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  309 N 5th St
Norfolk, NE 68701
Phone: (402) 844-2000
 

Chapter 25

TREES AND SHRUBBERY*

*Editor's note--Section 1 of Ord. No. 3858, adopted on April 20, 1992, repealed Ch. 25, 25-1--25-4.  Section 2 of said ordinance enacted a new Ch. 25 in lieu thereof to read as herein set out.  Former Ch. 25, also relative to trees and shrubbery, derived from Ord. No. 3058, 1(39), adopted March 1, 1982; Ord. No. 3138, 1, adopted May 2, 1983 and Ord. No. 3439, 1, adopted Oct. 20, 1986.

 

Sec. 25-1. Duty of landowner; city aid.

 

(a) The owner, agent or occupant of any land abutting a street or alley shall keep the trees located upon their property or located upon a terrace immediately adjacent to their property or, where there is no terrace, upon the section of the street or alley or property dedicated as a right-of-way which is unimproved that is so abutting their property, trimmed, pruned and maintained in a healthy manner as to remove any hazard to life or property.

 

(b) The fire chief or his or her designee may order any person required to maintain property pursuant to this chapter to perform such maintenance as is required to abate interference with any public utility from any tree or shrub that is located on their property or the terrace, alley or dedicated right-of-way as described in section 25-1(a).

 

(c) In the case of a community disaster or emergency as declared by the mayor and city council, the city may aid the property owner in the removal, trimming and/or cleanup of trees and shrubs within the section of the street so abutting dedicated as a right-of-way.

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3858, 2, 4-20-92

 

Sec. 25-2. Acts declared nuisances; notice; abatement.

 

(a) It is hereby declared a nuisance for any person who is required pursuant to section 25-1(a) to maintain trees on any property to allow or permit to stand upon the property any dead tree or dead part of a tree, a stump or any diseased or damaged tree or any diseased or damaged part of a tree or any healthy tree or part of such tree which is a menace to public safety or which endangers any building or other property. Any such tree or part of a tree on private property, meeting the above criteria, may be declared to be a nuisance when a valid complaint is received about the same by the fire chief or his or her designee.

 

(b) It is hereby declared a nuisance for any person required to maintain trees pursuant to this chapter to permit limbs, branches or foliage of any tree or shrub upon property they are required to maintain to project into or extend over any sidewalk, street, lane or alley in such a manner that there is vertical clearance of less than eight (8) feet between the surface of a sidewalk and such limbs, branches or foliage and fourteen (14) feet between the surface of a street or alley and such limbs, branches or foliage.

 

(c) The fire chief or his or her designee shall notify the person or persons required to maintain property pursuant to this chapter of any nuisance as described in this chapter. The notice herein provided shall require the owner to abate such nuisance within thirty (30) days from the date thereof.

 

(d) The fire chief or his or her designee shall have the power and is hereby authorized and instructed, after the expiration of thirty (30) days from the date of notice sent by certified mail, to determine if compliance to abate a nuisance has been attained. If compliance has not been made, the city shall abate such nuisance by causing such trees or shrubs which are deemed to be a nuisance under this section, to be removed, pruned or spayed at the expense of the owner of the land where on the same stand or terrace abutting thereto. If the owner fails to reimburse the city after being billed, the cost of such abatement together with an administrative fee as set forth in Section 2-5 of this Code shall be levied, equalized and assessed as are other special assessments.

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3858, 2, 4-20-92; Ord. No. 5077, 1, 6-15-09; Ord. No. 5135, 16, 9-7-10

 

Sec. 25-3. Acts declared unlawful.

 

It is hereby declared unlawful:

 

(1) To permit any tree, bush or shrub or any portion thereof or any debris resulting from its removal to remain upon or in any street, alley or other public property later than one (1) hour before sunset without placing sufficient lighted barricades to properly warn all users of such street, alley or other public property.

 

(2) To leave, remain or to abandon a felled tree or any portion thereof or any cut shrub or bush or any portion thereof, upon, across or in any public or private property of others. All such obstruction, together with all debris resulting from such cutting, shall forthwith be removed and the premises made broom clean of all rubbish resulting from such operation without delay or interruption.

 

(3) For any person to plant any tree closer than five (5) feet to the back of the curb of any street.

 

(4) To plant or maintain shrubs or vegetation, other than trees, that exceed three (3) feet in height on that area of a property between the property line and street known as the terrace.

 

(5) To plant evergreen trees on that area of property between the property line and street known as the terrace.

