[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Mount Vernon 11-13-1957 as Ch. 46 of the General Ordinances, approved 11-15-1957. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It shall be unlawful to plant or set out any shade tree in or upon any part of any public street or City park without first obtaining from the Commissioner of Public Works a written permit so to do and without complying in all respects with the conditions set forth in this chapter and in such written permit.
It shall be unlawful, without the written permit of the Commissioner of Public Works, to cut, break, injure or misuse any tree or shrub planted or growing in any park or public street, or to remove any device set for the protection of any tree, shrub or plant in any public highway or City park. Any person desiring for any lawful purpose to cut, prune or trim any tree in any public highway shall apply to the Commissioner of Public Works, and if in the judgment of said Commissioner the desired cutting, pruning or trimming shall appear necessary and the proposed method and workmanship thereof be such as said Commissioner approves, the Commissioner of Public Works shall thereupon issue a written permit for such work.
It shall be unlawful to kill or remove, or cause, authorize or procure the death or removal of, any tree planted or growing in any public street, or any tree or shrub planted or growing in any City park or public place, without first making application to the Commissioner of Public Works and obtaining a written permit therefor.
The following trees only may be used for street tree planting: red oak, Oriental sycamore, European linden, maidenhair tree, Norway maple, pin oak and scarlet oak. The Commissioner of Public Works may from time to time add to or eliminate from the above list, in his discretion.
It shall be unlawful for any person to cause, authorize or procure any brine water, oil, 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 in any public highway or City park or onto a sidewalk, road or pavement therein at a point whence such substance may in any manner whatever injure such tree.
It shall be unlawful, except with the written permit of the Commissioner of Public Works, to place or maintain upon the ground in any public street or City park any stone, cement or other material or substance in such manner as may obstruct the free access of air and water to the roots of any tree in any such street or park. Unless otherwise provided for in such written permit as above provided for, there must be maintained about the base of the trunk of each shade tree in the public streets and City parks at least six square feet of open ground for a tree of three inches in diameter, and for every two inches of increase of such diameter, there must be an increase of at least one square foot of open ground. However, no violation of this section shall be deemed to exist until 30 days after a specific written notice shall have been served by the Commissioner of Public Works.
No permit for planting trees shall be given where the clear space between the curb and sidewalk is less than two feet; neither shall a permit be given where the soil is too poor to ensure the growth of the tree, unless the applicant or owner agrees to excavate a suitable hole of not less than 36 cubic feet and to replace the material removed with suitable good loam.
Trees shall be planted at least 30 feet apart except where special permit is obtained from the Commissioner of Public Works.
No tree shall be planted measuring less than two inches in diameter of trunk one foot above ground. The trunk of each tree shall be without branches not less than seven nor more than 9 1/2 feet from the ground.
It shall be unlawful to interfere or cause or authorize any interference with the Commissioner of Public Works or any of his employees, agents or servants while they are engaged in and about the planting, cultivating, pruning, spraying or removing of any tree in any public street or City park, or in the removing of any device attached to said tree as may be necessary for the protection and care of any such tree in accordance with the requirements set forth under this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person to cause or authorize a wire or other conductor charged with electricity to come into contact with any tree in a public street or City park in such manner as may injure or destroy such tree, or to locate, place or maintain any pole or post in such manner as to interfere with any tree or shrub growing upon any public street, park or public place.
It shall be unlawful to attach or keep attached to any tree in any public street or City park or to any guard or stake intended for the protection of such tree, any rope, wire or sign or any other device which may injure the tree in any manner or detract from the usefulness of the guard or stake.
In case of improvements to any premises in front of which there are shade trees, the owner and contractor making such improvements shall protect the trunks of said trees to the height of five feet with boards before such work is commenced, all to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Public Works.
It shall be unlawful to tie any animal to any tree in any public street or City park or to allow such animal to injure any tree.
It shall be the duty of the Police Department and the Commissioner of Public Works to see that the provisions of this chapter are enforced and obeyed.
Any work done under any written permit issued by the Commissioner of Public Works must be performed in strict compliance with the terms thereof.
[Added 12-22-1965, approved 12-23-1965]
It shall be unlawful to permit or allow to remain in the City of Mount Vernon any tree, shrub or bush or part thereof which is infested with fungi, caterpillars, insects, worms, maggots, parasites, larvae or grub of lepidopterous insects or other creeping segmented animals which cause destruction of or damage to trees, shrubs or bushes and spread by passing to other trees, shrubs or bushes, thereby causing destruction of or damage to property of others and becoming a public nuisance.
The Commissioner of Public Works shall have full power and authority to require the owner of any tree in violation of Subsection A hereof to take down said tree and remove the same. Upon notification by the Commissioner as provided in Subsection C hereof, it shall be the duty of the owner of any such infested tree, shrub or bush in the City to destroy all such fungi, caterpillars, insects, worms, maggots, parasites, larvae or grub of lepidopterous insects or other creeping segmented animals which infest any tree, shrub or bush or part thereof on such land or to destroy the infested tree, shrub or bush or part thereof.
Removal by City; lien for costs.
[Amended 1-25-1967, approved 1-26-1967; 4-12-1967, approved 4-13-1967]
In case the owner of any such tree, shrub or bush shall fail to remove the same within 15 days after written notice so to do has been served upon him either personally or by delivering the same at his last known place of residence, or, if he be a nonresident, by mailing the same to him at his last known place of residence, or, if the name of the owner or his place of residence cannot be ascertained after due diligence, by posting the same in a conspicuous place upon the premises where the tree, shrub or bush is found, the Commissioner of Public Works shall have said tree, shrub or bush removed and destroyed.
The Commissioner of Public Works shall, upon the completion of the work of such removal and destruction, send to the owner of the property upon which said work has been done whose name appears on the last assessment roll, a bill for the value of the work done if the Department of Public Works does such work. In the event that the Department of Public Works hires a private concern to do such work, a bill for the actual amount charged by the private concern for the work shall be sent to such owner. Such bill shall be sent by registered or certified mail with return receipt requested, which bill shall be paid by such owner to the Comptroller.
In the event such bill is not paid by the owner within 15 days after receipt by the owner, the Commissioner of Public Works shall, with respect to each separately owned parcel of property where such work has been done, certify such expense to the City Council of the City of Mount Vernon. Such amount shall thereupon be chargeable and become a lien upon such parcel of property and shall be levied, collected and enforced in the same manner, by the same proceedings and under the same penalties as an assessment for a public improvement. In all cases where the Commissioner of Public Works certifies expenses to the City Council pursuant to the foregoing provision of this section, he shall simultaneously transmit to the Comptroller a duplicate original of such certification, and the Comptroller shall upon receipt thereof forthwith docket the amount of such expense in the tax rolls against the real property affected, with a notation "Assessment pending pursuant to § 252-13C of Chapter 252 of the Code of the City of Mount Vernon."