CHAPTER XII. PARKS AND RECREATION, PUBLIC PROPERTYCHAPTER XII. PARKS AND RECREATION, PUBLIC PROPERTY\ARTICLE 7. TREE BOARD

(a)   “Street trees” are herein defined as trees, shrubs, bushes, and all other woody vegetation on land lying between property lines on either side of all streets, avenues, or ways within the City.

(b)   “Park trees” are herein defined as trees, shrubs, bushes and all other woody vegetation in public parks having individual names, and all areas owned by the City, or to which the public has free access as a park.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 1)

There is hereby created and established a City Tree Board for the City of Russell, Kansas, which shall consist of seven members, who are citizens and residents of this city, who shall be appointed annually by the mayor in January of each year, subject to the approval of the Governing Body.

(Ord. 1228, Sec. 2; Ord. 1614, Sec. 1; Ord. 1617, Sec. 2; Code 2017)

The term of the seven persons to be appointed by the mayor shall be three years. In the event that a vacancy shall occur during the term of any member, their successor shall be appointed for the unexpired portion of the term.

(Ord. 1228, Sec. 2; Ord. 1614, Sec. 1; Ord. 1617, Sec. 3)

Members of the Board shall serve without compensation.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 4)

It shall be the responsibility of the Board to study, investigate, counsel and develop and/or update annually and administer an organized plan for the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal or disposition of trees and shrubs in parks, along streets and in other public areas. The Board, when requested by the City Council, shall consider, investigate, make findings, report and recommend upon any special matter of question coming within the scope of its work.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 5)

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

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 6)

Street trees shall conform to the annual list approved by the Northwest Urban Forestry Council or by the Tree Board. A copy of the approved list will be available from City officials or Tree Board members.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 7)

The spacing of Street trees will be in accordance with the approved list of the Northwest Urban Forestry Council and no trees may be planted closer together than the following: Small trees, 30 feet; Medium trees, 40 feet; and Large trees, 50 feet; except in special plantings designed or approved by the Tree Board or Parks Superintendent.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 8)

The distance trees may be planted from curbs or curb lines and sidewalks will be in accordance with the three species size classed listed in Section 12-707:708 of this article, and no trees may be planted closer to any curb or sidewalk than the following: Small trees, 3 feet; Medium trees, 4 feet; and Large trees, 5 feet.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 9)

No Street tree shall be planted between a height of two and one-half feet and seven feet above the grades of the bottom of the curb of the intersecting streets, measured from the point of intersection of the center line of the streets, ninety feet in each direction along the center line of the streets. At the intersection of major arterial streets, the ninety foot distance shall be increased to one hundred twenty feet for each arterial leg of the intersection. Any deviation will have to be approved by the Tree Board or Park Superintendent.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 10)

No Street trees other than those current list of this article may be planted under or within 10 lateral feet of any overhead utility wire, or over or within 5 lateral feet of any underground water line, sewer line, transmission line or other utility.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 11)

The City shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within the lines of all streets, alleys, avenues, lanes, squares and public grounds as may be necessary to insure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds. The City Tree Board may remove or cause or order to be removed, 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, or other public improvements, or 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 is in accordance with Sections 12-707 through 12-711 of this article.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 12)

It shall be unlawful for any person, or firm to top any Street Tree, Park Tree, or other tree on public property. Topping is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree’s crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes, or species listed as Small Trees in the certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical may be exempted from this article.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 13)

Every owner of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the City 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 seven feet (7’) above the surface of the street or sidewalk. Said owners shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees, or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public. The City shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a street light, or interferes with visibility of any traffic control device or sign.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 14)

The City shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased trees on private property within the City, when such trees constitute a hazard to life and property, or harbor insects or disease which constitute a potential threat to other trees within the city. The City Tree Board will notify in writing the owners of such trees. Removal shall be done by said owners at their own expense within sixty days after the date of service of notice. In the event of failure of owners to comply with such provisions, the City shall have the authority to remove such trees and charge the cost of removal on the owners property tax notice.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 15)

It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the City Tree Board, or any of their agents, while engaging in and about the planting, cultivation, mulching, pruning, spraying, or removing of any Street Trees, Park Trees, or trees on private grounds, as authorized in this article.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 16)

It shall be unlawful for any person or firm to engage in the business or occupation of pruning, treating, planting or removing trees within the City without first applying for and procuring a license. Said license to be issued by the City Clerk upon proper application, payment of the annual fee and the filing of proof of insurance as provided herein. The license fee shall be $25 annually in advance; provided, however, that no license shall be required of any public service endeavors. Before any license shall be issued, each applicant shall first file evidence of possession of liability insurance in the minimum amounts of $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 property damage indemnifying the City of any person injured or damaged resulting from the pursuit of such endeavors as herein described.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 17)

The City Council shall have the right to review the conduct, acts and decisions of the City Tree Board. Any person may appeal from any ruling or order of the City Tree Board to the City Council, upon filing with the City Clerk a notice of appeal, who may hear the matter and make final decision.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 18)

Any person violating any provision of this article shall be, upon conviction or a plea of guilty, subject to a fine not to exceed $250.00.

(Ord. 1228; Ord. 1617, Sec. 19)