Town of North Hempstead Adopts Tree Removal Policy
The Town of North Hempstead Town Board voted unanimously on June 17, 2008 to adopt a policy requiring public notice for the removal of any tree in a public right of way, park, or other Town owned property. The policy, introduced by Councilman Fred L. Pollack, requires that notice be posted on the subject tree, allows the public to call 311 to voice its concern, and allows for an independent arborist to be consulted regarding the health of the tree and any possible alternatives to removal.
Councilman Pollack said that the policy is the successful culmination of his three and a half year effort to pass such legislation. “This policy will give the public a voice in the decision making process and will allow for well informed evaluations of whether these trees should be removed,” he said.
A copy of the adopted policy is below:
Town of North Hempstead Tree Removal Policy
A) When the Superintendent of Highways, the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, or the Commissioner of Administrative Services intends to have a Town tree cut down from a public right of way, park or other Town owned property, the following steps shall be taken:
1) A notice of intent to remove such tree shall be posted on the tree for a period of not less than five (5) business days;
2) Simultaneously with the posting of such notice, notice by e-mail shall be given to the Supervisor, the Council Member in whose district the tree is located and 311;
3) The notice posted on the tree shall include the statement that any resident who would like to object to the removal of the tree shall call 311 on or before a date certain;
4) 311 shall immediately notify both the Supervisor and the appropriate Council Member when an objection is received, including the name, address, telephone number and e-mail address of each such resident calling to object;
5) Either the Supervisor or the Council Member may request that an independent arborist be retained to inspect the tree and make recommendations as to whether the tree must be removed or, in the alternative, can be safely left as is, or whether other precautionary steps can be taken that will allow the tree to remain;
6) If a report is requested by either the Supervisor or Council Member, no action shall be taken until such report is provided to both and the Supervisor advises the Superintendent/Commissioner of the decision made;
7) The Town shall maintain a list of independent arborists qualified to make a report when one is requested. In no event shall such arborist be hired to cut down the tree;
8) If the public health, welfare or safety is immediately endangered, the tree may be removed without public notice. In such a case, the Supervisor and Council Member shall be notified in advance by e-mail or telephone. Whenever possible, photographs shall be taken prior to the tree being cut down and the condition of the tree shall be documented after it is cut down;
9) This policy shall become effective immediately upon it adoption by the Town Board.
NOTE: As defined by the Town Code, a tree is “Any living woody plant which is six inches or more in diameter at a height of 4 ½ feet above the base of the trunk, including its root system and the environment within the area defined by the outermost limits of its branches.”