[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Holland 3-8-2000 by L.L. No. 1-2000. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to: protect and promote the public health, safety and general welfare by requiring the preservation and protection of trees on public and private property within the Town of Holland; prevent the unnecessary clearing, destruction and disturbance of trees on public and private property within the Town of Holland; establish minimum standards and criteria for the limitation of the removal of trees on public and private property within the Town of Holland; establish minimum standards and criteria to ensure the replacement of trees removed from public and private property within the Town of Holland; reduce flooding; reduce water pollution; reduce effects of wind and air turbulence; reduce visual pollution; reduce sound pollution; reduce soil erosion; reduce levels of carbon dioxide and return oxygen to atmosphere; increase groundwater supply; provide shade; provide habitat for wildlife; conserve and protect property values and otherwise facilitate the creation of a convenient, attractive and harmonious community; and generally preserve and safeguard the ecological, economic and aesthetic environment.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PARK TREES
- All trees located in parks and all other areas owned by the Town.
- STREET TREES
- All trees, shrubs, bushes and all woody vegetation on land located between property lines on either side of public streets, highways or rights-of-way within the Town.
- 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.
- Any woody perennial plant (deciduous or coniferous) usually having a single main stem, generally with few or no branches on its lower part.
The Town shall have the right to prune, treat, maintain and preserve any park trees as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of parks.
The owner of any tree overhanging any street or public right-of-way within the Town shall prune the branches of said tree to provide an unobstructed view of any street intersection. There, shall be a clear space of 13 feet above the street and eight feet above the sidewalk. Upon notice to remedy, the owner shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a danger and menace to the safety of the public. The Town 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 or interferes with the visibility of any traffic control device or sign.
No person or firm, except as established by this chapter, shall cut down or top any street tree, park tree or other tree, shrubs, bushes and woody vegetation on public property. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes or trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical may be topped by order of the Town.
The Town shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased trees on private property within the Town when such trees constitute a hazard to public life and property or harbor insects or disease which constitutes a potential threat to other trees within the Town on private property. The Town will notify in writing the owners of such trees. Removal shall be done by the owners at their expense within 60 days after the date of service of notice. In the event of failure to comply with the required removal, the Town is authorized to remove such trees and charge the cost of removal on the property tax notice of the owner.
Any person or firm is prohibited to prevent, delay, obstruct or interfere with the Town or any of its agents or employees while engaged in the maintenance or removal of any street trees, park trees or trees on private property as authorized by this chapter.
When tree removal is occasioned by any development or land use or change thereof requiring site or subdivision plan approval under the Zoning Law, a tree preservation plan shall be required to be filed with said application to the Town Board designee. The tree preservation plan shall set forth the type, size and location of trees to be cut down. No separate tree removal permit application shall be required.
The following factors are to be considered for tree preservation plan:
The extent to which the actual or intended use of the property in accordance with the regulations of the zoning district in which the property lies requires cutting down, killing or destroying trees following approval of a tree preservation plan and development/site plan.
Any unreasonable hardship to the applicant which will result from modification or denial of the requested permission.
The value of preserving any tree by reason of its location, size, age or some other outstanding quality, such as uniqueness, rarity or status as a landmark or species specimen, but not limited thereto.
The extent to which the area would be subject to increased water runoff and other environmental degradation due to removal of the tree(s).
The heightened environmental value of preserving tree cover in densely developed or densely populated areas.
The need for visual screening in transitional zones or relief from glare, commercial or industrial unsightliness or any other affront to the visual sense in any part of the Town.
The condition of the tree(s) with respect to disease and potential for creating hazardous conditions.
The proximity of the tree(s) to existing or proposed structures and utility appurtenances.
The environmental effect of the removal, destruction or killing of the tree(s).
The intention of the applicant to replant additional trees at the site.
Noncorrectable damage or obstruction to sewer services.
The Board shall have within 30 days from the date such request is submitted to the Town to approve or disapprove the request.
Any applicant aggrieved by a decision of the Town Board designee may, within 30 days of the date on which the decision was mailed to the applicant, appeal such decision to the Town Board. The appeal shall be in writing and shall include a copy of all papers filed with the Board designee and a copy of the decision of the Board designee. The appeal shall be filed when it is received by the Town Clerk. The Town Board shall act upon such appeal within 30 days after such notice of appeal is filed with the Town Clerk. In the event that the Town Board fails to act with respect to such appeal within 30 days after the appeal is filed with the Town Clerk, the application shall be deemed approved, and the applicant shall be entitled to the issuance of the permit required hereunder in accordance with the application.
When street or park trees are removed by the authority of the Town Board designee or by other Town officials, said trees should be replaced by the Town either:
Where a site or subdivision plan is required and where more than three trees are to be removed, the applicant must make provisions for new trees to be planted on the site as a mitigation measure. Such new plantings shall be subject to approval by the Town as applicable. A permanent certificate of occupancy shall not be issued until the plantings are made.
If any trees are unlawfully cut down, cleared, killed, girdled or otherwise destroyed by any person(s), firm(s), association(s) or corporation(s) in connection with or preparatory to any development, improvement or change of use or proposed rezoning for which a permit or permission is required by the Town, then, in addition to any other fine or penalty provided for in this chapter, or elsewhere, said person(s), firm(s), association(s) or corporation(s) shall not be granted such permit or permission by the Town unless and until a remedial tree planting plan for the subject premises is accepted and approved by the Town as part of the coordinated review process.
Pursuant to the provisions of § 169 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, the Town Board of the Town of Holland elects to exercise and enjoy, through its appropriate officers and employees, the powers and immunities prescribed and granted in §§ 164, 165 and 167 of the Agriculture and Markets Law with respect and in regard to the Dutch elm disease within the limits of said Town.
Every violation by any person, firm, association or corporation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed as to be an offense against this chapter, and upon conviction therefor, such person, firm, association or corporation shall be subject to a fine of not more than $350 for each and every offense and a civil penalty for the removal or destruction of any tree on private property or street or park tree equal to its value, not to exceed $350 per tree.
This chapter shall be administered as specified herein and enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer or other Board designee of the Town.