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I've decided to start a discussion on the shade tree controversy so everyone's comments are accessible from one place. 

At my house we are having a tree completely cut down because it is being eaten by carpenter ants.  From the Ridley Park Borough website: "A permit shall be required to cut down or to do major pruning to a Shade Tree. Shade Tree’s on any tree that is between the sidewalk and the street."  Our tree is not in that area and we do not need a permit. 

The two sycamores in the picture are on Purcell Street and they are between the sidewalk and street, so a permit is needed.   That is the definition of a "shade tree".  I think the difference is that any tree between the sidewalk and street is considered "public" area, so needs a permit.  I would not want the borough to be able to tell me what I can or cannot do on my own private property, but in the area pictured any changes to trees affect the appearance of the whole street.

The picture was taken by Howard McCoy.

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Why is a permit needed to trim any tree on your own property?   

I've modified my discussion to answer your question.

@Linda,  Good idea to start this blog; it is an important topic.  Whether or not a Permit is needed has to do with the right-of-way line (ROW).  It differs from street to street.  While it is easier to assume it to be between the sidewalk and curb, it is measured by checking the width of the ROW on that particular street.  In some places, such as Park Street, the public ROW is 10 feet or so in from the curb toward the houses.  So it may include a 3 foot wide curb plot, a 4 foot wide sidewalk, and still extend 3 feet more from the sidewalk toward the house.  The sidewalk is completely within the public ROW. The ROW width is shown as a small number in the center of each street on the Delco Board of Assessment Appeals Map of Ridley Park.  Interesting to note:  Purcell and Park Streets are both 45 ft ROW, Swarthmore Ave North of Ridley Ave and the North end of Harrison Street are each 60 ft ROW.    

@Tim,

I'm not assuming anything.  The only thing the borough web site says is this: "A permit shall be required to cut down or to do major pruning to a Shade Tree. Shade Tree’s are any tree that is between the sidewalk and the street."  So that's it, if a tree is not between the sidewalk and street, it is no one's business but the homeowner's.  If you can tell me where all that stuff about ROW is, I'll be glad to read it, but I don't see any mention of that on the borough web site.  Or anything applying that ROW to the definition of what constitutes a shade tree.

@Linda,

The Borough has authority over trees on public property--that means in the public right of way as a legal definition.  It is NOT defined by placement of the sidewalk.  Do you know who manages the Borough website?  Incomplete info is no stranger there.

I stand by my previous reply.

@Linda,

Your interpretation of partial facts taken out of context is doing the RPOL Community a disservice.  Read the Ridley Park Shade Tree Ordinance for the full picture.

I did read the ordinance.   I see nothing about any ROW, but you and I are going to get into a row if you don't stop trying to complicate things.  Like I said before, show me where it says anything about this ROW.

BTW, I agree that the sycamores were in the public area.  A permit should have been obtained.  Do we know that one wasn't?

@Linda,  It is not a personal issue--references to right-of-way (ROW) are found in the Borough's Shade Tree Ordinance in Section 195-8 Purpose;  Section 195-9 Definitions; 195-12 Duties and responsibilities, and elsewhere.  If you can't understand this important distinction and explanation about the difference between public and private property, let's agree not to discuss it.  But don't joke around about it.

PS:  If you think my answers are "too complicated," don't even think about hearing an explanation regarding the question of Permit and what is NOT PERMISSIBLE regarding Borough property, ie, public tree care, and why the work that was done on two public trees at 306 Purcell is a violation of the Shade Tree Ordinance, "Permit" or "No Permit."

Now you're making it personal: "If you think my answers are "too complicated," don't even think about hearing an explanation regarding the question of Permit and what is NOT PERMISSIBLE regarding Borough property".  My saying it is complicated doesn't mean I don't understand it.  And certainly it doesn't turn the front of my yard into borough property. It's still mine.  And lordy, lordy, make a little pun on words & you take offense!  Yes let's just drop this whole subject & agree to disagree.  PS see hotdog's reply below.

Right of Way (ROW) gives the Borough a legal right to access a private property in order to maintain a public utility such as sewer lines, water lines, gas lines, electrical lines and for any other professional service affecting the Borough, typically its about a 3 to 5 foot area from the sidewalk onto the private property. ROW may be defined in the Shade Tree Ordinance however the permit applcation does not reference it. The application says to cut or trim trees along the streets in the Borough. Maybe " along the streets" should be clearly defined or "ROW" should be added to the application. If the Intent of the Ordinance is to protect trees in the area considered the ROW the application should include that.

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