Keeping the Right of Way Clear of Vegetation Obstructions:
Part of the land in the City of Andrews is dedicated as "public right-of-way" for streets, sidewalks, utilities, and similar public uses. These areas are for everyone’s use. To protect public health and safety, it is important to keep streets, sidewalks, walkways, and other public right-of-way areas free of obstructions. All encroachments (any object, structure, or vegetation) that fail to allow the lawful passage of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on any street, alley, easement, or sidewalk must be eliminated and/or maintained at all times.
The value of trees and vegetation:
Trees, shrubs, and other plants play an important role in keeping Andrews green and safe. Trees and well-maintained vegetation are highly valued elements in neighborhoods and provide many benefits. The presence of trees, shrubs, and other lower-growing vegetation can transform a barren space into a pleasant, welcoming, and well-used place and influence the health and well-being of a community. Property owners, both public and private, need to be conscious about where they place and how they manage vegetation in light of visibility and safety concerns. Well-placed and well-maintained trees and vegetation can have a positive affect on people’s behavior and perception, resulting in improved safety.
A property owner’s responsibility:
Streets, sidewalks, and other public rights-of-way are for everyone’s use. They add value to private property by providing access to the property and a way to get to other places in the city. Property owners are responsible for maintaining part of the public right-of-way adjacent to their property, including the sidewalk, planting strip, shoulder, unpaved alleys, and walkways. Overgrown trees and shrubs endanger everyone when they block the view of traffic signs, signals, vehicles, and people or block a path or walkway. Trimming vegetation and caring for street trees are effective ways citizens and public works agencies can enhance neighborhood safety.
Keeping vegetation trimmed:
It is important to keep vegetation planted in the right-of-way trimmed back to prevent visibility obstructions. If overhanging vegetation is blocking visibility on streets, sidewalks, alleys, and other public right-of-way areas, it is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner to trim or remove it. All trees must be trimmed to maintain a clearance of 14 feet.
All intersections must have clear visibility for the traveling public. To ensure adequate sight distance at intersections, trees must meet appropriate setbacks and shrubs and other vegetation must meet height requirements. A tree or large shrub at the corner of a street that blocks the ability of a driver to see if traffic is coming from another street is a hazard.
It is also important to keep traffic signs and signals free of vegetation obstructions. A tree, shrub, or other vegetation that blocks the view of signs, signals, and intersections is a potential hazard.
Vegetation overgrowth between private properties that does not encroach on the public right-of-way is a civil matter and should be resolved by the property owners.