Tree ordinance sets maintenance, planting guidelines


RED OAK — An ordinance proposed to the Red Oak City Council will establish planting and maintenance restrictions on all street trees, while outlining which species can be planted.
Bill Drey, chairman of the Park and Tree Board, presented the ordinance to the Council at its April 19 meeting. He said the ordinance followed an Iowa Department of Natural Resources study, which included several recommendations and a survey of more than 20 percent of Red Oak’s street trees.
The ordinance, which replaces an older one, states in its purpose “to beautify and preserve the appearance of the city by requiring street trees to be uniformly located and maintained.” 
Drey said the exisiting ordinance needs changing, especially considering the age of Red Oak’s trees.
“Most of the street trees in Red Oak are very old trees, there’s not many young trees,” Drey said. “The old tree policy is very outdated that we have for the city of Red Oak.”
The ordinance places the responsibility of maintaining street trees upon the “abutting property owner,” while establishing planting and maintenance restrictions, and also an appeal process and penalty provisions. 
Included is a list of prohibited and approved trees for planting. Drey said it’s important for the City to exercise control over what is and isn’t planted.
“You want diversity in case of disease or something that might happen so you don’t wipe out all your trees,” he said.
Other provisions of the ordinance include:
Establishing distance setbacks from curbs and sidewalks of two to four feet, based on tree size;
Establishes setbacks for street corners (35 feet), fire hydrants (10 feet), and utilities (5-10 lateral feet); 
Requires 30-50 feet, depending on size, between all trees;
Prohibits tree topping on all street trees, except for those damaged by storms or “other causes”;
Requires abutting property owners to trim trees and remove diseased or dying ones as needed, or as directed by the City;
Allows the City to trim trees, or remove diseased or dying trees and asses the costs to the responsible property owner.
In addition to having maintenance costs assessed to their property taxes, responsible owners who violate the ordinance will be “subject to the standard penalty provisions of this Code of Ordinances.”

The Council will review the ordinance and discuss it at a future meeting.

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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