Chapter 175. Dutch Elm Disease

Sec. 175.01. Policy.

The council of the City of Saint Paul has determined that there are many elm trees growing on public and private premises within the City of Saint Paul, the loss of which would substantially depreciate the value of public and private premises, and impair the safety, good order, general welfare and convenience of the public. The council has determined that the health and life of such trees is threatened by a fatal disease known as Dutch Elm Disease. The council hereby declares its intention to control and prevent the spread of such disease and the insect pests and vectors which carry such disease and declares the Dutch Elm Disease and the elm bark beetles which carry such disease to be public nuisances.

(Code 1956, 258.01)

Sec. 175.02. Nuisances.

The following things are public nuisances whenever they may be found within the City of Saint Paul:

(1) Any living or standing elm tree or part thereof infected to any degree with the Dutch Elm Disease fungus, Ceratocystis ulmi (Buisman) Moreau, or which harbors any of the elm bark beetles, Scolytus multistriatus (Eich.) or Hylurgopinus rufipes (Marsh.);

(2) Any dead elm tree or part thereof, including logs, branches, stumps, firewood or other elm material from which the bark has not been removed and burned.

(Code 1956, 258.02)

Sec. 175.03. Plant pest control program.

It is the intention of the council of the City of Saint Paul to conduct a program of plant pest control pursuant to the authority granted by Minnesota Statutes, Section 18.022. This program is directed specifically at the control and elimination of Dutch Elm Disease, casual fungus and elm bark beetles and is undertaken at the recommendation and under the direction of the commissioner of agriculture. The city forester shall act as coordinator between the commissioner of agriculture and the council in the conduct of this program. The city forester, under the direction of the director of the department of community services, is authorized to perform the duties and exercise the powers as set out in this chapter.

(Code 1956, 258.03)

Sec. 175.04. Inspection.

(a) City forester to inspect. The city forester shall inspect all premises and places within the city of Saint Paul as often as practical to determine whether any condition described in section 175.02 exists thereon. He shall investigate all reported incidents of infestation by Dutch Elm fungus or elm bark beetles. The city forester or his duly authorized officers, employees or agents may enter upon private premises at any reasonable time for the purpose of carrying out any of the duties assigned to them under this chapter.

(b) Analysis of specimens. Whenever necessary to determine the existence of Dutch Elm Disease or elm bark beetles in any tree, the person inspecting such tree may remove or cut specimens from the tree in such manner as to avoid permanent injury thereto and may forward such specimens to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for analyses to determine the presence of such nuisances. No action to remove living trees or wood shall be taken until positive diagnosis of the nuisance has been made.

(Code 1956, 258.04)

Sec. 175.05. Abatement, procedures.

(a) Notification to owner, etc. Whenever the city forester has reason to believe that a nuisance as defined in section 175.02 exists on any private property in the city, he shall mail a written order to the last known address of the owner of the real property involved. For the purpose of this chapter, ``owners'' and their addresses shall be those shown to be such on the records of the Ramsey County Department of Property Taxation, but other appropriate records may be used. The written order shall notify the owner of the existence of the nuisance and direct that it be removed within twenty (20) days after receipt of such notice. The notice shall also state that if such nuisance has not been abated within the time provided, the city, by and through its department of community services, may abate the nuisance at the expense of the owner and that, if the costs of the abatement have not been prepaid by the owner at the time the abatement takes place, the charge for such work and any administrative costs incurred by the department of finance and management services for processing the collection thereof shall be made a special assessment against the property concerned.

(b) Failure to act; city may abate. If the owner or person in control of any private premises fails to have such nuisance so removed and properly disposed of within twenty (20) days after receipt of notification by mail, or when the owner or person in control cannot be located, the department of community services may proceed to have the nuisance removed and disposed of, and any expense incurred by the city in so doing may be a charge and lien upon the property and shall be collected as a special assessment against the property concerned. Included as part of the assessment shall be those administrative costs incurred by the department of finance and management services in processing the collection of the abatement.

(c) Costs to be assessed. The city forester shall keep a record of the cost of abatements done under this section and, on or before September 1 of each year, shall report to the department of finance and management services all work done for which assessments are to be made, stating and certifying the description of the lots and parcels involved and the amount chargeable to each lot and parcel. The total costs of this abatement including the administrative costs incurred by the finance department in processing the abatement shall then be assessed against the affected real property in the manner provided for in Chapter 14 of the City Charter and shall be collected in accordance with those applicable provisions contained in Chapter 64 of the St. Paul Administrative Code; provided, however, that these assessments shall be payable in not to exceed five (5) annual installments.

(d) Subsidies. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, the city may provide total or partial subsidies to owners of private residential property for the cost of removing diseased trees; provided, however, that the private residential property is used exclusively for residential purposes only; and provided further, that the property has located thereon a dwelling or dwellings which are exclusively designed for and used as single or multidwelling buildings with families living independent of each other.

(Code 1956, 258.05; Ord. No. 17218, 1--3, 3-7-85)

Sec. 175.06. Permit to transport wood.

It shall be unlawful for any person to transport within the city any bark-bearing elm wood without having obtained a written permit from the department of community services. The department shall grant such permits only when the purpose of this chapter shall be served thereby.

(Code 1956, 258.06)

Sec. 175.07. Spraying.

Whenever the city forester determines that any elm tree or elm wood within the city is infected with Dutch Elm fungus, he may spray all nearby high value elm trees with an effective elm bark beetle destroying insecticide. Spraying activities authorized by this section shall be conducted in accordance with technical and expert opinions and plans of the commissioner of agriculture and under the supervision of the commissioner and his agents whenever possible.

(Code 1956, 258.07)

Sec. 175.08. No interference with forester.

It is unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the city forester or his agents while they are engaged in the performance of duties imposed by this chapter.

(Code 1956, 258.08)