Botanical Obstructions

Botanical obstruction

It is against City ordinance to obstruct sidewalks and pedestrian ways.  If you are a property owner, it is your responsibility to cut back trees, bushes, shrubs, etc. that overgrow from your property out onto the sidewalk.

In the case that sidewalks are observed or reported to have botanical obstructions, a notification will be sent to the property owner.  The notification letter includes a checklist of unacceptable sidewalk obstructions listed below:

1.  There is a dead or dangerous tree(s) on your property adjacent to the public way. The location of the tree(s) makes it dangerous to pedestrians and vehicles in the public way, due to the high probability of falling, dead branches or the entire tree(s) falling. You are requested to remove the dead tree(s) within 30 days.

2.  There are branches from trees on your property that hang low over the public way, making use of the sidewalk or roadway difficult. Please prune for eight feet clearance over the sidewalk or fourteen feet clearance over the roadway within thirty days.

3.  There is a broken, hanging, dead or decayed branch in a tree on your property that over hangs and endangers the public way. Please remove it within thirty days.

4.  There are shrubs growing adjacent to the sidewalk on your property, which encroach on the sidewalk. Please prune to the back of sidewalk within thirty days

5.  Other… Considered High Importance Matter

Property owners are liable in the event of damage or injury to persons or property as a result of the above, checked condition(s). Fines will begin to be imposed 30 days after notification.

If you have not removed the relevant obstruction within thirty days of your receipt of this notice, said obstruction will be removed thereafter by the City using such means and in such manner as deemed appropriate by the City. The cost of said removal will be charged to you.

If you have any questions about a notice you have received about a botanical obstruction on your property, or if you would like to report a botanical obstruction that you have observed, please contact: 
Vincent Best, Compliance Officer
617.349.4869/ vbest@cambridgema.gov

 

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139

Phone:617.349.4800
TDD:617.499.9924

Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm