Township of Hanover, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Hanover 7-21-1992 by Ord. No. 92-11; amended in its entirety 4-28-2009 by Ord. No. 09-05.[1] Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Construction standards — See Ch. 67.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 159.
Zoning — See Ch. 185.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided that in the event of inconsistencies between this chapter and Ch. 159, Subdivision and Land Development, and Ch. 185, Zoning, the most demanding or restrictive ordinance or requirement shall be applied for the maximum protection of trees and landscaping.
A. 
It is the purpose of this chapter to promote and protect the public health, safety, and the general welfare by providing for the regulation of the planting, maintenance and removal of trees (existing, shade or street) within the Township.
B. 
Further, the Board of Supervisors desires to encourage the planting and maintenance of attractive and desirable shade trees along streets, sidewalks and pathways, and other planting easements for the benefit of present and future citizens of the Township.
A. 
Township Code authority. The Board of Supervisors shall perform all duties and may exercise all the powers inferred by the Second Class Township Code[1] as amended, its amendment and supplements.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 65101 et seq.
B. 
Custody and control of trees. The Board of Supervisors shall, in conformance with this chapter and/or with regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter, have custody and control over all shade trees and street trees in the Township, and the Board of Supervisors is authorized to order to be planted, or order to be removed, or order to be maintained all shade trees and street trees in the Township.
C. 
Power to make and enforce regulations. The Board of Supervisors may adopt such regulations (as necessary) to enforce this chapter for the care and protection on the shade trees and street trees. No such regulations shall be in force until it has been published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township.
D. 
Power to require tree preservation. The Board of Supervisors may, in conformance with this chapter and/or with the regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter, require owners of property to preserve existing tree(s), located in existing tree rows or woodlands.
E. 
Power to require removal of diseased trees. The Board of Supervisors may, in conformance with this chapter and/or with the regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter, require owners of property to cut and remove any tree(s) afflicted with disease which threatens to injure or destroy any shade tree or street tree in the Township.
F. 
Power to require tree replacement. The Board of Supervisors may, in conformance with this chapter and/or with the regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter, require owners of property to replace any shade trees or street trees heretofore removed by them, whether removed at the direction or with permission of the Board of Supervisors by plan approval or permit, or by way of a violation of this chapter and regulations adopted pursuant hereto.
G. 
The Board of Supervisors, or their designee, may perform all duties outlined in this ordinance.
The following terms shall have the meanings specified below:
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The Board of Supervisors of Hanover Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, or their duly appointed representatives.
EXISTING TREE
Any live deciduous tree with a trunk of four inches or more in diameter when measured at 4.5 feet above the ground and not otherwise classified and regulated as a shade tree or street tree in this chapter.
PERMIT
A permit in writing as issued by the Board of Supervisors pursuant to this chapter.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, firm, association or corporation.
SHADE TREE
Any deciduous tree as specified on a shade tree list, which is approved, from time to time, by resolution of the Board of Supervisors (or any tree which is otherwise approved by the Board of Supervisors) and is located within:
A. 
Any public street or highway right-of-way;
B. 
Any planting easement adjacent to a public street or highway;
C. 
Any public lands; or
D. 
Any designated:
(1) 
Tree planting or tree protection easement;
(2) 
Planting easement or strip;
(3) 
Landscaping easement or strip; or
(4) 
Landscaping buffer strip or area.
SHADE TREE LIST
A list of deciduous trees acceptable for planting within the Township as is listed in the Chapter 67, Construction Standards (as amended), and/or any additional list of deciduous trees which may be approved by the Board of Supervisors from time to time by resolution.
STREET TREE
Any shade tree located within the right-of-way of any public street or adjacent thereto in a planting easement or that part of any tree, shrub or other woody plant which extends within the right-of-way of any public street.
TOPPING (TOP)
The severe cutting back of limbs to stubs within the tree's crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Hanover, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.
TREE DRIPLINE
The line on the ground marking the horizontal limit of the branches of the tree.
