Substitute House Bill No. 5580

Public Act No. 00-106

An Act Concerning Violation Of Tree Cutting Practices.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (b) of section 23-65 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) Any person, firm or corporation, other than a tree warden or [his] deputy [, which wilfully] tree warden, who removes, prunes, injures or defaces any shrub or ornamental or shade tree, within the limits of a public way or grounds, without the legal right or written permission of the town tree warden, the borough tree warden, the city forester, the Commissioner of Transportation, the Department of Public Utility Control or other authority having jurisdiction, shall be fined not more than [one hundred dollars for each offense and,] the appraised value of the shrub or tree and shall be liable civilly for damages in any action brought by the property owner or the authority having jurisdiction affected thereby. The appraised value shall be determined by the town tree warden, the borough tree warden, the city forester, the Commissioner of Transportation, the Department of Public Utility Control or other authority having jurisdiction and shall be determined in accordance with regulations adopted by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to develop guidelines for such plant appraisal. The regulations may incorporate by reference the latest revision of The Guide for Plant Appraisal, as published by the International Society of Arboriculture, Urbana, Illinois. Until such time as regulations are adopted, appraisals may be made in accordance with said Guide for Plant Appraisal.

Sec. 2. Section 23-59 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The town or borough tree warden shall have the care and control of all trees and shrubs in whole or in part within the limits of any public road or grounds and within the limits of his town or borough, except those along state highways under the control of the Commissioner of Transportation and except those in public parks or grounds which are under the jurisdiction of park commissioners, and of these [he] the tree warden shall take the care and control if so requested in writing by the park commissioners. Such care and control shall extend to such limbs, roots or parts of trees and shrubs as extend or overhang the limits of any such public road or grounds. [He] The tree warden shall expend all funds appropriated for the setting out, care and maintenance of such trees and shrubs. [He] The tree warden shall enforce all provisions of law for the preservation of such trees and shrubs and of roadside beauty. [He] The tree warden shall remove or cause to be removed all illegally erected signs or advertisements, placed upon poles, trees or other objects within any public road or place under [his] the tree warden's jurisdiction. [He] The tree warden may prescribe such regulations for the care and preservation of such trees and shrubs as [he] the tree warden deems expedient and may provide therein for a reasonable fine [not exceeding ninety dollars in any one case] for the violation of such regulations; and such regulations, when approved by the selectmen or borough warden and posted on a public signpost in the town or borough, if any, or at some other exterior place near the office of the town or borough clerk, shall have the force and effect of town or borough ordinances. Whenever, in the opinion of the tree warden, the public safety demands the removal or pruning of any tree or shrub under [his] the tree warden's control, [he] the tree warden may cause such tree or shrub to be removed or pruned at the expense of the town or borough and the selectmen or borough warden shall order paid to the person performing such work such reasonable compensation therefor as may be determined and approved in writing by the tree warden. Unless the condition of such tree or shrub constitutes an immediate public hazard, [he] the tree warden shall, at least [five] ten days before such removal or pruning, post thereon a suitable notice stating [his] the tree warden's intention to remove or prune such tree or shrub. If any person, firm or corporation objects to such removal or pruning, [he or it] such person, firm or corporation may appeal to the tree warden in writing, who shall hold a public hearing at some suitable time and place after giving reasonable notice of such hearing to all persons known to be interested therein and posting a notice thereof on such tree or shrub. Within three days after such hearing, the tree warden shall render [his] a decision granting or denying the application, and the party aggrieved by such decision may, within ten days, appeal therefrom to the superior court for the judicial district within which such town or borough is located. The tree warden may, with the approval of the selectmen or borough warden, remove any trees or other plants within the limits of public highways or grounds under [his] the tree warden's jurisdiction [, which] that are particularly obnoxious as hosts of insect or fungus pests.

Approved May 26, 2000