§ 101.23  REMOVING TREES.
   (A)   It shall be unlawful for any person, unless otherwise authorized, to remove or cause to be removed a tree from a right-of-way or from town-owned property without written authorization from the Town Horticulturist.
   (B)   The Town Horticulturist shall issue a permit authorizing tree removal only when, after application is made, the Town Horticulturist determines that the tree’s removal is reasonably necessary for health, safety, or welfare.
   (C)   In addition to the penalties provided by § 10.99, a person who removes a tree without authorization shall provide a replacement tree or trees or other restitution as determined by the Town Horticulturist.
   (D)   Unless the Town Horticulturist determines that the removed tree cannot be replaced in a manner that satisfies the criteria set forth below, the person who removed the tree must provide a suitable replacement in accordance with specifications
determined by the Town Horticulturist, applying these criteria:
      (1)   The replacement shall provide benefits equivalent to those provided by the removed tree;
      (2)   The location of the replacement shall be in reasonable proximity to the site of the removed tree, but without causing deleterious effects;
      (3)   The timing and technique of installation of the replacement shall be as needed to assure the health of the replacement;
      (4)   If the caliper of the stump (measured at its widest diameter) of the removed tree is less than four inches, the replacement shall be a tree at least as great at the same caliper. If the removed tree has a caliper equal to or greater than four inches, it may be replaced by two or more trees with a caliper of at least two inches, and a cumulative caliper equal to or greater than the tree removed.
      (5)    Unless replacement is completed by the authorized deadline, security shall be provided in the form of a performance bond, letter of credit, cash, or cash escrow equal to 125% of an amount determined by the Town Horticulturist to be the cost to the town for estimated material and labor for the replacement, with any amount not used to be returned at the end of the one-year period.
   (E)   If the tree cannot be satisfactorily replaced, then the person who removed the tree is liable to the town for the amount that the Town Horticulturist determines is the cost of a suitable replacement had that been possible.
   (F)   Town-authorized projects do not need permission from the North Carolina State Department of Transportation when working on their rights-of-way.
(Ord. 1623, passed 6-14-2016)Penalty, see § 10.99