 

(6) As a normal practice for any person, or firm, to top any tree on public property. Topping is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three (3) inches in diameter within the trees crown to such a degree to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. 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 ordinance at the determination of the fire chief or his or her designee.

 

(7) To plant a tree or shrub closer than ten (10) feet to any fire hydrant or to maintain any tree or shrub in a manner contrary to section 8-4 of this code.

 

(8) To plant a tree other than a small species of tree having a mature height of fifteen (15) feet or less within ten (10) lateral feet of any overhead utility wire.

 

(9) For any person required to maintain trees or shrubs on property pursuant to this chapter or to allow any limbs, branches or foliage to interfere with the necessary visibility of any traffic control device. The city may, without prior notice, remove or trim any limbs, branches or foliage interfering with the visibility of a traffic control device.

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3858, 2, 4-20-92

 

Sec. 25-4. Sight triangle.

 

On corner lots, vegetation, trees or shrubs shall be planted so as to be in compliance with section 27-290 of this Code. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3858, 2, 4-20-92; Ord. No. 4212, 1, 10-7-96; Ord. No. 5077, 2, 6-15-09

 

Sec. 25-5. Terrace defined.

 

As used in this chapter, terrace shall mean that area between the property line, and the curb line or, if there is not curb line, the outer edge of the traveled portion of the roadway.

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3858, 2, 4-20-92

 

Sec. 25-6. Enforcement of article.

 

It shall be the duty of the fire chief or his or her designee to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

 

Source:  Ord. No. 3858, 2, 4-20-92

 

Sec. 25-7.  Tree advisory board - Established.

 

There is hereby established a tree advisory board, which board shall have nine (9) members.  At least seven of the nine members of the board shall be residents of the city; provided, however, no member of the city council shall be a member of such board. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 5077, 3, 6-15-09; Ord. No. 5201, 1, 2-21-12; Ord. No. 5452, 1, 2-6-17;

 

Sec. 25-8.  Same - Appointment; terms; compensation.

 

(a)   The members of the tree advisory board shall be appointed by the mayor with the approval of the city council.

 

(b)   The term of each regular member shall be three years, except that the initial advisory board to be so appointed shall consist of members serving the following terms:  One member for a term of one year, two members for a term of two years and two members for a term of three years.  All members shall hold office until their successors are appointed.

 

(c)   In the case of a vacancy, the mayor shall appoint a replacement, with approval of the city council, for the unexpired term.

 

(d)   No member of the tree advisory board shall receive pay or compensation for his or her services as a member of the board. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 5077, 3, 6-15-09

 

Sec. 25-9.  Same - Delegated responsibilities

 

The tree advisory board shall work with the park superintendent, risk manager, city administrator, mayor and city council in an advisory capacity.  The tree advisory board's specific responsibilities may include but not be limited to the following:

 

(1)       To coordinate educational events, set up Arbor Day programs, and arrange for school classroom talks about the benefits of trees;

 

(2)       To set up pruning demonstrations in the public parks;

 

(3)       Submit tree-related articles to the newspaper or various newsletters;

 

(4)       Assist with public information handouts and arrange for informational booths at area events for dissemination of information to promote community awareness;

 

(5)       Assist in finding and applying for tree planting or landscaping grants;

 

(6)       Offer input and/or make recommendations for tree planting and landscaping projects in the city;

 

(7)       Serve as advocates for tree planting and maintenance projects;

 

(8)       Assist in supplying volunteers for tree and shrub planting projects;

 

(9)       Assist the city in applying for Tree City USA status; and

 

(10)     To provide such advice or recommendations as may be specifically requested by the city administrator relative to matters concerning tree planting and landscaping projects;

 

(11)     Other duties or responsibilities as may from time to time be assigned by the mayor or city council.

 

Source:  Ord. No. 5077, 3, 6-15-09; Ord. No. 5334, 3, 2-2-15)

 

Sec. 25-10.  Same - Bylaws; rules; regulations.

 

The tree advisory board may adopt bylaws, rules and regulations for its own guidance as the board may deem necessary and as such shall not be inconsistent with this chapter. 

 

Source:  Ord. No. 5077, 3, 6-15-09

 

The public information contained herein is furnished as a public service by the City of Norfolk. The official record is maintained by the City Clerk's Office as required by Neb. Rev. Stat. 16-317. A printed version of the Norfolk Municipal Code is available at the City Clerk's Office and the Norfolk Public Library.

 

The City Clerk's Office may be contacted at (402) 844-2000 or by email bdeck@ci.norfolk.ne.us