ALLENTOWN – With an eye on providing more structure to the local group that cares for Allentown’s trees, the Borough Council has introduced an ordinance that, if adopted, will replace the Shade Tree Advisory Committee with a formal Shade Tree Commission.
The ordinance was introduced during the June 13 meeting of the council with support from council President Wil Borkowski and council members Robert Strovinsky, Rob Schmitt, Thomas Fritts, Angela Anthony and Johnna Stinemire.
A public hearing on the ordinance has been scheduled for June 27. The council may vote to adopt the ordinance that evening following the public hearing.
The ordinance states that the Shade Tree Commission “is established for the purpose of regulating, planting, care and control of shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery upon and in the streets, highways, public places, parks and parkways of the borough.”
Seven residents will be appointed to the commission – five regular members and two alternates. The residents will serve without compensation.
Among the duties of the commission are the following:
• Move or require the removal of any tree, or part thereof, dangerous to public safety
• Administer treatment to or remove any tree situated on private property which is believed to harbor a disease or insects readily communicable to neighboring healthy trees in the care of the borough and enter upon private property for that purpose, with the consent of the owner
• Encourage arboriculture
• Work in cooperation with the Environmental Commission and other such borough agencies in regards to the encouragement of planting and preservation of shade trees.
The Shade Tree Commission will be funded through an annual appropriation provided by the council, according to the ordinance.
Strovinsky said Allentown’s shade tree appointees “are becoming more active in the community and that is a good thing. This ordinance will put more structure into the commission and allow for more input.”
The council also introduced an ordinance dealing with the care and protection of trees in the borough. Strovinsky said shade tree volunteers hope to pursue Tree City recognition for Allentown. That ordinance is also scheduled for a public hearing and possible vote for adoption on June 27.