The Tree Warden for the Town of West Hartford is John Phillips, Director of Public Works. All communication and protests for trees that have been posted need to be sent to John Phillips or call 860-561-8100 within 10 days of the postings.
- For trees solely on private land, private property owners have the right to refuse utilities permission to prune or remove a tree and must give written consent if they choose to allow pruning or removal. The property owner cannot be billed by the utility if the tree in question falls on the wires and causes damage.
- If a tree is determined to be hazardous by the utility company, the utility must make a reasonable effort to notify the private property owner at least 3 days prior to pruning or removal.
- The Utilities have the right to work within the Utility Protection Zone* (UPZ) but that does not dictate a particular scope of pruning or removal of trees in that zone.
- Property owners have 10 business days from receipt of notice of pruning or removal from utility company in which to file a written objection, request for modification or request for consultation, with the utility company and the Town Tree Warden.
- The Town Tree Warden must issue a decision within 10 business days and that decision may be appealed by PURA* by either party, utility or property owner; mediation is an option. No pruning or removal can take place until a final decision has been reached.
- The utility company (and private property owners) must obtain a permit from the Town Tree Warden before doing any pruning or removal of trees in the public right-of-way.
- The Town Tree Warden maintains "care and control" over all trees and shrubs within the limits of any public road or grounds, which includes limbs, roots or parts of trees and shrubs that extend or overhang any such public road or grounds. The Town Tree Warden also has the obligation to prune and remove trees for the protection of "public safety".
- The Town Tree Warden is required to post notice of the intention to remove a tree for a minimum of ten days.
Below is Connecticut Legal Requirements for Utility Vegetation Management (source: Garden Club of New Haven).
Tree Rights Definitions
Town Tree Warden- Each town or city must have a town tree warden who has care and control over all trees and shrubs in whole or in part within the limits of any public road or grounds and is charged with enforcing all provisions of the law for the preservation of such trees and shrubs and of roadside beauty and to protect public safety.
DOT - CT Dept of Transportation
PURA - Pubic Utility Regulatory Authroity
Utility - A telephone, telecommunication, electric or electric distribution company.
UPZ - Utility Protection Zone. The Utility Protection Zone is any rectangular area extending horizontally for a distance of eight fee fro any outermost conductor or wire installed pole and vertically from the ground to the sky.
Hazardous Tree -Any tree or part of tree that is: dead, extensively decayed, or structurally weak, which, if it fails would endanger utility infrastructure, facilities or equipment.
Vegetation Management- The retention of trees and shrubs that are compatible with the utility infrastructure and the pruning or removal of trees, shrubs or other vegetation that pose a risk to the reliability of the infrastructure.
Pruning- The selective removal of plant parts to meet specific utility infrastructure reliability goals and objectives, when performed according to current professional tree care standards and in a manner that retains the structural integrity and health of the vegetation.
(source: Connecticut Urban Forest Council)