Chapter 151—Trees

151.01 Purpose
151.02 Definitions
151.03 Authority of City Generally
151.04 Trimming or Removal
151.05 Supervisory Authority of Street Superintendent
151.06 Planting Restrictions
151.07 Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice
151.08 Trees on Public Property
151.09 Trees on Private Property
151.10 Disposition of Wood Products
151.11 Enforcement

151.01 PURPOSE.

The purpose of this chapter is to beautify and preserve the appearance of the City by requiring street trees to be uniformly located and maintained. The primary responsibility for maintaining street trees is placed upon the abutting property owner or said owner’s agent, and the Street Superintendent shall supervise any extensive trimming or cutting of said trees.

151.02 DEFINITIONS.

For use in these chapters the following terms are defined:

  1. “City Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice” means the document containing the detailed performance standards and specifications to be used in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.
  2. “City property” means and includes the property owned by or leased to the City.
  3. “Contractor” means any person or business that receives compensation for the performance of work done.
  4. “Large tree” means woody vegetation usually growing with a single stem and a mature height over twenty-five (25) feet.
  5. “Maintain” or “maintenance,” when used in reference to trees, means and includes pruning, spraying, mulching, fertilizing, cultivating, supporting, treating for disease or injury or any other similar act which promotes the life, growth, health or beauty of trees.
  6. “Private tree” means any and all trees growing on private property.
  7. “Property owner” means a person owning private property in the City, as shown by the County Auditor’s Plat of Roland.
  8. “Public property” means any and all property located within the confines of the City and owned by the City or held in the name of the City by any of the departments, commissions, or agencies within the City Government.
  9. “Public tree” means any and all trees growing on the public property, including but not limited to street right-of-ways.
  10. “Right-of-way” means a parcel of land between the curb or the edge of the traveled portion of the street and the adjacent property line intended to be occupied for streets, sidewalks, utilities, planting and maintaining City street trees and other public purposes.
  11. “Shrubs” means woody vegetation usually growing with multiple stems and a height less then ten (10) feet.
  12. “Small tree” means woody vegetation usually growing with a single stem and a mature height of ten (10) feet to twenty-five (25) feet.
  13. “Topping” means heading, stubbing, rounding, tipping or “dehorning” which means the drastic removal of large branches, severely cutting back limbs to stubs larger than three (3) inches in diameter within the tree’s crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree.
  14. “Trees” means woody vegetation usually growing with a single stem and a height over ten (10) feet.
151.03 AUTHORITY OF CITY GENERALLY.

The City shall have jurisdiction over all trees and other planting on the streets, highways, alleys, right-of-ways and City grounds within the City in order to provide orderly tree trimming and removal, to protect the health of all trees from disease and to require trees and planting to be maintained in a manner not dangerous to public safety.

151.04 TRIMMING OR REMOVAL.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed so as to give or recognize any property or vested rights in and to any trees heretofore or hereafter planted on any street right-of-way in the City; the City expressly reserves and asserts its rights at any time to trim or remove or cause to be trimmed or removed any tree now or hereafter planted on any street right-of-way whenever the Street Superintendent deems such trimming or removal advisable for the purpose of street improvements, or to eliminate hazardous situations or for the needs of travel of traffic without compensation to the abutting property owners.

151.05 SUPERVISORY AUTHORITY OF STREET SUPERINTENDENT.

The Street Superintendent shall be responsible for the enforcement of provisions of this chapter and the supervision of all work by City employees or contractors in the trimming, removal, maintenance, or planting of trees and other plantings on the streets, highways, alleys, right-of-ways, and other City property. No person shall interfere or cause any person to interfere with any work being done under the provisions of this chapter by any employee of the City or by any person doing work for the City.

151.06 PLANTING RESTRICTIONS.

No tree shall be planted in any street right-of-way except in accordance with the following: No person shall plant a tree within the street right-of-way without first obtaining a permit therefor, which shall show the type of tree to be planted and the placement of the tree. The application form for such permit is available at City Hall. The application for a permit shall not be considered by the Street Superintendent unless and until the applicant has staked the exact location for the proposed street tree and has obtained permission to dig in such exact location from all concerned utilities. The approval of the permit shall be at the discretion of the Street Superintendent, taking into account the provisions of this chapter and the best interests of the community. The permit shall expire 30 days from date of issue. The tree planting must comply with the City Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice. There will be no fee for this permit.

