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Introduced by   Representatives Dowland of Holland and Randall of Troy

Referred to Committee on


Subject:  Municipal government; powers; public shade trees

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to clarify state law on municipal regulation of public shade trees.


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  24 V.S.A. § 2502 is amended to read:


(a)  Shade and ornamental trees within the limits of public ways and places shall be under the control of the tree warden.  The tree warden may plan and implement a town or community shade tree preservation program for the purpose of shading and beautifying public ways and places by planting new trees and shrubs; by maintaining the health, appearance, and safety of existing trees through feeding, pruning, and protecting them from noxious insect and disease pests and by removing diseased, dying, or dead trees which create a hazard to public safety or threaten the effectiveness of disease or insect control programs.

(b)  As used in this chapter, “shade tree” and “ornamental tree” shall mean a tree planted and growing on public property or within a public right-of-way, in a town or village center, public park or square, or other public place.

Sec. 2.  24 V.S.A. § 2509 is amended to read:

§ 2509. - HEARING

(a)  A public shade tree within the residential part of a municipality shall not be felled without a public hearing by the tree warden, except that when it is infested with or infected by a recognized tree pest, or when it constitutes a hazard to public safety, no hearing shall be required.  In all cases the decision of the tree warden shall be final except that when the tree warden is an interested party or when a party in interest so requests in writing, such final decision shall be made by the legislative body of the municipality.

(b)  This chapter shall not apply to normal maintenance for highway purposes, including removal and pruning of trees and plants along a highway right-of-way within the limits of the right-of-way.  The decision on whether removal or pruning is necessary shall be made solely by the legislative body of the municipality.  A legislative body may consult with the town tree warden.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont