Village of Northport, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Northport 10-15-1974 by L.L. No. 3-1974 (Ch. 78 of the 1966 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Overgrown trees and bushes — See Ch. 223, § 223-4C.
Political signs on trees — See Ch. 243, § 243-9.
Lawn, tree and hedge trimmings — See Ch. 252, § 252-9.
Trees, shrubs and grass plots — See Ch. 256, § 256-6.
Subdivision regulations — See Ch. A312.

§ 277-1 Findings and purpose.

Since it has been established that trees stabilize the soil and control water pollution by preventing soil erosion and flooding, absorb air pollution, provide us with oxygen, yield advantageous microclimatic effects, have an intrinsic aesthetic quality, provide a natural barrier to noise and provide a natural habitat for the wildlife in our area, and that the removal of trees deprives us of these benefits and disrupts fundamental ecological systems in which they are integrally involved, it is, therefore, the purpose of this chapter to prevent the loss of trees within the boundaries of the Village of Northport by controlling their indiscriminate destruction by regulating removal or destruction of trees prior to and during construction and during occupancy.

§ 277-2 Removal, destruction or alteration prohibited; exceptions.

[Amended 8-17-1999 by L.L. No. 12-1999; 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 3-2001]
It shall be unlawful for any person to remove, destroy or substantially alter the habitat of more than 10% of the trees on any parcel of real property within the Village of Northport or remove, destroy or substantially alter any designated tree or the habitat of any designated tree on any parcel of real property within the Village of Northport or remove, destroy or substantially alter any tree or designated tree or the habitat of any tree or designated tree from the bed of any street or highway within the Village of Northport, unless:
A. 
A permit is first obtained from the Director of Code Compliance;
B. 
The work is done as specified in an accepted and approved landscape plan as part of an approved subdivision plat, site plan or building permit for the real property in question;
C. 
The alteration of the tree, designated tree or habitat is in accordance with customarily accepted ornamental procedures as determined and approved by the Director of Code Compliance; or
D. 
The removal is of nursery stock from ground owned or rented by a legally established nursery in the course of its normal business.

§ 277-3 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms, phrases and words shall have the meanings ascribed herein:
CODE COMPLIANCE DIRECTOR
The Code Compliance Director or any duly appointed assistant, or the Deputy Code Compliance Director, or such other person charged by the Board of Trustees with the enforcement of village laws and ordinances.
DESIGNATED TREE
Any tree as defined in this chapter which has a diameter measured at breast height (4.5 feet up from the ground surface) of 16 inches or greater.
[Added 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 3-2001]
HABITAT
The natural growing characteristics of any tree which includes branch spread and distribution, branch height above the ground and root spread and distribution.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind, or agent thereof.
REAL PROPERTY
Includes all unimproved real property and improved real property within the Village of Northport not owned by the said village or by a public utility, governmental agency or other municipality or agency thereof.
STREET or HIGHWAY
The entire width of every public way or right-of-way when any part thereof is opened to or used by the public for vehicular or pedestrian traffic to the entire width thereof, or the entire width of every street or highway as shown on a legally approved subdivision map filed in the office of the Clerk of the County of Suffolk.
SUBSTANTIALLY ALTER
Any cutting, pruning, elevating or other alteration of the tree or the habitat of a tree which impairs or endangers the life or life processes of the tree or destroys its natural symmetry; and shall include but is not limited to heavy or unnecessary cutting of top branches (topping), cutting of major lower limbs (sever elevating) or drastic pruning, but not including customarily accepted ornamental procedures.
[Added 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 3-2001]
A. 
Any living woody plant, its root system and the habitat within the area defined by the outermost limits of its root system and branches, which is six inches in diameter at breast height (4.5 feet up from the ground surface or greater).
B. 
Minor forest vegetation of any size, such as dogwood, amelanchier and mountain laurel.

§ 277-4 Administration.

This chapter of the Village Code shall be administered by the Code Compliance Director.

§ 277-5 Permit required; application procedure.

