Appendix II. Utility Tree Cutting



     In order to balance the reliable delivery of electric power with the benefits of trees to the community, including mitigating stormwater runoff, Town Code Chapter 260A addressing activities affecting trees by a utility in private and public rights of way in which there is situated a distribution line.   

     In short, the Town Code requires (i) tree pruning and trimming to be performed in accordance with the standards for utilities established by the National Arbor Day Foundation, (ii) tree cutting, topping or removal (as opposed to pruning and trimming) to be consented to by the private or public grantor of the right of way or, absent that, filing with the Dept of Public Works of an arborist’s certification that pruning is not sufficient, and (iii) upon request of the private or public grantor of the right of way, replacement trees to be planted for any trees cut, topped or removed.




   Below is a Notice the CAC prepared for distribution to residents when the Town learns that Con Ed intend to perform tree maintenance in Unincorporated Greenburgh.

     “The Town has learned that Con Edison plans to perform tree maintenance in Unincorporated Greenburgh.  It is anticipated to start the week of ___________.

     Tree maintenance is required to protect the utility’s equipment and to prevent power outages.   

     Con Edison has rights-of-way to run its distribution lines along streets and sidewalks in Town.  Trees are trimmed to create minimum distance between surrounding trees and distribution wires.   Con Ed states that it follows International Society of Arboriculture pruning guidelines.

     These distances reflect best practices in the Northeast:  10 feet underneath the line, 10 feet on each side of the line and 15 feet above the line.

     If a distribution line runs from the street to a house, it is likely on a right-of-way granted to the utility by the current or former home owner.   While there are no generally accepted standards for tree trimming on these rights-of-way, the Town believes it is reasonable for the same standards as described above to apply.

     Con Edison may wish to trim trees on private property (in addition to trees on a right-of-way previously granted to Con Ed).   In order to do that, they need the owner's permission, unless the tree has fallen on a distribution line, or in its opinion, it is in imminent danger of doing so. 

     See Greenburgh Town Code, Chapter 260A – Tree Cutting, Topping and Removal on Distribution Lines Rights-of-Way for further information.

     If any questions or difficulties arise, please contact _____”