[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Schenectady 3-7-1988 by Ord. No. 88-07A. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Parks and recreation — See Ch. 186.
It is for the best interests of the City of Schenectady and of the citizens and public thereof that a comprehensive plan for the planting, maintenance, removal and replacement of park and City street trees and trees which may overhang public streets within said City should be developed and established; and that this ordinance is adopted, therefore, for the purpose of developing and providing for such a plan and program and for the purpose of establishing rules and regulations relating to the planting, maintenance, removal and replacement of such trees.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The City of Schenectady, situated in the County of Schenectady, New York.
- Includes the legal owner of real property fronting on any street of the City and any lessee of such owner.
- Includes all public parks.
- Includes an individual, a firm, an association, a corporation, a copartnership and the lessees, trustees, receivers, agents, servants, heirs, assigns and employees of any such "person."
- PUBLIC STREETS or STREETS
- Includes all roads, streets, avenues, boulevards, alleys, parkways and public rights-of-way, or any portion thereof, located in the City.
- SUPERINTENDENT OF PARKS or SUPERINTENDENT
- The Park Superintendent of the City of Schenectady.
Wherever used in this chapter, the singular number includes the plural, and the plural includes the singular.
The Superintendent of Parks, or his duly authorized representative, shall be charged with the enforcement of this chapter.
A listing of suitable and desirable types and species of trees able to thrive in an urban setting. The list shall be compiled and kept up-to-date by the Environmental Conservation Commission through consulting with persons such as Cooperative Extensions, arborists, nurserymen and Cornell University. Said report shall be known as the "master tree list," shall be placed on file in the office of the City Clerk and shall, thereafter, be the official determination of the Superintendent. Revisions or changes in said master tree list may be made from time to time by the Superintendent of Parks. All trees hereafter planted in public lands or which may overhang the public streets of the City must be on the master tree list unless a written permit from the Superintendent of Parks shall have first been obtained to plant a tree not on said list.
The Superintendent of Parks shall have jurisdiction and control of the planting, setting out, location and placement of all trees in the public parks of the City and, with the approval of the City Engineer, in the public streets of the City and shall likewise have supervision, direction and control of the care, trimming, removal, relocation and replacement thereof.
It shall be unlawful and it is hereby prohibited for any person other than the Superintendent of Parks or his duly authorized agent or deputy to cut, trim, prune, spray, brace, plant, move, remove or replace any tree in any public street or public park within the City, or to cause the same to be done, unless and until a written permit to do so shall have been first obtained from the Superintendent of Parks. The applicant must obtain a permit, and the suggested worker must be approved by the Superintendent. The Superintendent of Parks may require the worker to follow street and park tree specifications, as updated by the Environmental Conservation Commission, as a term of the permit Any such permit may be declared void and a fine imposed by the Superintendent if its terms are violated.
No person other than an owner or public utility may do any act for which a permit is required under § 243-7 hereof, except a person whose principal business is tree surgery, trimming or maintenance and who, in the opinion of the Superintendent of Parks, is qualified for such business and who has obtained a permit to carry on such business in the City from the Superintendent of Parks. Permits issued pursuant to this section may be granted for a period of one year from the date of issuance.
Any person doing business as a public utility subject to the jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Commission of the State of New York and any constituted public agency authorized to provide and providing utility service shall be given a permit from the Superintendent, valid for one year from the date of issuance, permitting such person to trim, brace, remove or perform such other acts with respect to trees growing adjacent to the public streets of the City, or which grow upon private property to the extent that they encroach upon such public streets, as may be necessary to comply with the safety regulations of said Commission and as may be necessary to maintain the safe operation of its business.
It shall be unlawful for any person to break, injure, deface, mutilate, kill or destroy any tree or set fire or permit any fire to burn where such fire or the heat thereof will injure any portion of any tree in any public street or park in the City, nor shall any person place, apply, attach or keep attached to any such tree or to the guard or stake intended for the protection thereof any wire, rope (other than one used to support a young or broken tree), sign, paint or any other substance, structure, thing or device of any kind or nature whatsoever, without having first obtained a written permit from the Superintendent of Parks to do so.
The Superintendent of Parks may inspect any tree upon, or which overhangs, any City street to determine whether the same or any portion thereof is in such a condition as to constitute a hazard or impediment to the progress or vision of anyone traveling on such City street. Any tree or part thereof growing upon private property but overhanging or interfering with the use of any street that, in the opinion of the Superintendent of Parks, endangers the life, health, safety or property of the public shall be declared a public nuisance. If the owner of such private property does not correct or remove such nuisance within 10 days after receipt of written notice thereof from the Superintendent of Parks, the Superintendent of Parks shall cause the nuisance to be corrected or removed, and the cost shall be assessed to such owner.
This chapter shall be reviewed annually by the Environmental Conservation Commission and specific amendments and revisions recommended to the City Council as conditions and technology change.
In the case of emergencies, such as windstorms, ice storms or other disasters, the requirements of this chapter may be waived by the Superintendent of Parks during the emergency period so as not to hamper private or public work to restore order in the City.
Any person violating the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $500. In addition, any person who removes a tree in any public street or park without a written permit from the Superintendent of Parks, or who damages a tree such that it must be removed, is legally and financially responsible for replacement. The removed tree may be replaced with another of equal DBH (diameter breast height) or with two or more trees such that the sum of the DBH's of the replacement trees equals or exceeds that of the removed tree. The Superintendent of Parks will designate the location of the replacement tree or trees, not necessarily in the same location as the removed tree.
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Superintendent of Parks may make a written request to the Environmental Conservation Commission for a hearing on whether or not the decision of the Superintendent of Parks is in accordance with this chapter.