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Tree Ordinance

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Acces the entire Municipal Code here.

Chapter 22 VEGETATION*
*Cross reference(s)--Buildings and building regulations, ch. 6; environment, ch. 9; streets, sidewalks and other public places, ch. 16; subdivisions, ch. 17; zoning, ch. 23.

ARTICLE I. IN GENERAL
Sec. 22-1. Purpose, intent and applicability of chapter.

(a) The purpose and intent of this chapter is to promote the health, safety and public welfare of the inhabitants of the city, and consistent with forestry policy and practice for urban areas promulgated by the state division of forestry, to provide a mechanism for the management of trees and other woody vegetation within the city. This chapter is based on the premise that trees are a part of our heritage and our future, and that they are an essential part of the quality of life within our city.

(b) The standards of this chapter are hereby established in order to create greater human comfort by providing shade; to cool the air and otherwise temper the effects of summer heat; to restore oxygen to the atmosphere; to reduce glare and noise levels; to promote clean air quality by increasing dust filtration; to improve surface drainage and minimize flooding; to ensure that activities in one area do not adversely affect activities within adjacent areas; to emphasize the importance of trees as a visual screen; to beautify and enhance improved and undeveloped land; to maintain the ambiance of the city; and to ensure that tree removal does not reduce property values, all of which aid in protecting the health, safety and general welfare of the city. 

(c) The policy of the city with respect to trees as contained in this section, and which is expected to be furthered by the provisions of this chapter, is deemed of significant importance; and, in considering applications relative to development of properties, the various boards and commissions of the city shall take such policy into consideration in all instances.
(Code 1986, § 23-1)

Sec. 22-2. Definitions
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Crownspread means the distance from the ends of the branches on one side of the tree, through the trunk, to the ends of the branches on the outermost branches on the other side.

Diameter breast height (DBH) means the trunk diameter measured at four feet from ground level.

Front yard means a yard extending across the front of a lot between the side lot lines and being the minimum allowed horizontal distance between the street and the front building line. On corner lots or double frontage lots, the yards adjacent to both streets are front yards.

Germantown heritage tree means any tree of significant age, size or history which constitutes a unique asset to the community and which, upon application by the owner, is designated by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen as a Germantown heritage tree.

Large trees means trees which mature at heights greater than 50 feet.

Line clearance means the removal of limbs and branches growing within a set distance from electrical distributor lines.

Medium trees means trees which will mature at a height of 25 to 50 feet.

Official city tree means the Quercus Phellos, Willow Oak.

Private tree means a tree growing in an area that is not owned by a governmental entity.

Pruning means the removal of branches according to the National Arborists’ Association Pruning Standards.

Public tree means a tree growing on land owned by a unit of government (federal, state, county, city or any agency thereof).

Small trees means tees which will mature at a height of less than 25 feet.

Tree means a woody plant with a single trunk or multiple trunk capable of growing to a height of 15 feet or more.
(Code 1986, § 23-2)
Cross reference(s)--Definitions generally, § 1-2.

Sec. 22-3. Scope of chapter.
(a) All the provisions of this chapter shall be applicable to new commercial and residential development projects for which development approval is sought from the city subsequent to the effective date of Ordinance No. 1992-16.

(b) The provisions of section 22-86 shall be applicable to all properties within the city on the effective date of Ordinance No. 1992-16.
(Code 1986, § 23-3)

Sec. 22-4. Referenced standards.
The standards and regulations contained in the city zoning ordinances, the Germantown Design Review Manual and ordinances relating to the same, and those Standards of the National Arborists’ Association for Pruning, Tree Protection and Tree Planting that are in effect on July 1, 1998, which are hereby adopted by reference, are an integral part of this chapter. Where provisions of this chapter conflict with a standard of the National Arborists’ Association, the Design Review Manual or other ordinances or regulations of the city, the most stringent provision shall be enforced. The provisions of this chapter are considered minimum requirements.
(Code 1986, § 23-4)

Secs. 22-5--22-25. Reserved.
ARTICLE II. TREE BOARD * AMENDED 2003-11 (ARBOR BOARD)
*Cross reference(s)--Boards and commissions, § 2-126 et seq.