Tree preservation

No trees of six-inch caliper or more shall be removed, or land operations affecting their survival undertaken, in connection with any site alteration or development, except in compliance with the provisions of this Section.

Prior to any such removal or land operations, plans shall be filed with the Department of Buildings showing the locations of all trees of six-inch caliper or more on the zoning lot and in the public sidewalk area of the street or streets adjacent thereto, and identifying those which are proposed to be removed. Removal of live trees of six-inch caliper or more will be permitted only under the following circumstances:

(a)        where such trees are located in areas to be occupied by buildings, driveways, areas for required accessory parking, or within a distance of eight feet of the exterior walls of such building, provided that it is not possible to avoid such removal by adjustments in the arrangement of such buildings, driveways or required parking areas;

(b)        where the continued presence of such trees would create special hazards or dangers to persons or property, which it would not be possible or practical to eliminate by pruning;

(c)        where continued presence of the trees would interfere with another tree of six-inch caliper or more designated for preservation and belonging to a species listed in Appendix B (Tree Selection Tables); or

(d)        where authorizations granted by the City Planning Commission under the provisions of this Chapter require or clearly contemplate the removal of such trees.

If an existing tree of six-inch caliper or more identified for preservation is removed without prior approval by the Department of Buildings or the City Planning Commission, any permit issued by the Department of Buildings for a site alteration, development or any use on the zoning lot shall be revoked.

In order to remove such violations, the owner of the zoning lot shall request the Commission to specify the tree restoration requirements and to certify such requirements to the Department of Buildings.

No building permit, reinstatement of such permit or issuance of a certificate of occupancy shall occur until the owner of the zoning lot either posts with the Comptroller of the City of New York a landscaping performance bond in an amount determined by the Commission or completes the replanting in accordance with the requirements set forth by the Commission in order to correct the planting violations.

Replacement trees to be planted shall be of a caliper no less than three inches and be of a species listed in Appendix B and the sum of whose calipers shall be at least equivalent to that of the trees removed.

In addition, the Commission may require a restrictive declaration specifying the terms of implementing the restoration plan.

Where on-site planting of such replacement trees would result in over crowding or would adversely affect the ecology of the site, the Commission may authorize planting of one or more replacement trees on adjoining public sidewalks or in a nearby public area or substituting other planting material pursuant to Section 107-323.