Borough of Gibbsboro, NJ
Camden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Borough Council of the Borough of Gibbsboro as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 107.
Site plan review — See Ch. 324.
Soil removal — See Ch. 335.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 358.
Weeds — See Ch. 456.
[Adopted as Section 13-2 of the Revised General Ordinances (Ch. 166, Art. I, of the 1982 Code)]

§ 379-1 Permit required for certain acts.

[Amended 5-18-1982 by Ord. No. 82-2[1]]
No person shall do or cause to be done any of the following acts affecting the trees, plants, shrubbery or other ornamental flora planted or growing naturally within the highways or public places under the jurisdiction of the Borough, except with a written permit first obtained from the Compliance Officer:
A. 
Cut, trim, break, disturb the roots of or spray with chemicals any living tree or shrub; or injure, misuse or remove any structure or device placed to support or protect any tree or shrub.
B. 
Plant or remove any living tree or shrub or climb with spikes any living tree or shrub.
C. 
Fasten any rope, wire, electric attachments, sign or other device to a tree or shrub or to any guard about such tree or shrub.
D. 
Close or obstruct any open space provided about the base of a tree or shrub to permit access of air, water or fertilizer to the roots of such tree or shrub.
E. 
Pile any building material or make any mortar or cement within six feet of a tree or shrub.
F. 
Change the grade of soil within the limits of the lateral spread of the branches of any such tree.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 379-2 Protection from electric lines.

Every person having control over any wire for the transmission of an electric current along a public highway shall at all times guard all trees through which or near which such wire passes against any injury from the wire or cable or from the electric current carried by it. The device or means used shall in every case be subject to approval by the Compliance Officer.

§ 379-3 Guy wires, braces and similar devices that will damage trees prohibited.

No person shall place any guy wire, brace or other device on any such tree in such a manner as to injure it.

§ 379-4 Injury by animals prohibited.

No person shall hitch or fasten any animal to any tree or shrub upon a public highway or to any guard or support provided for the same or permit an animal to bite or otherwise injure any tree or shrub.

§ 379-5 Protection from chemical damage.

No person shall permit any brine, gas or injurious chemical or liquid to come in contact with the stump or roots of any tree or shrub upon a public highway.

§ 379-6 Interference with Compliance Officer prohibited.

[Amended 5-18-1982 by Ord. No. 82-2]
No person shall prevent, delay or interfere with any lawful work undertaken by the Compliance Officer or its authorized agent.

§ 379-7 Removal of certain growths.

A. 
Removal required; notice. In case any tree or shrub or any part thereof along the public highway shall become dangerous to the public safety, the owner of the property in front of which such tree or shrub shall be shall remove the same or the required part thereof forthwith upon service of written directive to that effect from the Compliance Officer. The notice shall be sufficient if served in the same manner as a summons may be served in accordance with the New Jersey Rules of Court.
B. 
Standards established.
[Amended 5-18-1982 by Ord. No. 82-2]
(1) 
The owner or tenant of any lands lying within the Borough shall keep all brush, hedges and other plant life growing within 10 feet of any roadway and within 25 feet of the intersection of two roadways cut to a height of not more than 2 1/2 feet. This shall not require the cutting down of any trees where there is vision through the trees at a height between 2 1/2 feet and eight feet from the ground.
(2) 
The owner or tenant of any lands lying within the Borough shall keep all trees and shrubs trimmed so that they shall not obstruct sidewalks below seven feet above the sidewalk.
C. 
Removal by the Borough. If the owner fails to remove the tree or shrub or portion thereof within two weeks after service of written notice to do so, the work shall be performed by the Borough under the supervision of the Compliance Officer, who shall certify the cost thereof to the Council.
D. 
Costs charged against land; lien established. Upon receipt of the certified costs, the Council shall examine same and, if found correct, shall cause the costs to be charged against the lands or, if the Council deems the costs to be excessive, shall cause the reasonable cost thereof to be charged against the lands. The amount so charged shall forthwith become a lien upon the lands and shall be added to and become and form a part of the taxes next to be assessed and levied upon the lands, the same to bear interest at the same rate as other taxes, and shall be collected and enforced by the same officer and in the same manner as taxes.

§ 379-8 Noncompliance.

