Ordinance # 096-2

Shade Tree


Shade Tree Ordinance

Be it Ordained and Enacted by the Borough of Bolivar, in Council assembled, and it is hereby ordained and enacted by authority of the same, that from and after the passage of this Ordinance

Section 1000 Purpose

Regulating the trimming of trees, shrubs and other vegetation, requiring a minimum clearance, prescribing notice to owners for proper trimming of trees, shrubs, and other vegetation, prescribing fines for violation thereof and repealing conflicting Ordinances. For the purpose of regulating of shade trees within streets/ easements to preserve the Borough's inherent community identity and to maintain the community aesthetics of tree lined streets.

Section 1001 Committee Created

There is hereby created a Committee to be known and designated as the "Bolivar Borough Shade Tree Committee"

Section 1002 Membership

Said Committee shall be composed of three residents of the Borough who shall be appointed by the Council, and shall serve without compensation. One member shall be appointed for a term of three years which shall be construed to expire and shall expire the first Monday of January 1999. One member shall be appointed for a term of four years which shall be construed to expire and shall expire in the first Monday of January 2000.

One member shall be appointed to a term of five years which shall be construed to expire and shall expire on the first Monday of January 2001. Each member so appointed shall continue to serve after the expiration of his / her term until his / her successor shall have been appointed. As the term of each member shall expire, a successor shall be appointed for a term of five years, which shall be construed to expire and shall expire on the first Monday of January five years after the date of such appointment.

Section 1003 Jurisdiction of Committee

The Committee shall have exclusive custody and control of shade trees in and upon the highways or easements of the Borough, and of trees whose continued existence shall be a menace to the public using such highways, and on all property of the Borough of Bolivar.

Section 1004 Appointees of the Committee

The Committee may appoint such necessary assistants as required with the prior approval of the Bolivar Borough Council to

A. Perform the duties devolving upon it , and

B. To make, publish, and enforce regulations for the care and protection of the shade trees of the Borough, other than those contained in this Ordinance, and for the removal of such as may be deemed a menace to the public use of its highways.

Section 1005 Duties and Responsibilities of Committee

It shall be the responsibility of the Committee to study, investigate, counsel, 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, easements and in other public areas. Such plans will be presented annually to the Borough Council and, upon its acceptance and approval, shall constitute the official Comprehensive Borough Tree Plan for the Borough of Bolivar, Pennsylvania. The Committee, when requested by the Borough Council, shall consider, investigate, make findings and report upon the and recommend any special matter or question coming within the scope of its work.

Section 1006 Administration of the Committee Quorum

The Committee shall choose its own officer, make its own rules and regulations and keep a journal of its proceedings. A majority of members shall be a quorum for the transaction of business.

Section 1007 Authorized Species of Street Trees

The official street tree species for Bolivar, Pennsylvania, shall be determined by the Committee based on recommendations from the regional urban forester or other qualified arborist.

Section 1008 Pruning Requirements

All shade trees shall be kept trimmed by the owners of the property on which they are located as follows:

A. So as to not interfere with the proper lighting or public highways by street lights

B. So that the minimum clearance of any overhanging portion upon any public highway or street or alleyway shall be ten (10) feet, provided that the Borough Engineer shall have the authority to designate a height clearance on any public way where heavy traffic or other conditions make it expedient.

C. All bushes or other vegetation other than shade trees shall be kept trimmed so as to not overhang onto a public thoroughfare or sidewalk so as to in any way obstruct the movement of vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

D. No owners of property shall permit to remain standing diseased trees, or parts of trees, shrubbery or other vegetation which would in any way endanger vehicular or pedestrian traffic on any sidewalk, street or alley opened to the public

E. The Borough shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it

1. interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a streetlight or

2. interferes with the visibility of any traffic control devise or sign.

F. The Borough shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased trees on private property within the Borough when such trees constitutes a hazard t o life and property or harbor insects or disease which constitute a potential threat to other trees with the Borough. The Bolivar Borough Shad Tree Committee will notify, in writing, the owners of such trees. Removal shall be done by said owners at their own expense within thirty (30 ) days after the date of service of notice. In the event of failure of the owners to comply with such provisions, the Borough shall have the authority to remove such trees and charge the cost of removal on the owner's property tax notice and / or lien on the property.

Section 1009 Pruning by Property Owner

It shall be unlawful for any person to do or cause to be done by others, either purposely, carelessly, or negligently, without written permission of the Bolivar Borough shade Tree Committee the following acts:

A. Cut, prune, break, injure, or remove any tree, shrub, or plant, or cut, disturb, or interfere in any way with any root of any tree, shrub, or plant on any public highway, park or public place.

B. Spray with any chemical or insecticide any such tree, shrub, or plant

C. Excavate within two (2) feet of any tree or shrub.

D. Use or operate any shovels, other implements, machines, and tools on any tree, shrub, or plant in such a manner as to damage or destroy said tree, shrub, or plant

E. Fasten any guy wire, insulator, sign, poster, or other device to such tree or shrub, or to any guard about such tree or shrub, or to remove or injure any guard or device placed to protect any tree or shrub.

Section 1010 Planting of Shade Trees

A. No shade tree or shrub shall be planted in any public highway, park, or public place until such tree or shrub shall have first been approved and the place where it is to be planted designated by the Shade Tree Committee and written permission granted therefore.

B. An open space of not less than two (2) feet outside the trunks of trees at their base on all side shall be maintained at all times on all trees planted after January 1, 1996.

Section 1012 Tree Topping

A. It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm or borough department to top any street tree, park tree or other tree on public property.

"Topping" is defined as the sever cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three (3) inches in diameter within the tree's own crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree.

B. 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 chapter at the determination of the Shade Tree Committee.

Section 1013 Cost of Planting or Removal of Trees to be Paid by Property Owner

In cases, the cost of planting, transplanting, or removing any shade tree in the highways or which are a menace to public use of such highways, the construction of guards, curbing or grading for the protection thereof, and the replacing of any pavement or sidewalk necessarily disturbed, shall be paid by the owner which cost as to each freeholder shall be ascertained by the Committee and certified to the Borough Council and to the Borough Treasurer.

Section 1014 Cost of Caring for Certain Trees to be Paid by the Borough of Bolivar

The cost and expense of caring for trees hereafter planted by said Committee on the public highways of the Borough shall be paid by the Borough, the necessary amount being certified by the Committee to Council each year and appropriated by it in like manner as other moneys for Borough purposes.

Section 1015 Violations and Penalties

A. Any person or persons disturbing, trimming or damaging trees in violation of the within Ordinance of the Borough of Bolivar without first securing written permission of the Committee shall, upon conviction

1. Be required to pay a penalty of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) nor more than three hundred dollars ($300.00)

2. Costs of prosecution, and

3. All costs of repairs expended in correcting the violation including, but not limited to engineering , legal, specialty consultants and / or laborers. 

B. In default of payment of the above, each person shall suffer imprisonment in the jail of the County of Westmoreland for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days.

Whereupon during a duly advertised meeting wherein a quorum was present, this Ordinance passed this 1st day of July 1996

J. Diane Robinson

Council President

Attest: Approved:

Vicki Mundorff


 Arthur W. Ssisitki


Original Ordinance on file in Vault