VILLAGE OF UPPER NYACK
OVERVIEW OF THE TREE PRESERVATION LAW OF 2021
The Board of Trustees of the Village of Upper Nyack has determined that both the existing character of the community and the control of erosion are highly dependent on maintaining the wooded landscape and has enacted the Tree Preservation Law of 2021.
Below are some highlights of the law. They are provided for information purposes only and do not touch on every aspect of the law. We suggest you read the law in its entirety before making your tree removal plans. The full text of the law is available on the Village’s website [insert address or link if this will be an electronic communication] or a copy may be obtained from the Village Clerk.
What Constitutes Tree Removal subject to regulation under the Law (SECTION 3, ARTICLE 1 (Definitions) of the Tree Preservation Law of 2021)
Tree Removal is defined as “The (a) destruction, removal or substantial injury of a Significant Tree or any Tree in a Significant Stand of Trees through cutting, poisoning or changing the soil elevation surrounding the trunk and Dripline in a manner to have an adverse effect on the health of the Tree, or (b) failure to prevent the destruction, removal or substantial injury of any Significant Tree or Tree in a Significant Stand of Trees designated to be preserved by the Planning Board on an approved subdivision plat and/or site plan during construction activities.”
A Significant Tree is defined as “Any living, woody plant with a DBH [diameter at breast height] that is equal to or exceeds 12 inches, or, if any portion of the proposed Tree is located on a Steep Slope, within 100 feet of the Hudson River, or within a federal, state or locally regulated wetland a DBH that is equal to or exceeds 8 inches.”
A Significant Stand of Trees is defined as “Five or more Trees [with a DBH of 6 inches or greater] of the same or similar species clustered to form the same Dripline [A line on the ground surrounding the trunk of a Tree that conforms to the widest extent of the Tree’s canopy].”
The following does NOT constitute Tree Removal and therefore is NOT regulated under the Tree Preservation Law:
- Removal of any tree that has a DBH of less than 6 inches.
- Removal of any tree that has a DBH of less than 8 inches UNLESS:
- It is located within a Significant Stand of Trees
- Removal of any tree that has a DBH less than 12 inches UNLESS
- It is located within a Significant Stand of Trees; or
- It is located on a Steep Slope, within 100 feet of the Hudson River, or within a federal, state or locally regulated wetland.
Application for Tree Removal (SECTION 3 ARTICLE 2 of the Tree Preservation Law of 2021)
Applications for Tree Removal are made to the Building Department at Village Hall and require an application fee. Most applications are approved by the Village Code Enforcement Official, in consultation with the Village Forester. The Village Forester will inspect the tree(s) before the application is approved, except in cases of emergency, as outlined in Exempt Activities below.
Applications which may be approved by the Code Enforcement Official include, but are not limited to, Tree Removal of trees that are dead or dying as determined by the Village Forester or an otherwise healthy tree where the Village Forester expressly finds that the proposed Tree Removal will not result in or cause, increase or aggravate any or all of the following conditions: impaired growth or development of the remaining Trees or shrubs on the Lot of the applicant or upon adjacent Lot(s), soil erosion, sedimentation or dust, drainage or sewerage problems, or dangerous or hazardous conditions.
There are limits on how many trees can be removed in a two year period without Planning Board review. Removal of more than two (2) Trees with a DBH of 13 inches or smaller if they are in a healthy condition or of any size if they are determined to be dead or dying by the Village Forester, and three (3) additional Trees that are determined to be dead or dying by the Village Forester on any Lot in a two (2) year period requires review by the Planning Board. This is done to limit the impact of Tree Removal to other properties or the Hudson River.
Tree Removal beyond the thresholds described above must be reviewed and approved by the Planning Board, and will typically require the replanting of replacement trees.
Exempt Activities (SECTION 3 ARTICLE 3 of the Tree Preservation Law of 2021)
No permit is required prior to Tree Removal where the Tree(s) to be removed causes a reasonably imminent peril to the safety of life or property, as determined by an ISA Certified Arborist, provided that within 48 hours of such removal the party removing the Tree files an application for a Tree Removal Permit along with a written determination of the ISA Certified Arborist confirming that the Tree Removal was reasonably necessary to avoid imminent peril to the safety of life or property. The Village Forester may inspect the Lot upon which any Tree was removed.
No permit is required prior to Tree Removal in an Emergency Situation, provided that within 48 hours of such emergency removal the party removing the Tree files an application for a Tree Removal Permit along with a written narrative and/or photographs establishing that the Tree Removal on an emergency basis was reasonably necessary. The Village Forester may inspect the Lot upon which any Tree was removed.
No permit is required for the pruning of trees.
Enforcement (ARTICLE 4 of the Tree Preservation Law of 2021)
Enforcement will be undertaken by the Village’s Code Enforcement Officer and there are fines and penalties for violation of the law.