TREE PROTECTION ZONE (TPZ)
An area around the trunk of a tree in which construction activity shall be restricted. The tree protection zone shall extend 20 feet from the center of the trunk of the tree, or the distance from the trunk to dripline, whichever is greater. Where there is a group of trees or woodland, the tree protection zone shall be the aggregate of the protection zones for the individual trees.
TREE ROW
A line of existing trees at least 100 feet in length containing at least four existing trees as located by the center of their trunks.
WOODLANDS
A parcel of land and/or portion of a lot that is covered with existing trees, as determined by the limit of their driplines, and meeting or exceeding the following areas and density of trees:
A. 
Twenty thousand square feet or more in areas in any geometric configuration; and
B. 
Containing one or more existing tree(s) per 1,000 square feet as located by the limit of its dripline.
A. 
Permit issuance. The Board of Supervisors shall issue or deny permit applications for any shade tree or street tree as required in this chapter.
B. 
Inspections. The Board of Supervisors shall monitor progress and perform compliance inspections to verify that the applicant is fulfilling their obligations under the permit.
C. 
Plan reviews. The Board of Supervisors may review preliminary plans or landscaping plans for subdivisions or land developments or site plans.
D. 
Coordination with subdivision and land development requirements.
(1) 
The Board of Supervisors may review plans for landscaping, exiting tree removal and protection, shade trees and street trees for subdivisions and land developments as described elsewhere in this chapter.
(2) 
During the construction of a subdivision or land development, the developer shall be obligated to the Township for the proper tree protection and/or completion of required tree installation in accordance with approved plans.
(3) 
Permits, as required by this chapter, are not necessary for tree removal or tree placement that is occurring in accordance with approved subdivision or land development plans.
A. 
Shade tree planting.
(1) 
Shade trees planted in any public street right-of-way, or in tree planting easements in the Township, shall comply with the Township's approved shade tree list and Chapter 67, Construction Standards, requirements as to size and species, unless otherwise approved as part of the plan approval. Every effort shall be made to locate trees so as not to interfere with the installation and maintenance of sidewalks, pathways, driveways and utilities.
(2) 
Planting. Planting of shade trees shall include digging a properly sized well for the root ball; proper soil preparation; installation of bagged and balled nursery quality stock; watering and placement of backfill; addition of nutrients and placement of mulch; stem wrapping, staking and tying.
B. 
Shade tree protection and permit requirements.
(1) 
Prohibited activities. It shall be unlawful for any reason, except in case of immediate necessity for protection of life or property, to top; break; climb with spurs on; injure in any manner; place any rope, guy wire, cable, signs, poster or other fixtures on; injure, misuse or remove any device placed to protect; fasten any animal, thing, or object to; or place any animal, thing or object so as to cause injury to, any shade tree.
(2) 
Permitted activities. The following activities may be permitted upon issuance of a permit in accordance with the permit procedures specified in this chapter:
(a) 
Removal. No shade tree shall be removed without a permit for such activity. The permit applicant must demonstrate a valid reason for the proposed tree removal. Any shade tree which is removed for any reason shall be replaced by the property owner at the expense of the property owner with a tree of type, size and shape that conforms to the specifications provided for in the Township approved shade tree list. The Board of Supervisors' approval of a subdivision or land development plan or a site plan showing removal of identified shade trees shall constitute permit approval for this work.
(b) 
Root system disturbance. No cutting or interference in any way with the main roots of any shade tree shall be allowed without a permit for such activity, the permit applicant must demonstrate a valid reason for the root disturbance, the Board of Supervisors' approval of a subdivision or land development or site plan showing this activity will constitute permit approval for this work.
(c) 
Protection of roots. No person shall, without first obtaining a permit, place or hereafter maintain any stone, concrete, or other substance which shall impede the passage of water and air to the roots of any shade tree. The permit applicant must demonstrate that he shall leave open space of ground surrounding the trunk of the tree, such space to be not less than four feet square or 3/4 the distance from the trunk to the dripline, whichever is greater. The Board of Supervisors' approval of a subdivision or land development or site plan showing this activity will constitute permit approval for this work.
(3) 
Application and permit procedure.
(a) 
Application. The application for any permit required in this chapter shall be made in writing accompanied by the permit fee to the Township upon forms furnished by the Township and such application shall specify the particular kind of work or operation that applicant desires to perform thereunder and shall state the exact location and species of any tree or trees affected.
(b) 
Permit. The Board of Supervisors shall review the application and issue or reject the permit, listing any conditions or special requirements or citing reasons for rejection. The Board of Supervisors shall issue the permit or reject the application within 30 days of receipt.
(c) 
Time of permit. Upon issuance of the permit, the permit shall be effective for 12 months.
(d) 
Revocation. The Board of Supervisors may revoke any permit issued pursuant to this chapter upon notice to the permittee for violation of the conditions of said permit or of this chapter.
(e) 
Permit fees. Fees for all permits issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be established by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
(4) 
No permit shall be needed for tree trimming that is necessary for the following purposes:
(a) 
To maintain required sight clearances along a public road or at an intersection.
(b) 
To maintain minimum clearances over roads or walkways and sidewalks.
(c) 
To provide pruning for proper tree maintenance.
C. 
Shade tree trimming.
(1) 
Minimum height. All shade trees shall be kept trimmed so that the minimum clearance height where they overhang any walkways and sidewalks shall be eight feet or road shall be 15 feet. However, the Board of Supervisors reserves the right to designate a higher clearance on certain roadways where heavy traffic or other special clearance requirements may exist.
(2) 
Failure to trim shade trees as required. In case the owner of such property shall neglect or refuse to trim a shade tree within 30 days of being notified in writing by the Board of Supervisors to do so, the Board of Supervisors may, after the expiration of the date specified in said notice, cause such trimming to be done at the expense of the owner. If the owner does not pay the bill for this work, the Township shall impose the entire cost of this work with the additional cost of collection as a lien upon the property. This lien shall be filed in the manner provided by law for the filing and collection of municipal liens.
D. 
Removal of diseased trees.
(1) 
Notice to remove. The Board of Supervisors, upon written notice, shall require owners of property to cut and remove shade trees afflicted with the Dutch Elm disease or other disease which threatens to destroy or injure shade trees in the Township. Furthermore, any shade tree which is removed for any reason shall be replaced by the property owner or at the expense of the property owner with a tree of type, size and shape that conforms to the specifications provided for in the Township approved shade tree list.
(2) 
Failure to remove. Upon failure to comply with such notice within 30 days of receipt, the Board of Supervisors may cause the work to be done at the expense of the owner.
(3) 
Collection of costs. If the owner does not pay the bill for this work, the Board of Supervisors shall impose the entire cost of this work with the additional cost of collection as a lien upon the property. This lien shall be filed in the manner provided by law for the filing and collection of municipal claims.
E. 
Retaining walls.
(1) 
When the original grade cannot be retained at the protection zone line, for a tree required to be saved, a retaining wall shall be constructed outside of the tree protection zone.
(2) 
The retaining wall shall be designed by a professional engineer.
(3) 
In addition, the following methods shall be used to ensure survival of the tree:
(a) 
Any severed roots as a result of excavation shall be trimmed so that their edges are smooth and are cut back to a lateral root if exposed.
(b) 
The wall may be constructed of large stones, brick, building tile, solid concrete blocks, poured in place reinforced concrete, precast reinforced concrete sections, or treated wood beams (not less than six inches by six inches); a means for drainage through the wall shall be provided so water will not accumulate on either side of the wall; weep holes shall be required with any wall.
(c) 
For reinforced concrete retaining walls a layer of clean stone (sized 3/4 inch to one inch) shall be backfilled for the first 12 inches behind the wall to aid in drainage, unless an alternate drainage system is approved by the Board of Supervisors.
F. 
Pruning requirements.