151.07 ARBORICULTURAL SPECIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS OF PRACTICE.
  1. Establishment. There is hereby established an Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice document of and for the City. This document includes but is not limited to: (i) species of street trees allowed and banned; (ii) the spacing between street trees and distances from fixed objects; (iii) proximity of street trees to utility lines; and (iv) topping.
  2. Authority. The performance standards and specifications contained within the City Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice shall be considered a part of this chapter and made subject to all its provisions.
151.08 TREES ON PUBLIC PROPERTY.
  1. Permits. No person except the City or a person hired by the City shall plant or remove any tree on any street right-of-way without first filing an application and obtaining a permit from the City. The person receiving the permit shall abide by the Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice as adopted by the City. The City shall have the authority to require any permit holder to show adequate insurance coverage to cover potential damages that occur during the execution of the work. In the case of the property owner doing the work, proof of homeowner personal liability insurance may be required. If the property owner has hired another person or contractor to do the work, the contractor shall provide the City with a certificate of insurance. The certificates shall show the following minimum required limits of coverage of Commercial General Liability Insurance with limits of not less than $500,000 per occurrence and Worker’s Compensation Insurance coverage at statutory limits on any and all employees. A public utility shall also be required to obtain a permit to trim or remove any tree on any street or other public place. The work shall be limited to the actual necessities of the service of the company in the area specified on the permit. This work shall be done in accordance with the Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice as established for the City. The City may assign an inspector to supervise the provisions of the permit. The cost of the service shall be charged to the public utility. In the event severe weather has caused a tree to damage utility lines, the utility company or the City (or authorized agent) may trim or remove trees necessary to repair the damaged utility lines without first obtaining a permit. A permit should be obtained before any additional trimming not required for repair of the utility line is done.
  2. Planting.
    1. Tree Species. The City Council shall develop and maintain a list of desirable trees for planting in the street right-of-way as part of the City’s Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice. The City Council shall also establish and maintain a list of trees not suitable for planting.
    2. Spacing. In order to promote the healthy and vigorous growth of street trees, their spacing shall be in accordance with the City’s Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice.
    3. Utilities. In order to minimize obstructions and conflicts, the placement of street trees under, over, adjacent to or near utility lines shall be limited as specified in the City’s Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice.
    4. Distance from Curb and Sidewalk. In order to promote the healthy and vigorous growth of street trees, certain distances as specified in the City’s Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice from curbs, sidewalks, driveways, and intersections shall be maintained.
    5. Excavation and Construction. In order to promote and ensure the healthy and vigorous growth of street trees, any excavation, filling or construction occurring within an area specified in the City’s Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice of a street tree is prohibited unless a permit is obtained from the City.
    6. Storage. The depositing, placement, storage or maintenance of any stone, brick, sand, concrete or other material within the drip line of a tree which may impede the free passage of water, air or fertilizer to the roots of any street tree is prohibited without obtaining a permit.
  3. Maintenance. Due to the existence of City street trees, the resulting tree-lined streets provide both aesthetic and monetary value to the property owner; therefore, the primary care and maintenance of street trees shall be the responsibility of the adjacent homeowner. Persons shall maintain trees and plants in the street right-of-way on which their property abuts at the same standard of care imposed on persons growing trees and plants on private property. It shall be the duty of any person growing a tree or other plant on any street right-of-way abutting a street or public place:
    1. To keep all street trees and plantings extending over any street or alley trimmed up to a height of not less than fifteen (15) feet except that a height of not less than eight (8) feet shall be permitted over the sidewalk area, and also to keep said space clear of debris. If the abutting property owner fails to trim the trees, the City may serve notice on the abutting property owner requiring that such action be taken within five (5) days. If such action is not taken within that time, the City may perform the required action and assess the costs against the abutting property for collection in the same manner as a property tax.
    2. Not to plant any tree or other plant which would cause a public danger or a nuisance.
    3. To treat in an accepted manner or remove any tree or plant diseased or insect-ridden as to constitute a hazard to other trees or plants or to constitute a nuisance to the health, welfare and safety of the community.
  4. Removal. If, in the opinion of the City, removal of a street tree becomes necessary, the adjacent property shall be notified as specified in the City’s Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice. In the event the adjacent property requests the removal of a street tree or shrub the City does not consider the removal necessary, the property owner may appeal the Street Superintendent’s decision to the City Council as outlined in Section 151.11 of this chapter.
  5. Traffic Control. In the event the planting, maintenance, or removal of any tree requires equipment or material to be located on or fall onto the street, the permit holder shall provide for traffic control. All traffic control shall conform to the requirements and specifications of the current edition of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. In all cases, the disruption of smooth traffic flow shall be kept to a minimum. Additional warning devices or precautionary measures may be necessary to control pedestrian traffic.
  6. Protection. No person shall:
    1. Damage, cut, carve, nail, bolt or set fire to any street tree;
    2. Attach any rope, chain or wire cable to any street tree;
    3. Attach advertising posters or any other contrivance to any street tree; or
    4. Allow any harmful gaseous, liquid, chemical or solid substance to come in contact with any street tree.
  7. Tree Topping. It is unlawful as a normal practice for any person or City department to top any street tree, park tree or other tree on any street right-of-way. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical may be exempted from this section at the determination of the Street Superintendent.
151.09 TREES ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.
  1. Maintenance. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance and care of any tree located on any street right-of-way. Certain regulations apply to trees whose branches, limbs, roots or other parts extend into or over the street right-of-way. The property owner is responsible for ensuring private trees are trimmed to sufficient height to allow free passage of pedestrians and vehicular travel and so they will not obstruct or shade streetlights, traffic lights, signs or any traffic control devices or the view of any street intersection. Detailed information is contained in the City’s Arboricultural Specifications and Standards of Practice. Whenever the City is notified or becomes aware of a diseased or dead tree or broken or dead branch or limb in any private tree which is in imminent danger of falling and thereby injuring any individual or causing property damage to adjacent property, the Street Superintendent may declare the tree, branch or limb a hazard and a nuisance and order the property owner to remove the hazard within in 14 days. Notification shall be made by certified mail. If the property owner fails to remove the hazard, the Street Superintendent may cause the hazard to be removed. For purposes of removing the hazard, City crews or City agents shall be allowed on private property. Attempts should be made to notify the property owner before entering onto private property.
  2. Traffic Control. In the event the planting, maintenance, or removal of any private tree requires equipment or material to be located on or fall onto the street or street right-of-way, the homeowner or the homeowner’s agent shall provide for traffic control. All traffic control shall conform to the requirements and specifications of the current edition of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. In all cases the disruption of smooth traffic flow shall be kept to a minimum. Additional warning devices or precautionary measures may be necessary to control pedestrian traffic.
151.10 DISPOSITION OF WOOD PRODUCTS.

Upon recommendation by the Street Superintendent and approval by the City Council, the City Clerk shall be given the authority to entertain bids for the sale of wood byproducts to be disposed of by the City. Such byproducts may include saw-logs, veneer-logs, firewood and wood chips.

151.11 ENFORCEMENT.
  1. Appeals. A person may appeal the issuance or denial of a permit authorized by this chapter or an order of the Street Superintendent providing for the non-emergency removal of a tree or shrub pursuant to the following procedure: Within 10 days of receiving the decision from the Street Superintendent, a person may appeal the decision of the Street Superintendent to the City Council by filing a written notice of appeal with the City Clerk. The notice of appeal shall state the nature of the objection and request a hearing. The hearing shall be held before the City Council within 20 days after the notice of appeal was filed with the City Clerk. The City Council shall, within 10 days after hearing the appeal, issue a decision. The decision of the City Council shall constitute a final decision.
  2. Interference. No person shall hinder, prevent, delay, or otherwise interfere with the City or any assistants in the execution or enforcement of this chapter.
  3. Penalties. Any person violating or failing to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall be considered in violation, and provisions for the City to abate the nuisance shall be made as specified in Chapter 50 of this Code of Ordinances.