December 1, 2008

N.Y. demands permit for outdoor Xmas trees

Those New York residents who are considering decorating a Christmas tree in front of their homes in the city limits should think twice, officials say.

Officials said the trees themselves are typically allowed to reside on city sidewalks, but the holiday trees become illegal once the traditional ornaments and Christmas lights are added, The New York Daily News said Sunday.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said the regulation against decorated sidewalk trees has been around for decades and typically is only enforced when decorations threaten the tree's health.

We are neither Scrooge-like or Grinch-like as long as the tree is okay, the official said, adding violators are rarely fined.

Those wishing to avoid a conflict with the parks department can attempt to obtain a permit for a decorated sidewalk tree, Benepe said.

Frances Vella-Marrone of the Dyker Heights Civic Association questioned why such a little-known regulation was even in place in the city.

They didn't ask for the tree but then if they want to decorate it, they need to get a permit, the association president told the Daily News. It sounds onerous.