(1) 
All pruning cuts shall be made close to the trunk or parent limb but without cutting into the branch collar leaving a protruding stub, according to the National Arborist Association Standards.
(2) 
All pruning cuts must be made in such a way as to prevent bark from being torn from the tree and to facilitate rapid healing. Flush cuts are unacceptable.
(3) 
Fertilizer shall be broadcast in the soil surface in an area twice the size of the tree protection zone at the rates given in Subsection F(5) below. A minimum of 1,000 square feet per tree will receive fertilization.
(4) 
Fertilizer grade shall have approximately three parts nitrogen to one part phosphorous and potassium (3:1:1 ratio).
(5) 
Fertilizer shall be applied at a rate equivalent to one pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
G. 
(Reserved)
H. 
Trenching and tunneling.
(1) 
If there is no alternative but to locate a utility line through a shade tree TPZ, tunneling shall be used instead of trenching, except where in the opinion of the Board of Supervisors survival of the tree would not be affected by either method. The Board of Supervisors shall determine the most desirable location for the utility line.
(2) 
Trenches shall be filled as soon as possible and tamped lightly to avoid air spaces and over compaction.
A. 
General regulations. Shade trees shall be planted in all subdivisions and land developments including land abutting existing streets as required herein. The type and spacing of shade trees shall adhere to Chapter 159, Subdivision and Land Development, and Chapter 185, Zoning, and be subject to approval of the Board of Supervisors. Shade trees shall be planted by the subdivider or developer in accordance with the approved plan and within the time period specified by the improvements agreement or any extension thereof, approved by the Board of Supervisors. Failure to plant the trees shall be a default of the agreement and any security held to guarantee the agreement may be expended by the Board of Supervisors to plant the required trees in accordance with Chapter 159, Subdivision and Land Development.
B. 
Plan requirements. The subdivision and/or land development plan for any parcel of land containing existing trees, tree rows or woodlands that are proposed to be removed or protected shall be submitted to and may be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors. A preliminary plan or record plan for the proposed subdivision or land development shall show:
(1) 
The location of existing trees, tree rows and woodlands, as defined by this chapter and Chapter 159, Subdivision and Land Development.
(2) 
The location of all trees to be saved or removed, including their trunk and dripline locations. Driplines should be plotted accurately, to scale.
(3) 
The tree protection zone and proposed tree protection fencing or guards shall be shown on the plan. When groups of trees are to be saved, only the locations of the tree protection zone of the trees on the perimeter of the group must be shown.
(4) 
The location of proposed retaining walls around trees and related grading shall be shown.
(5) 
Construction details of all retaining walls shall be provided, including special soil and fill mediums where applicable. Any grade changes which would alter surface and/or subsurface water movement either to or from the tree protection zone must also be indicated.
(6) 
The proposed locations, sizes, species and method of planting for any replacement trees required because of proposed tree removal shall be shown.
C. 
Protection during construction.
(1) 
Before any tree removal, earthwork or construction work shall commence, in connection with any subdivision or land development, fencing or guards shall be placed around all exiting trees, shade trees or street trees to be protected. A forty-eight-inch-high wooden, plastic or other type of fence mounted on posts, located eight feet on center, shall be placed along the boundary of the tree protection zone, unless an alternate fence or guard system is detailed and approved by the Board of Supervisors, as part of the plan approval.
(2) 
When the fence or guard has been installed, it shall be inspected and approved by the Board of Supervisors prior to commencing clearing, earthmoving, or construction. The fencing or guard along the tree protection zone shall be maintained until all work/construction has been completed and any damages to protective fencing or guards shall be replaced and repaired before further construction shall commence; trees being removed shall not be felled, pushed or pulled into a tree protection zone or into trees that are to be retained.
D. 
Replacement requirements for trees removed. The subdivider or developer shall provide and install one shade tree for every existing tree or shade tree removed from the subdivider's or developer's land as required for the construction of the subdivision or development.
