Munsey Park residents who want to take down trees on their property will have to pay a flat $500 deposit that will be returned when the village verifies that the tree has been replaced.
The board of trustees has also voted to require residents to pay a $50 fee if a tree has to be removed. Previously, the village was charging $50 flat for any number of trees to be removed in an application. The $500 deposit will only apply to trees that the village tree committee requires to be replaced.
The board voted 5-0 to approve the code changes at a Wednesday meeting, officials said.
Residents must still gain the village tree committee's approval to remove trees. And the committee decides if the tree must be replaced with a new one. Trustee Patrick Hance said the policy change came about after about 20 trees that should have been replaced were not.
"The tree committee often does require the homeowner to plant a new tree to offset the one that was cut down," Hance said. "People were not planting trees as required by the terms of their permit."
Hance said village officials would place the $500 in escrow.
If the permit is approved, and a replanting is required, the homeowner will contact village hall to notify officials that a new tree has been planted, Hance said. The tree committee will then review the property and the village will refund the deposit.
Hance said the village dropped a requirement last year that homeowners needed a certified arborist to inspect the tree to be removed.
Nearby East Hills is considering a law to require a homeowner to pay $300 to remove a tree if an expansion or construction site is too small for a required replanting.
Those fees would fund planting of trees and greenery in other public village spaces, or other beautification projects. Old Westbury's code says if a replanting can't be accommodated, the resident must pay $75 per inch of the tree's diameter, to be placed in a trust account that will fund public replantings.