[Amended 5-18-1982 by Ord. No. 82-2]
If any person shall continue to violate any of the provisions of this article after being duly notified of such violation or shall neglect or refuse to comply with any lawful order of the Compliance Officer, such person shall be subject to the penalties in Chapter 1, Article I, General Penalty.
[Adopted 2-28-1990 by Ord. No. 90-1 (Ch. 166, Art. II, of the 1982 Code)]

§ 379-9 Title.

This article shall be known as the "Gibbsboro Borough Tree Protection Ordinance."

§ 379-10 Purpose; intent.

A. 
The purpose of this article is to establish protective regulations for trees within the Borough of Gibbsboro in order to control problems of flooding, soil erosion, air and noise pollution and to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
B. 
The intent of this article is to encourage the protection of the greatest number of trees within the tree protection zone and of large specimen trees throughout the Borough, regardless of location.

§ 379-11 Word usage; definitions.

A. 
For purposes of this article, the singular number shall include the plural and the plural number shall include the singular unless the context clearly denotes otherwise.
B. 
As used herein, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BOROUGH
The Borough of Gibbsboro or its designated representative.
CROWN
The branches and foliage of a tree; the upper portion of a tree.
DRIPLINE
The perimeter line on the ground measured from the outermost edge of the vertical plane established by the branches of a tree.
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
An individual certified as a landscape architect by the State of New Jersey.
LANDSCAPE CONTRACTOR
An individual who has been gainfully employed for a period of at least five years in a position involving the care and planting of trees.
PERMIT
Any permit in writing as issued by a designated Borough official.
PERSON
A corporation, company, association, society, firm, partnership or joint-stock company, as well as an individual, and all political subdivisions or any agency or instrumentality thereof.
QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL FORESTER
An individual who has a B.S. degree from a four-year school of forestry accredited by the Society of American Foresters.
SPECIMEN TREE
A tree with a diameter of 30 inches or greater; or a unique, rare or otherwise specifically selected plant or tree which most typically represents a whole class or group, specifically in shape, form, historical importance or any other characteristics which may be designated as such by the Borough.
TREE
Any woody perennial plant usually having but one main stem or trunk and with a definitely formed crown and with a mature height of 10 feet or more.
TREE DIAMETER
The width of a tree measured 4 1/2 feet above the ground equal to 22/7 of the circumference.
TREE PROTECTION ZONE
That portion of the lot not covered by the proposed building or improvement or within a distance of 10 feet from the perimeter of said building or improvement or the proposed cartway, the sidewalk portion of a street right-of-way, a utility easement or parking area.
TREE REMOVAL
The cutting down of a tree, the transplanting of a tree to a site other than under development or the infliction of damage to a tree which is of such severity as to show evidence within a period of two years of irreparable harm leading to the ultimate death of the tree.
TREE ROOT AREA
The area under a tree extending from the trunk to the dripline.

§ 379-12 Permit required; applicability; procedure; appeals; fees.

A. 
No person, directly or indirectly, shall, without first obtaining a permit, as herein provided, remove or relocate to another site any tree within a tree protection zone or remove any specimen tree having a diameter of 30 inches or greater, regardless of location. "Removal" shall include, but not be limited to, damage inflicted to the root system by machinery, storage of materials and soil compaction, changing the natural grade above or below the root system or around the trunk; damage inflicted on the tree permitting fungus infection or pest infestation; excessive pruning; excessive thinning; paving with concrete, asphalt or other impervious material within such proximity as to be harmful to the tree.
B. 
The provisions of the section shall be applicable to all property owners in the Borough with the following exceptions:
(1) 
Individual lot owners removing less than two trees at any one time or six in any one year.
(2) 
Utility companies regulated by the Board of Public Utilities or municipal utility authorities or agencies maintaining easements or rights-of-way in the normal course of business.
(3) 
Communications companies regulated by the Federal Communications Commission maintaining clearance for communications equipment.
(4) 
Trees which, in the opinion of the Borough, its employees or its agents, constitute an immediate threat to the health, safety or welfare of the general public.
C. 
The requirements contained herein shall be considered the minimum standards to be maintained.
D. 
Permit procedure.
(1) 
Before a building permit is issued or, in the case of a site plan application or subdivision application pursuant to Chapters 324 and 358 of the Code of the Borough of Gibbsboro, at the time of application for said approval, the applicant shall submit a site plan or lot survey showing the location of all existing trees having a tree diameter of eight inches or greater by genus, size and condition, and:
(a) 
The location of trees to be removed and the trees to be maintained, including their trunk and driplines. When groups of trees are to be saved, only the locations of the trees on the perimeter shall be shown.
(b) 
The specifications for the removal of existing trees and protection of existing trees during construction.
(c) 
Any grade changes or other work adjacent to the tree which may affect it, with specifications on how the grade, drainage and aeration will be maintained around the tree.
(2) 
All applications for tree removal or relocation shall be immediately referred by the Administrative Officer or his designee to the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council for its recommendation for approval at public meeting to determine whether or not such removal or relocation conforms to the requirements of this article. Failure on the part of the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council to reply within 30 days, provided that the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council receives the application at least 10 days in advance of a regularly scheduled public meeting, shall be deemed a recommendation of approval. In the event that the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council recommends the denial of an application, it shall specify to the applicant, in writing, the reason for the action. The Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment, as the case may be, shall review and consider the recommendation of the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council as part of the review of a site plan or subdivision and the recommendation shall be made part of the record before the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment. An application for the approval of tree removal not requiring action by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment shall be determined by the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council. A building permit which requires tree removal shall not be issued unless the issuance of a tree removal permit has been recommended by the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council.
(3) 
The Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council may request a review of the tree removal plan by the Borough Engineer and/or Planner, which may include inspection of the subject property. All reviews and inspections by the Engineer and/or Planner shall be paid for by the applicant through the deposit of escrow funds not to exceed the cost of inspection.
(4) 
The Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council shall recommend approval of the permit if one or more of the following conditions is present:
(a) 
To remove trees which pose a safety hazard to pedestrian or vehicular traffic, or threaten to cause disruption of public services.
(b) 
To remove trees which pose a safety hazard to buildings.
(c) 
To remove diseased trees, trees infested with destructive insects liable to infect the healthy trees on adjacent property or trees weakened by age, storm, fire or other injury.
(d) 
To observe good forestry practices, i.e., the number of healthy trees that a given parcel of land will support when documented by a report prepared on behalf of the developer by a qualified professional forester or a certified landscape architect.
(e) 
For the compliance with other codes, such as zoning and subdivision regulations, health and other environmental ordinances.
(f) 
Other conditions which, in the judgment of the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council, warrant the removal of the tree.
E. 
Any person aggrieved by an action of the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council for tree removal may file an appeal to the Planning Board within 14 days of said action. The Planning Board shall have 45 days in which to render a decision either affirming, denying or modifying the action of the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council.
F. 
Fees.
(1) 
The fee for the issuance of a tree removal permit by the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council shall be in accordance with the following schedule:
(a) 
From three to 10 trees: $25.
(b) 
From 11 to 20 trees: $50.
(c) 
From 21 to 50 trees: $100.
(d) 
Greater than 50 trees: $100 per 50 trees or fraction thereof.
(2) 
For the purposes of this subsection, each lot shall be considered a separate and distinct application for which a fee shall be paid.

§ 379-13 Standards for protection.

All persons shall exercise due care to protect trees which are to be retained from damage during construction. The following procedures shall be observed in order to protect remaining trees.
A. 
Protection from mechanical injury.
(1) 
Prior to any grubbing or clearing, all trees in the tree protection zone to a depth of 25 feet shall be protected from equipment damage by enclosing the dripline within sections of snow fence or by other suitable means. All exposed roots, trunks and low-hanging branches shall be equally protected. Groups of trees may be protected by fencing the entire area where they are located.
(2) 
Compaction of the ground by mechanical, vehicular or other means within the dripline area shall not be permitted.
(3) 
Feeder roots should not be cut within the dripline. Unavoidable cuts shall be made with pruning shears or other tools which shall make a clean cut.
(4) 
Tree trunks and exposed roots accidentally damaged during construction shall be protected from further damage. Damaged branches shall be sawed off at the branch collar. No shellac or pruning paint shall be used. When the portion of the tree that is to be removed is diseased, the pruning equipment shall be dipped in alcohol prior to use on another tree to prevent the spread of the disease.
(5) 
Deciduous trees shall be given an application of liquid, slow-release, low-nitrogen, all-purpose fertilizer to aid in their recovery from possible damage caused by construction operations. Such application shall be made at a distance of one foot from the trunk to the dripline and shall be made as soon as construction is completed and again one year after the first application has been made.
(6) 
Trees shall not be used for roping, cables, signs or fencing. Nails and spikes shall not be driven into trees.
(7) 
The area around the base of existing trees shall be left open to provide access for water and nutrients. No impervious cover, storage of equipment, materials, debris or fill shall be allowed within the dripline of any existing tree. In the event that no other storage area is available on site, materials may be stored for a period not to exceed three months.
(8) 
Trees being removed shall not be felled, pushed or pulled into a tree protection zone or into trees that are to be retained.
B. 
Protection from grade change.
(1) 
Increase in grade. If an increase in the grade of the land is proposed, the developer shall install either:
(a) 
A system of gravel and drain tiles at the old soil level which opens into a dry well built around the trunk and designed for each tree, individually fitting the contour of the land so that it drains water away from the tree trunk; or
(b) 
A retaining wall between the existing grade and the higher grade. A detailed plan for each proposed retaining wall shall be provided.
(2) 
Lowering the grade. If a lowering of the grade is proposed, one of the following methods to protect the trees shall be initiated:
(a) 
Terracing the grade at the dripline and out from the tree.
(b) 
A retaining wall between the existing grade and the lower. A detailed plan for each proposed retaining wall shall be provided.
(3) 
Excessive grade change. If the proposed grade change, in the opinion of the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council, is too excessive to allow the retention of existing trees, the developer shall be required to replace the trees to be removed on the basis of one inch of new tree diameter for every four inches of tree diameter to be removed. Replacement trees shall be from native species and shall be approved by the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council.
C. 
Protection from excavation. Trenches for utility lines or other similar uses shall adhere to the following, listed in descending order of preference:
(1) 
Trenches shall bypass the root area, unless the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council determines that no other practical alternative exists; in which case
(2) 
Trenches should be tunneled under the trees, unless the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council determines that no practical alternative exists; in which case
(3) 
Trenches may be dug within the dripline of a tree, provided that the following precautions shall be observed:
(a) 
Trenches shall be no closer to the trunk than half the distance from the dripline.
(b) 
Roots shall be cut with sharp instruments to reduce the potential damage to the tree.
(c) 
The trench shall be backfilled within the shortest amount of time possible and the soil shall not be compacted.
D. 
Protection during cleanup.
(1) 
All construction debris shall be hauled to an approved landfill and shall not be burned or buried.
(2) 
Snow fences, barriers or other tree protection devices shall be the final item to be removed from the site prior to occupancy.

§ 379-14 Planting of new trees.

A. 
Replacement of trees lost during construction or illegal removal. The Borough and the Environmental Commission or such other body or persons as designated by resolution of the Borough Council shall be consulted before any replacement trees are planted and shall approve or disapprove the species proposed for planting. New trees shall have a minimum diameter of 2 1/2 inches measured six inches above the ground. Planting shall be in accordance with the standards specified by the American Nurserymen's Association.
B. 
Criteria for selection of new trees. Replacement trees shall be of the same species that were removed or, with the Borough's approval, with other tree species native to Camden County. In selecting replacement trees, the following criteria shall be used in their selection. These guidelines shall also be followed in site planning to determine which trees shall be retained or removed.
(1) 
Positive criteria:
(a) 
A species that is long-lived.
(b) 
A species that is native to the area.
(c) 
The hardiness of the tree, including but not limited to, wind firmness, climate requirements and the characteristic of the soil.
(d) 
A species with good aesthetic value, including autumnal coloration, flower and fruit types and tree shape.
(e) 
A low incidence of exfoliating bark, branch drop and pruning.
(f) 
The protection of buildings from wind, sun and other climatic characteristics.
(g) 
The encouragement of wildlife residence.
(h) 
The suitability of size at maturity to the tree's function.
(i) 
The ability to retain soil and control erosion.
(j) 
The ability to reduce noise.
(2) 
Negative criteria.
(a) 
Susceptibility to insect and disease attack and to air or water pollution.
(b) 
Existence of disease, rot or other damage to the individual tree.

§ 379-15 Violations and penalties.

A. 
Any person who shall violate any provision of this article shall be subject to a penalty as provided in Chapter 1, Article I, General Penalty.
B. 
If the violation is continuing in nature, each day during which it continues shall constitute an additional, separate and distinct offense.

§ 379-16 Other remedies.

No provision of this article shall be construed to impair any common law or statutory course of action or legal remedy therefrom for any violation of this article.