(1) 
If the removal of the existing tree or shade tree was shown on the approved plans as a tree to be removed and if the proposed replacement tree was shown on the approved plans, then in that event, the replacement of trees shall be governed by a one-tree-for-one-tree rule. That is, for each existing tree or shade tree approved for removal, the developer will provide and install one shade tree meeting the requirements for shade trees as described in Chapter 159, Subdivision and Land Development, Chapter 67, Construction Standards, and this chapter.
(2) 
If the removal of the existing tree or shade tree was not approved as part of the subdivision and land development plan approval and if the property owner does not possess a valid permit for such tree removal or valid notice authorizing such tree removal, then, in that event, the replacement of tree or trees shall be governed by a one-inch-of-tree-diameter-for-one-inch-of-tree-replacement rule. That is, for each inch of existing tree or shade tree diameter removed (as measured 4.5 feet above grade) in violation of this chapter or in violation of a plan approval, the developer or landowner shall provide and install shade trees with a total sum of diameters (as measured 4.5 feet above grade) equivalent to the diameter of the tree removed in error. In case of a dispute on the measurement of diameters, the Township Engineer shall make the final determination of replacement requirements. If the tree removed in error is not available for measurement and if its size was not previously identified, the diameter will be established as 24 inches. Tree replacements shall be provided in accordance with the standards and requirements for shade trees and street trees as described in Chapter 159, Subdivision and Land Development, Chapter 67, Construction Standards, and this chapter. Prior to this required tree planting, the owner or developer shall provide six copies of a tree planting plan to the Township for the Board of Supervisors' approval. This plan shall be in sufficient detail to show the Board of Supervisors the location, size, species, and method of planting for these replacement trees. These trees shall be located as follows:
(a) 
Shade tree locations for shade trees removed; or
(b) 
The owner's property or shade tree locations for existing trees removed; or
(c) 
With the Board of Supervisors' approval such replacement trees or a portion of these trees could be provided and installed on Township park land or Township-owned open space.
(3) 
These replacement trees shall be provided in addition to the requirements for landscaping and screening and shade trees and street trees as found in Chapter 185, Zoning, and Chapter 159, Subdivision and Land Development.
(4) 
These replacement trees shall be installed during the construction period of the developer's agreement with the Board of Supervisors or approved extension thereof.
A. 
Township ability to do work. Upon the failure of any owner to comply with an order of the Township, or Board of Supervisors, pursuant to this chapter, the Board of Supervisors may cause the work to be done and the Board of Supervisors may collect the cost thereof and the cost of collection from the owner of the property.
B. 
Cost shall be a lien on property. The cost of such work and the cost of collection shall be a lien upon the premises from the time of the commencement of work, which date and costs shall be certified to by the Township Engineer and filed with the Township Secretary-Treasurer.
C. 
Written notice of cost. Upon the filing of the Township Engineer's certification, the Township Secretary-Treasurer shall cause 30 days' written notice to be given to the person against whose property an assessment has been made, said notice to be given by certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice shall state the amount of the assessment and the time and place of payment and shall be accompanied by a copy of the certification of the Township Engineer.
D. 
Filing of municipal lien. The amount assessed against the real estate shall be a lien from the time of the filing of the certification with the Township, and if not paid within the time designated in the notice, a claim may be filed and collected by the Board of Supervisors in the same manner as municipal claims are filed and collected.
A. 
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding brought before a Magisterial District Judge under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $2,000, plus costs of prosecution. In default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days. Whenever such person shall have been notified by the Board of Supervisors or by service of summons in prosecution, or in any other way, that he or she is committing such violation, then after any such notification, any continuing violation shall constitute a separate offense punishable by like fine or penalty.
B. 
In the case of damage or destruction of a shade tree without approval of the Board of Supervisors, each tree damaged or destroyed shall constitute a separate violation of this chapter. Such fines or penalties shall be collected as prescribed by law.
C. 
Payment of a fine for a violation shall not relieve the owner of the requirement to replace shade trees as required by this chapter.