within 30 days of receipt of written notice of the appeal. After such hearing the Village President may reverse, affirm, or modify the order or determination appealed from and the grounds for his decision shall be stated in writing. The Village President shall by letter notify the party appealing the order or determination of his decision within 10 days after the hearing has been concluded and file his written decision with the Village Treasurer.
The planting of female cottonwood trees is prohibited anywhere within the Village of Denmark. Cottonwood trees three inches in diameter or less are hereby declared to be a public nuisance.
Sections 27.09 and 66.0627, Wis. Stats., are hereby adopted and incorporated herein by reference.
The penalty for commission of any offense under this chapter shall be limited to a forfeiture imposed under § 1-4 of this Code.