A. 
If a person shall deem it necessary to remove, destroy or substantially alter the habitat of more than 10% of the live trees on any parcel of real property within the Village of Northport, or to remove, destroy or substantially alter the habitat of any designated tree on any parcel of real property within the Village of Northport, or to remove, destroy or substantially alter any live tree or designated tree in the bed of any street or highway in said village, and said person does not have an accepted and approved landscape plan or Planning Board approval and the alteration of habitat is not in accordance with customarily accepted ornamental procedures, then said person shall first make application for a permit to the Code Compliance Director to do so.
[Amended 8-17-1999 by L.L. No. 12-1999; 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 3-2001]
B. 
The application shall include but not be limited to the following:
(1) 
Name and address of the applicant.
(2) 
Purpose of proposed tree removal.
(3) 
Site of proposed tree removal.
(4) 
An attached plan of the area indicating the following:
(a) 
An outline of existing heavily wooded areas on the site showing the tree type and size range.
(b) 
Location and size of trees to be removed.
(c) 
Any additional information that the Code Compliance Director may deem necessary for evaluation of the application.
C. 
The decision by the Code Compliance Director will be based upon the following criteria:
(1) 
The condition of the trees in respect to disease and hazardousness.
(2) 
The necessity of the removal for the project in question.
(3) 
The effect of the removal on ecological systems.
(4) 
The character established at the proposed site of removal with respect to existing vegetation in the immediate vicinity and locale.
(5) 
Good horticultural and vegetation management practices.
(6) 
Whether or not the denial of the permit will result in unnecessary hardship or severe financial loss to the applicant.
D. 
Upon the submission of an application and other required information and approval by the Department, a permit will be granted.
E. 
Planning Board action which is deemed approval of tree removal.
[Added 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 3-2001]
(1) 
Where tree removal, including removal of a designated tree, is proposed in connection with any site plan or subdivision plat submitted or to be submitted to the Planning Board for approval, trees, including designated trees, shall be removed from the affected real property only in conjunction with an approved final subdivision plat or final site plan. The Planning Board shall apply the same criteria and procedures set forth herein for tree permits granted by the Code Compliance Director.
(2) 
Subdivision construction plans or site plans approved by the Planning Board showing trees, including designated trees, to be removed and trees to be preserved shall be deemed a tree removal permit for the removal of trees so determined.
(3) 
The Planning Board, in connection with any site plan or subdivision application, may require the replacement of trees, including designated trees, removed from the affected real property prior to site plan or subdivision application. The Planning Board may require that structures shown on the plans be moved or relocated in order to preserve trees, including designated trees, considered by the Planning Board to have particular value. The Planning Board may refer such subdivision construction plans or site plans to the Code Compliance Director and Village Engineer for his or her recommendation. The Planning Board may determine certain trees, including designated trees, to be preserved and specify means for their preservation.

§ 277-6 Replacement of trees in special circumstances.

The Code Compliance Director may require the planting of the same or agreed-upon alternate species of trees when the individual character of the tree(s) or the ecological setting requires special consideration as a condition for the issuance of a permit for tree removal. The location for the planting of the replacement trees shall be agreed upon prior to the issuance of the permit for removal.

§ 277-7 Removal of dangerous trees; summary powers.

[Amended 8-17-1999 by L.L. No. 12-1999]
A. 
Any tree or shrub growing on real property which is endangering or in any way may endanger the security or usefulness of a public sewer, public street or other public place, or which is diseased, is hereby declared to be a public nuisance, and the Code Compliance Director shall notify the property owner and any occupant by certified mail, return receipt requested, that a tree or shrub is a public nuisance and should be trimmed or removed, as the case may be. In the event the property owner or occupant fails to remove or trim such tree or shrub within 10 days after receipt of such notice, the Code Compliance Director may remove said tree, in which event the village may seek a penalty against the said landowner for the actual expenses of removing the said trees or shrubs.
B. 
No tree shall be removed from any street, highway or property owned or controlled by the Village of Northport without prior written approval of the Code Compliance Director. Such consent shall only be granted if the tree constitutes a hazard to property or the public, if its roots are causing substantial damage to curbing, gutters or sidewalks or if it interferes with the sanitary or storm sewer system or other public utilities.
[Added 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 3-2001]

§ 277-8 Emergency removals.

In case of emergency caused by a tree being in a hazardous or dangerous condition posing an immediate threat to person or property, any member of the Police Department, Fire Department or the Code Compliance Director may authorize the removal of such tree forthwith.

§ 277-9 Appeals.

Any decision made by the Code Compliance Director may be appealed to the Village Board of Trustees. Such appeal must be submitted in writing to the Village Clerk within 20 days of the date action was taken by the said Director, and shall briefly state the grounds for such appeal. The Village Clerk shall set the matter for hearing before the Board of Trustees no later than 30 days from the date of filing such appeal, and he shall notify the appellant and Code Compliance Director of such hearing date. Upon such hearing, the Board of Trustees may affirm, revise or modify the decision of the Code Compliance Director. Such decision of the Board of Trustees shall be subject to judicial review as otherwise provided by law.

§ 277-10 Decisions.

Any decision of the Code Compliance Director or the Village Board of Trustees pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be in writing and shall state the facts relevant to the issue. Such decision shall further state the facts on which the decision is based and the reason for said decision.

§ 277-11 Existing rights and remedies preserved.

Nothing herein contained shall abridge or alter any rights of action or remedies now or hereinafter existing, nor shall this chapter nor any provision thereof nor any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder be construed as estopping the People of the Village of Northport from exercising its right and fulfilling its obligations to protect the public health and welfare, nor shall any other statute, ordinance or local law be affected by this enactment.

§ 277-12 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter, or any rule, regulation or specification promulgated thereunder, shall be guilty of a violation.
B. 
Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this chapter, or the rules, regulations and specifications promulgated thereunder, shall be fined in an amount not more than $500, or imprisoned for a term not to exceed 15 days, or both such fine and imprisonment, for each tree that was removed in excess of those allowed to be removed pursuant to this chapter.
[Amended 8-17-1999 by L.L. No. 12-1999]