Judiciary Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5258

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING A PROPERTY OWNER'S LIABILITY FOR THE EXPENSES OF REMOVING A FALLEN TREE OR LIMB.

Vote Date:

3/30/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/2/2016

File No.:

603

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Rep. Fred Camillo, 151st Dist.

REASONS FOR BILL:

A version of this bill was introduced in 2014 and passed both chambers. It would impose the expense for removing a tree or limb that falls on an adjoining neighbor's property to the owner of the property that owns the tree.

Substitute Language:

LCO #3511: Lines 53- 55 refer to farm land and open space land in addition to farm land.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, Commissioner Robert Klee

(Prior to Substitute Language) The State of Connecticut DEEP supports HB 5258 since it would have private property owners take greater responsibility for trees which might pose a risk to a neighboring private property from disease, decay, or damage if expected failure is likely within five years of a written notice. Absent from the listed exemptions in Section (e) are lands classified as farm land as described in Section 12-107e of the general statutes, and open space as described in Section 12-107f of the general statutes. This bill as presented does not fully address and may actually complicate DEEP's policy goals that encourage keeping large working lands intact.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Representative Fred Camillo

Rep. Camillo supports this version of HB 5258 because it would require a licensed arborist to be hired by the party seeking action on the owner of the property where the diseased, dead, or hazardous tree is located.

Connecticut Forest & Park Association, Eric Hammerling

(Prior to Substitute Language) CFPA supports HB 5258 with a suggested language improvement. CFPA has opposed this bill when it was raised over the past few years due to prior concerns that it would add unnecessary liability to land acquired for its natural resource value. The suggested language improvement would slightly broaden the exemption of land in the Public Act 490 program to include lands protected as “open space” or “farm land”. We

recommend the language be changed on lines 53 and 54 of the bill (the last two lines) in order to exempt all three classifications of Public Act 490 lands.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Connecticut Farm Bureau Association Henry Talmage, Executive Director

(Prior to Substitute Language) The CFB opposes HB 5258 as drafted because it does not extend the exemptions provided to timberland and forestland to farmland and open space categories. We encourage the following language on line 54 of the bill to exclude farmland and open space from the provisions of the bill. “(5) farmland as described in section 12-107c of the general statutes. (6) open space as described in section 12-107e of the general statutes.

Reported by: Jason Snukis

Date: April 6, 2016