[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Grafton as Title 11, Ch. 11.32, of the 1979 Code; amended in its entirety Ord. No. 001, Series 2018. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Note: For statutory provisions on the power of villages to remove and regulate mutilation of trees on and adjacent to highways, see § 86-03, Wis. Stats. 1975.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- 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.
- STREET TREES
- Trees, shrubs, bushes, and all other woody vegetation on land lying between property lines on either side of all streets, avenues, or ways within the Village.
There is hereby created and established a Village Tree Committee for the Village of Grafton, Wisconsin, which shall consist of the Public Works Committee of the Village Board.
It shall be the responsibility of the Committee to study, investigate, counsel and develop and/or update and administer a written plan for the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal or disposition of trees and shrubs in parks, along streets and in other public areas, as needed. The Committee, when requested by the Village Board, shall consider, investigate, make findings, report and recommend upon any special matter of question coming within the scope of its work.
The Committee shall choose its own officers, make its own rules and regulations and keep a journal of its proceedings. A majority of the members shall be a quorum for the transaction of business.
The following list constitutes the official street tree species for Grafton, Wisconsin. No species other than those included in this list may be planted as street trees without the written permission of the Village Tree Committee.
The spacing of street trees will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in § 11.32.050 of this chapter, and no tree may be planted closer together than the following: small trees, 30 feet; medium trees, 40 feet; and large trees, 50 feet; except in special plantings designed or approved by a landscape architect and approved by the Village Tree Committee.
The distance trees may be planted from curbs or curblines and sidewalks will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in § 11.32.050 of this chapter, and no trees may be planted closer to any curb or sidewalk than the following: small trees, two feet; medium trees, three feet; and large trees, four feet.
No street tree shall be planted closer than 35 feet to any street corner, measured from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curblines. No street tree shall be planted closer than 10 feet to any fire hydrant.
No street trees other than those species listed as small trees in § 11.32.050 of this chapter may be planted under or within 10 lateral feet of any overhead utility wire or over or within five lateral feet of any underground wire line, sewer line, transmission line or other utility.
The Village shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within the lines of all streets, alleys, avenues, lanes, squares and public grounds, as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds.
The Village Tree Committee may remove or cause or order to be removed any tree or part thereof which is in an unsafe condition or which by reason of its nature is injurious to sewers, electric power lines, gas lines, water lines, or other public improvements, or is affected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest.
The purchasing of street trees by adjacent property owners is allowed, providing that the selection and location of said trees is in accordance with §§ 11.32.050 through 11.32.090 of this chapter and approved by the Village Tree Committee. Privately purchased trees shall be planted by Village crews and become Village property once planted. On properties where numerous trees are to be planted, a plan showing species and locations must be submitted for approval. Diversity of species in new developments must be considered. Contractors may be allowed to plant trees if approval is granted by the Village Tree Committee. New developments shall not plant trees until driveways are placed, allowing for proper tree placement and spacing. New trees planted shall be a minimum caliper of 2 1/2 inches' diameter at time of planting.
It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm, or Village department to top any street tree, park tree, or other tree on public property. "Topping" is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree's crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. 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 Tree Committee.
Every owner of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the Village shall prune the branches so that such branches shall not obstruct the light from any street lamp or obstruct the view of any intersection and do that there shall be a clear space of 11 feet above the surface of any street or eight feet above the surface of the sidewalk. Said owners shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees, of broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public. The Village shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a streetlight, interferes with visibility of any traffic control device or sign, or when clear spaces as required are not maintained.
The Village shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased trees on private property within the Village, when such trees constitute a hazard to life and property, or harbor insects or disease which constitute a potential threat to other trees within the Village. The Village Tree Committee will notify, in writing, the owners of such trees. Removal shall be done by said owners at their own expense within 60 days after the date of service of notice. In the event of failure of owners to comply with such provisions, the Village shall have the authority to remove such trees and charge the cost of removal on the owner's property tax notice.
All stumps of street and park trees shall be removed below the surface of the ground so that the top of the stump shall not project above the surface of the ground.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the Village Tree Committee, or any of its agents, while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying, or removing of any street trees, park trees, or trees on private grounds, as authorized by this chapter.
The Village Board shall have the right to review the conduct, acts and decisions of the Village Tree Committee. Any person may appeal from any ruling or order of the Village Tree Committee to the Village Board who may hear the matter and make final decision.
Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be, upon conviction or plea of guilty, subject to a fine not to exceed $100.