City of Watervliet, NY
Albany County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Watervliet 3-2-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018 Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Tree Law of the City of Watervliet."
The Council of the City of Watervliet has determined that it is in the best interests of the citizens of the City of Watervliet to promote and protect their health, safety and welfare to adopt a tree local law. The Council of the City of Watervliet recognizes the role that trees play in the City ecosystem and that they contribute to the quality of air, reduce noise and visual pollution, help to moderate climatic extremes and conserve energy, and the Council further recognizes the role trees play in enhancing property values and the general quality of life in the City. In order to establish a responsible program for planting, maintenance, husbandry or removal of trees or shrubs in the City, the Council finds it is necessary to establish a Tree Committee and to adopt this chapter to provide an orderly framework to maximize the benefits afforded by trees within the City.
A. 
Establishment; member terms.
(1) 
The Council of the City of Watervliet shall create an advisory committee known as the "City of Watervliet Tree Committee." The Committee shall consist of three members, all of whom shall be residents of the City. In addition, a City Code Enforcement Officer and the General Manager shall serve as ex officio members of the Committee. Each member shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to approval by the Council of the City of Watervliet.
(2) 
The members shall be appointed initially as follows: one member shall be appointed for a term of three years; one member shall be appointed for a term of two years; and one member shall be appointed for a term of one year. Thereafter, all appointments shall be for three years.
(3) 
If a Committee member does not serve the full term for reasons other than the expiration of the term, the Mayor shall appoint a successor, to serve the unexpired term.
B. 
Compensation. Committee members shall serve in a voluntary capacity without compensation.
C. 
Tree Committee duties. The Tree Committee shall have the following duties:
(1) 
To study, investigate, counsel and develop and/or update annually, 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. Such plan will be presented annually to the Council of the City of Watervliet and upon their acceptance and approval shall constitute the official comprehensive City tree plan for the City of Watervliet.
(2) 
Maintaining reference materials relating to trees and shrubs.
(3) 
Providing an inventory of the location of street trees and determining areas where such trees could exist but are absent.
(4) 
Establishing a suggested species list for the City and recommending to the City the type and kind of trees to be planted upon City property.
(5) 
Identifying trees for immediate removal. The Tree Committee may recommend a tree or part of a tree be removed if the tree or tree part:
(a) 
Poses a potential public safety risk or hazard; or
(b) 
Causes an unsafe condition; or
(c) 
By its nature, is injurious to sewers, electric power lines, gas lines, water lines or other public improvements; or
(6) 
When requested by the Council of the City of Watervliet, to consider, investigate, make findings, report and recommend any special matter of question coming within the scope of its work.
(7) 
Work to foster education and public awareness of the benefit of urban forestry programs and shade trees to the Watervliet community.
(8) 
Support Arbor Day activities and other urban forestry public benefit programs.
D. 
Meetings.
(1) 
The Committee shall meet a minimum of five times each year. The Committee may call additional meetings as needed.
(2) 
If a Committee member misses three consecutive meetings, the position shall be deemed vacant.
A. 
It shall be unlawful and it is hereby prohibited for any person, firm, entity, company, corporation or utility to move, remove, replace, or cut down any tree in any public street or on or along the sidewalk, street or alley adjacent to private property between the property line and the curb or middle of the alley or within the public right-of-way within the City, or cause the same to be done, unless and until a written permit to do so shall have been first obtained from the City of Watervliet Building Department.
B. 
The fee for obtaining said permit shall be $50 per tree, which must be paid upon the filing of the application for permit.
Any permit issued pursuant to this chapter may contain such conditions as the Building Department deems necessary to ensure compliance with the legislative intent of this chapter.
A permit must be adequately displayed so that it is visible from the nearest public street until such time as the authorized work has ended and a final inspection has been conducted by the Building Department.
The person, firm, entity, company, corporation or utility so issued a permit by the Building Department under this chapter shall, prior to performing any work, obtain and provide to the City the following certificates of insurance naming the City of Watervliet as additional insured: certificate of liability insurance, certificate of New York State workers' compensation insurance, and certificate of New York State disability benefits insurance; and shall protect, indemnify and hold harmless the City of Watervliet from any and all claims that may arise or that may be made for damage, loss, injury or death results from the acts of said person, firm, entity company, corporation or utility.
A. 
No property owner shall be permitted to allow a tree, shrub or other plant growing on his or her property or on or along the sidewalk, street or alley adjacent to the same between the property line and the curb or middle of the alley, to obstruct or interfere with the view of drivers or vehicles or pedestrians to create a hazard. If such tree, shrub or other plant does overhang or does otherwise adversely affect any street, sidewalk or alley within the City, the property owner shall, at the owner's expense, prune or remove the tree, shrub or plant so that it shall not obstruct the view of any street intersection or obstruct or hinder passage on any street, sidewalk or alley.
B. 
