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(a) Criminal Penalties. Violation of any of the provisions of Sections 805(b), 806, 808, 810(f)(1), 810A(b), and 810B of this Article 16 shall be chargeable as an infraction or a misdemeanor. Every violation determined to be an infraction is punishable by a fine of $200 for a first violation and $400 for each additional violation within one year. Every violation determined to be a misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 and/or imprisonment in the County Jail for a period not to exceed six months, for each offense.
(b) Civil Penalties and Fees.
(1) The Director may call upon the City Attorney to maintain an action for injunction to restrain or summary abatement to cause the correction or abatement of the violation of this Article 16, and for assessment and recovery of a civil penalty and reasonable attorney's fees for such violation.
(2) Any person who violates this Article 16 may be liable for a civil penalty, not to exceed $500 for each day such violation is committed or permitted to continue, which penalty shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the City by the City Attorney in any court of competent jurisdiction. In assessing the amount of the civil penalty, the court may consider any one or more of the relevant circumstances presented by any of the parties to the case, including, but not limited to, the following: the nature and seriousness of the misconduct, the number of violations, the persistence of the misconduct, the length of time over which the misconduct occurred; and the willfulness of the defendant's misconduct. The City Attorney also may seek recovery of the attorneys' fees and costs incurred in bringing a civil action pursuant to this Section.
(c) Administrative Penalties.
(1) In addition to the penalties set forth in Subsections (a) and (b) above, the Director may require any person who removes, injures, or destroys a Tree in violation of the provisions of this Article 16 to pay a sum of money equal to the Tree's Replacement value or the diminishment of the Tree's value as set forth in the current edition of the Guide for Plant Appraisal (Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers). Further, in addition to the penalties set forth in Subsections (a) and (b) above, the Director may require any person who removes, fails to maintain, injures, or destroys sidewalk landscaping or the associated design improvements in violation of the provisions of Section 810B to pay a sum of money equal to the Replacement value of the affected Landscape Material and associated design improvements or the diminishment of the value of the Landscape Material as set forth in the current edition of the Guide for Plant Appraisal (Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers). In no case shall the administrative penalty be less than $500 per violation. When one or more additional violations occur within one year of the first violation, the Director may assess a responsible party double the Tree's Replacement value or the diminishment of the Tree's value. Depending on the nature and seriousness of the misconduct, including unpermitted removal of or damage to a Landmark or Significant Tree; the unpermitted removal of or damage to Sidewalk landscaping installed pursuant to a permit issued under Section 810B; the number of violations; the persistence of the misconduct; the length of time over which the misconduct occurred; or the willfulness of the defendant's misconduct, the Director may assess additional penalties in excess of the amounts specified above. In addition to the administrative penalty assessed pursuant to this Section, the Director may assess enforcement costs to cover the reasonable costs incurred in enforcing the administrative penalty, including reasonable attorneys' fees. Any and all amounts paid or collected pursuant to this subsection, with the exception of enforcement costs, shall be deposited into the Adopt-A-Tree Fund.
(2) Notwithstanding the monetary limitation specified above in this Subsection (c), if a responsible party performs Major Maintenance on a Street Tree subject to the provisions of Section 805(b) without a permit or injures, destroys, or removes such a Tree, the Department may assess a penalty of up to $10,000 per violation in addition to the other remedies specified above.
(3) The Department shall send Notice of the assessment of administrative penalties to the responsible party. Such Notice shall include a statement that payment is due within 60 days of the mailing date of the Notice. If a responsible property owner fails timely to remit payment, the Department shall send a second Notice of payment due. Such second Notice shall include a statement that failure timely to remit payment in full to the City within 30 days of the mailing of the second Notice shall cause the Director to institute lien proceedings pursuant to Sections 706.4-706.7 of this Code. Enforcement and collection of liens for costs associated with Hazard Tree abatement shall be in accordance with Sections 706.4-706.7 of this Code, except that all monies received in payment of such liens with the exception of enforcement costs, shall be credited to the Adopt-a-Tree Fund.
(4) Hearings. At the written request of any person who has been assessed a penalty under subsections (c)(1)-(2), the Director, or the Director’s designee, shall hold a public hearing regarding the proposed penalty. The Director, or the Director’s designee, must receive the written request for a hearing within 60 days of the Department’s notice of the assessed penalty. After the public hearing, the Director’s, or the Director's designee’s, decision on the assessed penalty shall be final.
(Added by Ord. 165-95, App. 5/19/95; amended by Ord. 294-98, File No. 98-0991, Eff. 11/2/98; Ord. 17-06, File No. 051458, App. 1/20/2006; Ord. 121-06, File No. 060142, App. 6/14/2006; Ord. 119-15 , File No. 150221, App. 7/15/2015, Eff. 8/14/2015; Ord. 245-17, File No. 170985, App. 12/22/2017, Eff. 1/21/2018)