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Fairfield considers tree branch heights

(7/19) Comments regarding the allowable height of branches on roadside trees has prompted Fairfield Borough to evaluate its existing regulations.

Borough regulations state that the lowest branches of roadside trees along non-state roads must be above 14 feet from the ground.

One or more residents have requested that the borough Council consider allowing branches to be lower, as per those along state-owned roadways, according to borough Secretary Susan Wagle.

One commission member said he thought the minimum height of tree limbs along state-owned roads was around 13 and one half feet.

However, the planning commission indicated at their July 8 meeting that they would be generally opposed to lowering the minimum height along borough-owned roads.

Planning commission member Francis Cool said the borough established a 14-foot minimum height on borough roads to accommodate the passage of tractor-trailers, which are generally 14 feet tall.

The height also readily accommodates the passage of emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks, and garbage haulers, he pointed out.

Cool noted that the state’s minimum requirement of around 13.6 feet occurs generally along state-owned roadways wide enough to allow tractor-trailers to avoid the lower branches.

The commission generally felt that if the branch height was lowered along the narrower borough roads, the tractor-trailers would eventually trim the branches to the 14-foot minimum themselves during the course of colliding with the branches.

Francis Cool said the minimum height “should stay at 14 feet. I think we’re pretty safe where we’re at [with that limit].”

The issue could come before the borough Council at their upcoming council meeting.

None of the planners appeared to be in support of any reduction in the minimum height requirement.

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