Chapter 12.25


12.25.010    Purpose.

12.25.020    Definitions.

12.25.030    Landscaping advisory board and terms of members.

12.25.040    Duties and responsibilities.

12.25.050    Operation.

12.25.060    Public tree care.

12.25.070    Review by city council.

12.25.080    Violations.

*Editor’s note – An ordinance adopted June 25, 1987, amended the code by the addition of Art. V, §§ 26-64 – 26-72. However, at the discretion of the editor, the provisions of § 26-72, which repealed § 26-13, have not been set out herein.

12.25.010 Purpose.

It is recognized that trees add a great deal to property values by providing shade, erosion control, and general beauty to the city, making the latter more appealing to visitors and more pleasant for the citizenry.

It is further recognized that landscaping on public property also adds to the general beauty and appeal of the city, thereby enhancing both tourism and the quality of life for the citizenry.

It is, therefore, the purpose of this chapter to set forth a policy which encourages the planting, nurturing, and proper maintenance of all trees on public property. Experience has shown that trees, under some circumstances, can be hazardous to public safety; hence, this chapter also provides for tree pruning or removal when conditions warrant. (Code 1985, § 26-64; Ord. 6-25-87; Ord. 2-10-99).

12.25.020 Definitions.

“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.

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

“Public landscaping” is hereby defined as all horticultural and other public planting area improvements installed and maintained on public property in accordance with the comprehensive landscape master plan, as amended. (Code 1985, § 26-65; Ord. 6-25-87; Ord. 2-10-99).

12.25.030 Landscaping advisory board and terms of members.

The city advisory landscaping board is hereby established and is charged with oversight of both “street” and “park” trees, as well as charged with advisory responsibilities to the horticultural operations of the city and the comprehensive landscape master plan.

It shall consist of five members, citizens, residents, and business owners of this city, with the director of public works, the city horticulturist, and director of parks and recreation as members ex officio. Members shall be appointed by council and of the initial members, three shall be appointed for a three-year term and two shall be appointed for a two-year term. Thereafter, all appointments shall be for a three-year term, and no member shall serve more than two consecutive terms.

Members shall serve without compensation. The board shall designate one of its members who shall serve as recording secretary for the board. (Code 1985, § 26-66; Ord. 2-10-99).

12.25.040 Duties and responsibilities.

The board shall:

(1) Serve to enhance the public participation in the beautification of the city through landscape improvements;

(2) Act as an advocate for both public and private landscaping, assisting in the coordination of both;

(3) Provide advisory oversight to the amendment and implementation of the comprehensive landscape master plan;

(4) Assist with the education of the public on matters of public landscaping through materials, public appearances and media exposure as appropriate;

(5) Act in an advisory and advocacy role to the city horticulturist, city manager and city council;

(6) Perform as required in SCC 12.25.060.

Upon approval of the goals, objectives and recommendations by the city council for the city of Staunton, the same shall constitute a part of the official city landscaping plan. (Code 1985, § 26-67; Ord. 6-25-87; Ord. 1-12-89; Ord. 2-10-99).

12.25.050 Operation.

The board shall choose its own officers, make its own rules and regulations, with the consent of the city manager, and keep a journal of its proceedings. A majority of the members shall be a quorum for the transaction of business. (Code 1985, § 26-68; Ord. 6-25-87).

12.25.060 Public tree care.

(1) The city, in consonance with the comprehensive landscape master plan, shall plant, prune, maintain and relocate trees, plants, and shrubs within the lines of all streets, alleys, avenues, lanes, squares, and public grounds, as may be appropriate to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds.

(2) Before the removal of any street tree or park tree, or any part thereof, by the city, or before the city issues an order directing said removal, the city shall advise the landscaping advisory board in writing of its intention and the reasons therefor. The landscaping advisory board shall have 30 days after receipt of such notice to make its recommendation to the city with respect thereto, suggesting, if possible, any alternative to the proposed removal. Such alternatives are advisory only, the decision to remove hereunder being at the discretion of the city, provided the provisions of subsection (3) of this section are met.

(3) The city shall not remove a street tree of significant size, or permit removal by others, unless notice of the intended removal or destruction is given. The notice shall consist of a durable and legible statement of the city’s intent, affixed to and easily visible on the tree for not less than five days immediately preceding the contemplated removal or destruction; and the notice shall state the reason for the intended removal or destruction of the tree and the person or persons to whom inquiries or protests thereon may be directed.

(4) In the event of an emergency situation, such as a fallen tree or some other condition or occurrence requiring an immediate removal or destruction of a tree along one of these public ways, the city may remove or destroy the tree without complying with the foregoing provisions of this section. “Emergency situation” shall include, but is not limited to, trees posing an immediate danger to public safety and trees causing stoppage of utility services such as water lines, sewer lines, electric or power lines, or other public or private improvements; all as determined by the director of public works for the city.

(5) When a tree is removed it shall be city policy to plant a replacement somewhere in the general area to include planting on private property, with the consent of the owner.

(6) This section does not prohibit the planting of “street trees” by home owners on public property in front of their lot, or by other citizens, providing that the selection and location of said trees is in accordance with the comprehensive landscape master plan and approval obtained from the landscaping advisory board, the city horticulturist, and the director of public works for the city. (Code 1985, § 26-69; Ord. 2-10-99).

12.25.070 Review by city council.

Any action, conduct or decision of the city landscaping board may be reviewed by the city council for the city of Staunton. Any person, firm or corporation aggrieved by such action, conduct or decision, may appeal therefrom in writing to the city council. Such appeal shall be filed with the city clerk within 30 days of such action, conduct or decision, and the filing of such appeal shall delay the implementation of such action, conduct or decision until the city council has heard the matter and made a final decision with respect thereto. In such cases, city council shall schedule a hearing upon such matter at either the next regularly scheduled meeting of city council following the receipt of such notice of appeal, or at the regularly scheduled meeting of council immediately following thereafter. The city clerk, upon receipt of such notice of appeal and further upon the matter being scheduled for hearing by the city council, shall notify in writing the city landscaping advisory board and the appellants of the time and date for such hearing. (Code 1985, § 26-70; Ord. 6-25-87; Ord. 2-10-99).

12.25.080 Violations.

(1) Except as otherwise specifically provided, any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter or shall fail to comply with any of the requirements thereof, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.

(2) The imposition of the penalty described in subsection (1) of this section shall not preclude the city attorney from instituting appropriate action to prevent unlawful violations or to restrain, correct or abate a violation. (Code 1985, § 26-71; Ord. 6-25-87).