Village of Montrose municipal council reviews private, public tree policy and liability

Trees are a desired feature in any community, however they can also constitute a hazard, if not properly cared for.

Trees are a desired feature in any community, however they can also constitute a hazard, if not properly cared for.

With this is mind, the Village of Montrose reviewed and carried policy 0670 unchanged at Monday night council.

The policy pertains to existing trees and how to manage them if they become hazardous in any way.

If there is a danger to the public from a private tree, such as dead branches hanging over public space, the policy allows the village to remove it, said Kevin Chartres, chief administrative officer for the Village of Montrose.

Chartres said that the owner will be given a seven-day notice, and if they do not comply, the village will complete the removal.

The question of liability responsibility had on occasion been in doubt, when a tree deemed to be a hazard straddled the property line dividing a private lot and a road allowance; and when branches from a tree located on private property extended into the road allowance air space.

“It is our (Village of Montrose) liability if the tree is overhanging on public lands,” explained Chartres.

The job of overseeing which trees posed a risk to public safety used to be in the hands of the village’s public works foreman.

In 2011, the village transferred the responsibility over to a certified tree risk assessor.

Now, in the event of a disagreement between a property owner and the public works foreman concerning the health of a tree located on part of private property, the foreman will obtain a written assessment from the certified tree assessor before making a final decision.

Coun. Cindy Cook questioned if Montrose citizens were allowed to plant trees on village boulevards.

“We do not have a policy for that,” said Chartres.

“For safety reasons, we would prefer that they first contact the village.”

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