Township of Pennsauken, NJ
Camden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Pennsauken 3-13-1978 by Ord. No. 78-3 as §§ 78-7, 78-8, 78-9, 78-11 and 78-23 of Ch. 78 of the 1977 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Shade Tree Commission — See Ch. 9, Art. VII.
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 111.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 243.
Maintenance of sidewalk area — See Ch. 273, Art. I.
Weeds — See Ch. 349.

§ 289-1 Assessment of costs of trees and improvements.

A. 
Except as hereinafter provided, the initial cost of all trees planted by the Shade Tree Commission, the cost of planting the same, the cost of the posts and boxes or guards used for the protection thereof and the cost of the removal of any tree or part thereof dangerous to public safety shall, if the Commission shall so determine in accordance with uniform rules and regulations promulgated for this purpose, be a charge upon the real estate in front of which such tree or trees shall be planted or removed as an improvement thereof. Such cost, if it is so determined that it is to be paid by the owner, shall, unless paid directly to the Commission, be certified by it to the Collector of Taxes of the municipality, shall thereupon become and be a lien upon said real estate, shall be included in the next tax bill rendered to the owner or owners thereof and shall be collected in the same manner as other taxes against that property.
B. 
The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
(1) 
A planting to replace a tree or trees theretofore planted by the Commission.
(2) 
A planting in connection with Arbor Day exercises or other educational demonstrations.

§ 289-2 Notice of proposed planting or removal; hearing.

In every case where the property of an abutting owner will be chargeable with the cost of the planting of any shade tree or trees, the Shade Tree Commission shall give notice of the meeting at which it is proposed to consider said planting by publishing the notice at least once, not less than 20 days before the meeting, in a newspaper circulating in the municipality and by personal service of a copy of the notice upon the abutting owner at least 10 days before the meeting. The notice shall specify the street, streets or portions thereof on which such planting is proposed and shall require all persons who may object thereto to present their objections, in writing, at the office of the Commission at or before the meeting. Before final action shall be taken, all objections so filed shall be considered. The Commission shall give reasonable notice of its intention to remove or to cause the removal of a tree or part of a tree dangerous to public safety, unless public safety requires immediate removal, in which case no notice shall be necessary.

§ 289-3 Public improvements affecting trees; effect on county park commissions.

A. 
No statute giving any person or state, county or municipal board, body or official the power or authority to lay any sidewalk along or to open, construct, curb or pave any street or to do any similar act shall be construed to permit or authorize any interference with or injury to a highway shade tree without the consent of the Shade Thee Commission within whose jurisdiction such tree shall be located. In all cases, such Commission shall reasonably cooperate with such person, board, body or official for the general public good.
B. 
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be held to take away or diminish any of the powers or authority of any county park commission over the trees or shrubbery in any county park or parkway within its jurisdiction or to give any other commission or board any power or authority with respect to such trees or shrubbery.

§ 289-4 Official curbside tree species.

[Amended 4-13-1994 by Ord. No. 94-24; 11-18-2013 by Ord. No. 2013:22]
The following list constitutes the official curbside tree species for Pennsauken Township. No species other than those included in this list may be planted as curbside trees without permission of the Shade Tree Commission. (For purposes of this chapter, "curbside" is defined as the area inside the face of the curb and the outside edge of the walkway or property line).
A. 
In curbside areas 24 inches to 30 inches in width, the following species can be planted:
(1) 
Eastern redbud (Cercis Canadensis).
(2) 
European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus).
(3) 
Golden rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata).
(4) 
Hedge maple (Acer campestre).
(5) 
Japanese lilac (Syringa reticulata).
(6) 
Paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera).
(7) 
Redspire pear (Pyrus calleryana redspire).
(8) 
Thundercloud plum (Prunus cerasifera thundercloud).
B. 
In curbside areas 30 inches to 36 inches in width, the following species can be planted:
(1) 
Katsura tree (Cercidiphylum japonicum).
(2) 
Korean mountain ash (Sorbus alnifolia).
(3) 
Little leaf linden (Tilia cordata).
(4) 
Newton sentry sugar maple (Acer saccharum newton sentry).
(5) 
Princeton upright scholar tree (Sophora japonica sr. upright).
(6) 
Thornless honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos inermis).
C. 
In curbside areas 36 inches to 48 inches in width, the following species can be planted:
(1) 
Armstrong red maple (Acer rubrum armstrong).
(2) 
Bonfire sugar maple (Acer saccharum bonfire).
(3) 
Green mountain sugar maple (Acer saccharum green mountain).
(4) 
Greenspire linden (Tilia cordata greenspire).
(5) 
Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).
(6) 
Marshall seedless green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica seedless).
(7) 
October glory red maple (Acer rubrum october glory).
(8) 
Red sunset maple (Acer rubrum red sunset).
(9) 
Ruby horse chestnut (Aesculus carnea briotti).
(10) 
Village green zelkova (Zelcova serrata village green).
D. 
In curbside areas 48 inches plus in width, the following species can be planted:
(1) 
Saw tooth oak (Quercus acutissima).
(2) 
White oak (Quercus alba).
(3) 
Willow oak (Quercus phellos).

§ 289-5 Tree placement.

No tree may be planted closer than:
A. 
Ten feet to a utility pole.
B. 
Seven feet to a fire hydrant.
C. 
Twenty-five feet to an existing tree.
D. 
Twenty feet to a street intersection.
E. 
Seven feet to a water sewer or other underground utilities.
F. 
Seven feet to the widest part of a driveway entrance.

§ 289-6 Public tree care; removal of injurious trees.

A. 
The Township shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within the lines of all streets, alleys, avenues, lanes, squares and public grounds, as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds.
B. 
The Township Shade Tree Commission may remove or cause or order to be removed any tree or part thereof which is in any unsafe condition or which by reason of its nature is injurious to sewer lines, gas lines, waterlines or other public improvements or is affected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest. This section does not prohibit the planting of street trees by adjacent property owners, provided that the selection and location of said trees is in accordance with §§ 289-11 and 289-12 of this chapter.

§ 289-7 Tree topping.

It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person or firm to top any street tree, park tree or other tree on public property. "Topping" is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree's crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical may be exempted from this chapter at the determination of the Township Shade Tree Commission.

§ 289-8 Pruning; corner clearance.

Every owner of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the Township shall prune the branches so that such branches shall not obstruct the view of any street intersection and shall not obstruct the light from any street lamp and so that there shall be a clear space of eight feet above the surface of the street or sidewalk. Said owners shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public. The Township shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a streetlight or interferes with visibility of any traffic control device or sign.

§ 289-9 Stump removal.

[Amended 4-13-1994 by Ord. No. 94-24; 12-2-2009 by Ord. No. 2009:28]
It is the property owner’s responsibility to have all stumps of street trees removed below the surface of the ground within 90 days of removal of the tree so that the top of the stump shall not project above the surface of the ground.

§ 289-10 License required for arborists; exceptions; liability insurance.

It shall be unlawful for any person or firm to engage in the business or occupation of pruning, treating or removing street trees within the Township without first applying for and procuring a license. The license fee shall be $25 annually in advance; provided, however, that no license shall be required of any public service company or Township department doing such work in pursuit of their public service endeavors or private property owner performing work on his or her property or tree limbs that cross his or her property. Before any license shall be issued, each applicant shall first file evidence of possession of liability insurance in the minimum amounts of $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 property damage indemnifying the Township or any person injured or damaged resulting from the pursuit of such endeavors as herein described.

§ 289-11 Ownership; approval required prior to work by property owners on curbside trees.

[Amended 4-13-1994 by Ord. No. 94-24]
Trees planted or existing between the curbline and the sidewalk abutting property is owned by and the responsibility of the property owner; subject, however, to the authority of the Shade Tree Commission as provided in this section. The property owner is required to maintain the area between the curbline and the sidewalk as is provided for in § 273-3, Removal of grass, trees and weeds.

§ 289-12 Attachment of items to curbside trees prohibited.

It is unlawful to attach, in any manner, chains or signs of any sort to any curbside tree or to place any nails of any type into any curbside tree.

§ 289-13 Disposition of fines and penalties.

All moneys collected in any municipality, either as fines or penalties, for any violation of a rule or regulation of a Shade Tree Commission or as a charge against real estate under any provision of this chapter shall be forthwith paid over to the municipal officer empowered to be the custodian of the funds of the municipality.

§ 289-14 Limitation of liability.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to make any Shade Tree Commission or any member thereof responsible for the death or injury of any person or for any injury to any property or highway tree or shrub.

§ 289-15 Authorization to promulgate rules and regulations.

The Shade Tree Commission is hereby authorized and empowered to promulgate such written rules and regulations as may be necessary, pursuant to statute, for the proper interpretation, administration and enforcement of this basic chapter, provided that such rules and regulations do not conflict with this chapter and conform to the general standards prescribed by this chapter.

§ 289-16 Violations and penalties; enforcement.

A. 
The Commission may prescribe a fine for the violation of each of its ordinances in an amount not exceeding $200 for each violation, and the courts which now or hereafter shall have jurisdiction over actions for the violation of ordinances of the municipality in which the Commission has been or shall be appointed shall have jurisdiction in actions for the violation of such ordinances as the Commission shall enact.
B. 
The ordinances shall be enforced by like proceedings and process, and the practice for the enforcement thereof shall be the same as that provided by law for the enforcement of the ordinances of the municipality in which the Commission exists.
C. 
The officers authorized by law to serve and execute process in the aforementioned courts shall be the officers to serve and execute any process issued out of any court under this chapter.
D. 
A copy of any ordinance of the Commission certified to under the hand of its Secretary or Chairperson shall be received in any court of this state as full and legal proof of the existence of the ordinance and that all requirements of law in relation to the ordaining, publishing and making of the same, so as to make it legal and binding, have been complied with, unless the contrary is shown.