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Chapter 197. Trees
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Incorporated Village of Bellerose 12-15-2014 by L.L. No. 2-2014.Amendments noted where applicable.]
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 65.
Hedges and bushes — See Ch. 124.
Bambo — See Ch. 165, Art. IX.
 Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 197, Trees and Plants, adopted 6-28-1999 by L.L. No. 1-1999.
§ 197-1. Legislative intent.
The Board of Trustees of the Incorporated Village of Bellerose has determined that it is in the interest of the citizens of the Incorporated Village of Bellerose to promote and protect their health, safety and welfare by adopting tree regulations. The Board of Trustees recognizes the role that trees play in the Village's ecosystem and that they contribute to the quality of air, reduce noise and visual pollution, help to moderate climatic extremes and conserve energy, and the Board further recognizes the role trees play in enhancing property values and the general quality of life in the Village. In order to establish a responsible program for planting, maintenance, husbandry, or removal of trees or shrubs in the Village, the Board of Trustees finds it necessary to establish a Tree Board and to enact this chapter to provide an orderly framework to maximize the benefits afforded by trees within the Village.
Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PARK TREES
- Trees, shrubs, bushes and woody vegetation in public parks and places, and all areas owned by the Village, or to which the public has free access as a park.
- STREET TREES
- Trees on land lying between property lines on either side of all roads, boulevards, or right of ways within the Village.
§ 197-3. Care and jurisdiction in public places.
All trees, shrubs, plants, flowers and lawns in or upon the streets malls, public places and parks within the Village of Bellerose shall be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Board of Trustees.
§ 197-4. Creation and establishment of Village Tree Board.
There is hereby created and established a Village Tree Board for the Incorporated Village of Bellerose, which shall consist of five members, all residents of the Village, who shall be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Board of Trustees.
§ 197-5. Term of office.
The term of the five persons to be appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the Board of Trustees shall be three years except that the term of two of the members appointed to the first board shall be for only one year and the term of two of the members of the first board shall be for two years. In the event that a vacancy shall occur during the term of any member, his or her successor shall be appointed for the unexpired portion of the term.
§ 197-6. Compensation.
Members of the Tree Board shall serve without compensation.
§ 197-7. Duties and responsibilities.
It shall be the responsibility of the Tree Board to study, investigate, counsel and develop and/or update annually, and administer a written plan for the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal or disposition of trees and shrubs in parks, along streets and in other public areas. Such plan shall be presented annually to the Village Board of Trustees and upon its acceptance and approval will constitute the official comprehensive Village Tree Plan, as may be modified or supplemented by the Board of Trustees. The Tree Board, when requested by the Village Board of Trustees, shall consider, investigate, make findings and report upon any special matter or question coming within the scope of its work.
§ 197-8. Operation.
The Board shall choose its own officers, make its own rules and regulations and keep a journal of its proceedings.
§ 197-9. Street tree species to be planted.
The Tree Board, in consultation with a certified arborist, shall identify the various official street tree species for the Village of Bellerose. No species other than those included in this list may be planted as street trees without written permission of the Village Tree Board.
§ 197-10. Planting.
The spacing of street trees between one another, or between the curb and sidewalk, will be in accordance with recommendations from a certified arborist or certified landscape architect.
§ 197-11. Restrictions.
No vine or shrub shall be planted or maintained within a one-foot radius of any shade or ornamental tree or shrub planted in any street mall, public place or park.
§ 197-12. Utilities.
No street trees may be planted five lateral feet of any underground water line, sewer line, transmission line or other utility.
§ 197-13. Public tree care.
The Village shall have the exclusive responsibility and right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within the lines of all roads, boulevards, rights-of-way and public grounds, as may be necessary to insure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of public spaces. Upon recommendation of the Tree Board, the Village may remove any tree or part thereof which is in an unsafe condition or which by reason of its nature is injurious to sewers, electric power lines, gas lines, water lines, other public improvements, or private property, or which is affected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest. This section does not prohibit the planting of street trees by adjacent property owners providing that the selection and location of said trees are first approved by the Tree Board or Board of Trustees.
§ 197-14. Mutilation.
No person shall cut, deface, mutilate or in any way misuse any tree, shrub, plant, flower or lawn in or upon the street malls, public places or parks within the Incorporated Village of Bellerose, nor shall any vehicle, structure, person or animal be permitted to stand or traverse in such manner or position where it may damage, deface or mutilate the same. No building material, debris, fixture, instrument, implement, hanging basket, recreational or other device of any kind shall be piled, placed or attached against or to any tree or shrub or cause any injury to any plant, flower or lawn upon the street malls, public places and parks.
§ 197-15. Pruning; corner clearance.
Every owner of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the Village shall prune the branches so that such branches shall not obstruct the light from any street lamp or obstruct the view of any street intersection and so that there shall be a clear space of eight feet above the surface of the street and sidewalk. Said owners shall remove all their dead, diseased or dangerous trees, or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public. The Village shall have the right to prune that portion of any tree or shrub on private property that interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a street light, interferes with visibility of any traffic control device or sign or pedestrian movement, or constitutes a menace to the safety of the public, provided that the Village first gives 30 days' written notice to the property owner of the Village's intention to prune that portion of the privately owned tree or shrub.
§ 197-16. Dead or diseased tree removal on private property.
The Village shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead, diseased or dangerous trees on private property within the Village, when such trees constitute a hazard to life and property, or harbor insects or disease which constitutes a potential threat to other trees. The Village shall notify in writing the owners of such trees. Removal shall be done by said owners at their own expense within 30 days after the date of delivery of notice. In the event of failure of owners to comply with such provisions, the Village shall have the authority to remove such trees and assess the cost of removal upon the owner's next property tax statement.
§ 197-17. Removal of stumps.
All stumps of street and park trees shall be removed below the surface of the ground so that the top of the stump shall not project above the surface of the ground.
§ 197-18. Interference with Village Tree Board.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the Village Tree Board, or any of its agents, while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying, or removing of any street trees, park trees, or trees on private property, as authorized under the Village Code.
§ 197-19. Arborists' license and bond.
It shall be unlawful for any person or firm to engage in the business or occupation of planting, pruning, treating, or removing street or park trees within the Village on public or private property, without first procuring a license from the Village. The license fee shall be established by the Board of Trustees; however, no license shall be required of any public service company or Village employee doing such work in the pursuit of their public service requirements. Before any license shall be issued, each applicant shall first file evidence of public liability insurance insuring against bodily injury and property damage in the minimum amounts as shall be established by Resolution of the Board of Trustees from time to time.
§ 197-20. Review by Board of Trustees.
The Board of Trustees shall have the right to review the conduct, acts and decisions of the Village Tree Board. Any person may appeal any ruling or order of the Village Tree Board to the Board of Trustees.
§ 197-21. Penalties for offenses.
Any person violating any provision of this law, except for the willful removal of a street or park tree, upon conviction or a plea of guilty, shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000 for each offense, with indemnification for tree loss or replacement for any willful defacement or damage to a street or park tree. Any person willfully removing a street or park tree in violation of this law, upon conviction or a plea of guilty, shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $3,000 for such offense, with indemnification for tree loss or replacement.