If an obstruction persists, the Code Enforcement Officer shall mail a notice, in writing, to the property owner to prune or remove the tree, shrub or plant. The owner shall, at their own expense, prune or remove the tree, shrub or plant within 10 days after the date of service of the notice. If the owner fails to comply with the notice, the City may undertake the necessary work and charge the cost for such work to the property owner. If such charge remains unpaid for 45 days, the costs incurred by the City shall become a lien against the property and be added to and appear on the next City tax bill for said property.
C. 
In the event that a sidewalk adjoining a property is raised, cracked or otherwise damaged which creates a hazardous condition and the property owner receives a notice from the City, which notice orders that property owner to correct the condition prior to performing any work at the property, the property owner must contact the Building Department in order for a representative of the Building Department to inspect the tree and/or root which is causing the damage to the sidewalk. If at all possible, the property owner shall trim the root in order to correct the problem in a manner which shall cause as little damage to the root system as possible. Furthermore, the trimming of the root system shall be done during a period of time during which the root system is dormant. The removal of the tree shall only be performed if absolutely necessary and only if it is determined by the Building Department that the root system cannot be trimmed or otherwise cut back to correct the problem.
D. 
Tree removal or the trimming of the root system of any tree situated on a public right-of-way or on or along the sidewalk, street or alley adjacent to private property between the property line and the curb or middle of the alley shall require a permit as established in § 245-4 of this chapter.
A. 
No person, firm, entity, company, corporation or utility shall remove, cut above ground, disturb the root system or otherwise disturb any public tree on any City street, public right-of-way or public place without a permit.
B. 
No person, firm, entity, company, corporation or utility shall fasten or attach to any tree any sign, poster, bill notice or advertisement of any kind.
C. 
No person, firm, entity, company, corporation or utility shall cause or permit any brine, oil, gasoline, liquid dye or other substance deleterious to tree life to lie, leak, pour, flow or drip on or into the soil about the base of a tree which could injure such tree.
D. 
No person shall fasten or cause to be fastened any animal to a tree in any street or public place or permit any animal owned by him or in his charge to stand so near any such tree that the tree may be gnawed or otherwise injured by the animal.
E. 
No trees shall be planted or allowed to grow on private or public lands within the limits of, or which will interfere with, any drainage, sewer, water or utility easement.
A. 
Private property owners have the duty, at their own expense, to cut down and remove any trees upon their property or along the sidewalk, street or alley adjacent to the same between the property line and the curb or middle of the alley which are dead or diseased when such trees constitute a hazard to life or property or harbor insects or disease that constitute a potential threat to other trees within the City. The Code Enforcement Officer shall mail a notice, in writing, to the property owner to remove such trees for the reasons stated above. The owner shall, at their own expense, remove such trees within 10 days after the date of service of the notice. If the owner fails to comply with the notice, the City may undertake the necessary work to remove such trees and charge the cost for such work to the property owner. If such charge remains unpaid for 45 days, the costs incurred by the City shall become a lien against the property and be added to and appear on the next City tax bill for said property.
B. 
Tree removal of any dead or diseased tree situated on a public right-of-way or on or along the sidewalk, street or alley adjacent to private property between the property line and the curb or middle of the alley shall require a permit as established in § 245-4 of this chapter.
A. 
An abutting landowner seeking removal of a healthy or live tree situated on a public right of way or on or along the sidewalk, street or alley adjacent to his or her property between the property line and the curb or middle of the alley must file an application with the Building Department seeking permission for removal.
B. 
Applications for removal of a healthy or live tree must demonstrate that removal will be of greater benefit to the inhabitants of the City than the existing tree or trees sought to be removed.
C. 
In determining whether removal of a healthy or live tree is in the best interests of the City, the Building Inspector and/or Code Enforcement Officer must find that:
(1) 
Said tree is damaging public property and such damage cannot be permanently repaired; and
(2) 
Said tree is damaging abutting private property and such damage could result in liability to the City and such damage cannot be permanently repaired.
D. 
Tree removal of any healthy or live tree situated on a public right-of-way or on or along the sidewalk, street or alley adjacent to private property between the property line and the curb or middle of the alley shall require a permit as established in § 245-4 of this chapter.
A. 
The stumps of all trees located in any public street or on or along the sidewalk, street or alley adjacent to private property between the property line and the curb or middle of the alley or within the public right-of-way or public place within the City shall be removed entirely below the surface of the ground. The cavity created by the removal must be filled in with top soil.
B. 
The stumps of all trees remaining above the surface of the ground in any public street or along the sidewalk, street or alley adjacent to private property between the property line and the curb or middle of the alley or within the public right-of-way or public place within the City at the time of the enactment of this chapter shall be removed entirely by abutting landowners pursuant to Subsection A above within 90 days of the date this chapter is filed with the New York State Secretary of State.
C. 
The removal of stumps of all trees located in any public street or on or along the sidewalk, street or alley adjacent to private property between the property line and the curb or middle of the alley or within the public right-of-way or public place within the City shall require a permit as established in § 245-4 of this chapter.
Unless otherwise provided, a violation of any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not to exceed $500 or imprisonment not to exceed 15 days, or both. Each day during or on which a violation of this chapter shall occur shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense.