Township of Toms River, NJ
Ocean County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Township Council of the Township of Toms River 12-9-2008 by Ord. No. 4168-08.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fences, plantings and walls — See Ch. 291.
Land use and development regulations — See Ch. 348.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance repealed former Ch. 471, Trees, adopted 11-27-1973 by Ord. No. 1378 as Ch. 471 of the 1973 Code, as amended. Ordinance No. 3977-05, adopted 12-13-2005, added a new Art. XII, Woodlands Management, to Ch. 348, Land Use and Development Regulations. Section 2 of that ordinance provided as follows: Chapter 471 of the Code of the Township of Toms River, New Jersey, entitled "Trees," shall be continued in full force and effect for all developments which were approved prior to the enactment of this ordinance. For all subsequent applications, the terms and provisions of this ordinance shall supersede and supplant said Chapter 471.

§ 471-1 Short title.

The short title of this chapter shall be "The Tree Ordinance," and this chapter shall hereafter be cited or referred to for purposes of amendment or otherwise by said title.

§ 471-2 Purpose.

The intent and purpose of this chapter is to preserve coniferous and deciduous trees, flowering trees and shrubs growing in a natural state within this municipality.

§ 471-3 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CONSERVATION OFFICER
A person professionally qualified and appointed by the Toms River Township Council to supervise the conservation of trees and soil within the municipality.
MANAGEMENT PLAN
A plan for the management of timbered or forested lands developed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Forestry, or similar state or federal agency and approved by the Conservation Officer.
NURSERY, GARDEN CENTER, ORCHARD or TREE FARM
Only such land within the municipality used for horticultural purposes under controlled agricultural conditions.
PARK TREE
Trees, shrubs, bushes and all other woody vegetation in public parks having individual names, and all areas owned by the Township.
PERMIT
A license issued by the Conservation Officer or Shade Tree Foreman of the Township of Toms River to remove or destroy trees or shrubs.
PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
Any street or road shown upon a map or plan filed in the Ocean County Clerk's office or on the Official Map of the Township of Toms River.
SAPLING
Woody vegetation not more than three inches (deciduous) or four inches (coniferous) in diameter measured at six inches from ground level, exclusive of woody vines.
SHADE TREE
Trees, shrubs, bushes and all other woody vegetation on land lying between property lines on either side of all streets, avenues or ways within the Township.
SHADE TREE FOREMAN
A foreman within the Department of Parks, Buildings and Public Lands who is professionally qualified and designated to supervise the management and conservation of all shade and park trees within the municipality.
SHRUB
Woody vegetation less than 20 feet tall, including multistemmed, bushy vegetation.
SPECIMEN TREE
Any living deciduous or coniferous tree(s) that has superior characteristics and quality when compared to trees of the same species or other trees in its vicinity within the Township of Toms River. Such a tree must also have a circumference that is 50% of the registered circumference of the same species as noted in New Jersey's Record Trees. The determination of a "specimen tree" can be made by inspection of the Conservation Officer, the Environmental Commission or their designated agents.
TREE
Any living deciduous trees having a trunk of a diameter greater than three inches DBH (diameter breast high), any living coniferous tree having a trunk of a diameter greater than four inches DBH, or any living dogwood (carnus flarida) or American holly (ilex opaca) tree having a diameter of one inch or greater DBH.

§ 471-4 Permit required for removal of trees or shrubs.

No person is to remove or destroy, or cause to be removed or destroyed, any tree or shrub growing in the Township of Toms River without having obtained a permit as provided in this section.
A. 
Application for permit with building permit. Upon application for a building permit for any construction which would cause the removal or destruction, wholly or partially, of any tree or shrub, the applicant shall indicate upon a plot plan, which shall accompany such application, the location of all trees and shrubs and shall designate which trees, if any, are to be removed or destroyed. A copy of such plot plan shall be filed by the applicant with the Department of Engineering, Construction Services and Community Development, and Toms River Township Environmental Commission, which shall review the same and notify the department head, or his/her designees, of its recommendations, which shall not be binding upon same. Said recommendations shall be forwarded to the department head or his/her designee within 15 days of receipt of the same by the Environmental Commission, failing in which, the department head may grant or deny a permit without further delay. The Building Inspector shall issue a building permit whenever an application and plot plan indicate that trees or shrubs shall be destroyed or removed, only upon approval by the department head or his/her designee.
[Amended 1-24-2017 by Ord. No. 4524-17]
B. 
Application for permit without building permit. Application for a permit for the removal or destruction of trees or shrubs, as required under this chapter, where a building permit is not immediately involved, shall be made directly to the department head, or his/her designee, and shall contain the name of the applicant, the location of the property and plot plan, as aforesaid, and, in addition thereto, the purposes for which the application is being made, including but not limited to the following: clearing land for agricultural use, harvesting timber, fire protection, industrial use, private parks, scenic improvement, hardship or danger to adjacent properties, removal of diseased or damaged trees, transplanting or removal in a growing condition to other locations, installation of utilities or drainage of surface water. A copy of the plot plan shall be filed with the Environmental Commission, which shall act upon the application as hereinabove stated within 15 days of the date of receipt, and if the Commission shall not have acted upon the application within such period, the department head, or his/her designee, may grant or deny a permit without further delay.
C. 
Residential lots of less than one acre. Any residential lot with a size of less than one acre shall be exempt from the permit requirements set forth in § 471-4A. However, any such lot shall not be cleared of all trees or shrubs which now exist on the property. Fifteen percent of those trees or shrubs shall remain and, where construction is involved, must be protected as set forth in § 471-7. If site conditions significantly impair or prohibit the compliance with this section, then written permission must be obtained from the department head or his/her designee allowing the removal of more than 85% of those trees or shrubs presently existing on the lot.
D. 
Standards. Prior to the issuance of a permit by the department head, his/her designees, the Conservation Officer or Shade Tree Foreman, the lands covered by each application shall be viewed by one of these individuals, who shall inspect the same as to the trees and shrubs which are the subject of the application, as well as drainage and other physical conditions existing on the property and adjacent property, and said individual shall issue the permit upon a finding that the destruction or removal to be permitted would not impair the growth and development of the remaining trees and shrubs on the property of the applicant or adjacent properties, would not cause soil erosion, would not impair existing drainage patterns, would not lessen property values in the neighborhood, will not require the removal of a specimen tree or trees and would not impair substantially the aesthetic values of the area. The department head, his/her designee, the Conservation Officer or Shade Tree Foreman shall have the authority to affix reasonable conditions to the grant of a permit hereunder.
E. 
Shade and park trees. It shall be unlawful for any person or firm to engage in the business or occupation of pruning, treating or removing shade or park trees within the Township without receiving the written permission of the Shade Tree Foreman. Before any permission is given, each applicant shall first file evidence of possession of liability insurance in the minimum amount of $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for property damage, indemnifying the Township or any person injured or damaged resulting from the pursuit of such endeavors as herein described.

§ 471-5 Planting of shade trees.

A. 
No species other than those included in § 348-8.4D, Chapter 348 (Land Use and Development Regulations) of the Code of the Township of Toms River, may be planted within the shade tree easement or public right-of-way.
B. 
Such trees shall be planted a minimum distance of 40 feet apart, with a maximum spacing of 50 feet apart.
C. 
All trees shall be planted within the shade tree and utility easements or between the sidewalk and property line where such easements are not provided.
D. 
No shade tree shall be planted closer than 25 feet from any street corner, measured from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curblines or otherwise as specified in the sight triangle requirements of § 348-5.7 of the Code of the Township of Toms River.
E. 
No shade tree shall be planted closer than 10 feet from any fire hydrant.

§ 471-6 Shade tree care.

A. 
Right of Township.
(1) 
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.
(2) 
The Division of Shade Trees may remove or cause or order to be removed any tree or part thereof which is in an unsafe condition or which, by reason of its nature, is injurious to sewers, electric power 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 shade trees by adjacent property owners, provided that the selection and location of said trees is in accordance with § 471-5 of this chapter.
B. 
In shall be unlawful, as a normal practice, for any person, firm or Township department to top any shade 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 discretion of the Division of Shade Trees.
C. 
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 light from any streetlamp or obstruct the view of any street intersection as specified in § 348-5.7 of the Code of the Township of Toms River. Such trees shall be cleared to provide a clear space of eight feet above the surface of the street or sidewalk. Said owners may remove all dead trees or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public after written permission is given by the Division of Shade Trees. In addition, each owner or other person performing the above work shall also sign a release exempting the Township from any liabilities or property damage resulting from this work. 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.
D. 
Removal of stumps. All stumps of street and park trees shall be removed below the surface of the ground so that the top of the stump shall not project above the surface of the grounds.

§ 471-7 Protection of trees.

A. 
No soil material, permanent or temporary, shall be placed within six feet of any trees or shrubs. Where grading may be required, trees shall be walled in and extension-tiled to the outer crown of the trees. If necessary, trees shall be properly boxed with fencing to prevent mechanical damage during construction. If tree limbs are to be removed, cuts shall be made as close as possible to the trunk or parent limb without cutting into the branch collar or leaving a significant protruding stub.
B. 
No person shall do any of the following acts to any park or shade trees:
(1) 
Spray with any chemical or apply any substances to the trunk or limbs.
(2) 
Fasten any rope, wire, sign or other device.
(3) 
Remove or damage any guard or device placed to protect any tree or shrub.
(4) 
Conduct razing, removal or renovation of any structure if deemed by the Division to be damaging to neighboring shade trees.
(5) 
Place or distribute chemicals, including salt, which are deleterious to tree health.
(6) 
Maintain a stationary fire or device which vaporizes noxious fumes which are deleterious to tree health.
(7) 
Remove soil, either for trenching or otherwise, from either the shade tree easement or public right-of-way that could cause damage to the roots or trunk of a shade tree.
(8) 
Climb with spikes or break or damage.

§ 471-8 Exemptions.

The following lands or activities shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter: nurseries, garden centers, orchards and tree farms, lands operated under an approved management plan, engineers and surveyors engaged in professional activity and building lots of one acre or less, provided that they are not part of a major subdivision of lots being prepared for use or sold as home sites. Notwithstanding the foregoing, building lots of one acre or less must conform to the provisions of § 471-4C.

§ 471-9 Fees.

For the issuance of a permit, the applicant shall pay to the Township of Toms River the following fees:
A. 
Twenty-five dollars per vacant building lot, as shown on any filed subdivision map, but if said map has been vacated pursuant to law or if no filed map exists, then as lots are shown on the Official Tax Map.
B. 
Lands other than vacant building lots of less than two acres: $35 per acre or part thereof, but only as to that portion of the plot plan representing areas of tree or shrub growth.
C. 
No fees shall be charged for a permit authorizing the transplanting of trees or shrubs in live condition to other locations or the removal of diseased or damaged trees or shrubs.

§ 471-10 Appeals.

Whenever any application for the permit shall be denied, the applicant may appeal the denial to the Environmental Commission by filing a written notice of appeal with the Secretary of the Commission within 10 days after receiving written notice of the denial of such application. The Environmental Commission shall thereafter hold a public hearing on the matter, in accordance with rules or procedures to be established by it, and may modify, affirm or reverse the decision .

§ 471-11 Violations and penalties.

A. 
For any and every violation of the provisions of this chapter, the owner, general agent or contractor of a building or premises where such violation has been committed or shall exist and the lessee or tenant of an entire building or entire premises where such violations have been committed or shall exist and the owner, general agent, contractor, lessee or tenant of any part of a building or premises in which part such violation has been committed or shall exist and the general agent, architect, building contractor or any other person who commits, takes part or assists in such violation or who maintains any building or premises in which any such violation shall exist shall, for each and every day that such violation continues, be subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 or be imprisoned for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both. Each tree, sapling or shrub destroyed or removed in violation of this chapter shall be considered a separate violation.
B. 
Any clearing of trees, saplings or shrubs beyond that which is approved by permit or was done without a permit will require compensatory replacement of vegetation at the rate of one tree and two shrubs per 250 square feet of over-cleared area. A revegetation plan must be submitted to the Department of Parks, Buildings and Public Lands, the Department of Engineering, Construction Services and Community Development, the Conservation Officer and Environmental Commission for review and approval. This can be done in lieu of any penalties assessed in accordance with the provision of § 471-11A. Sizes and types of vegetation must conform to § 348-8.4 of the Land Use and Development Regulations of the Township of Toms River.
[Amended 1-24-2017 by Ord. No. 4524-17]

§ 471-12 Office of Conservation Officer established.

There is hereby established the office of Conservation Officer. For purposes of administration, the Conservation Officer is to be in the Department of Parks, Buildings and Public Lands, under the direction of the Township Administrator. Where reference is made in this chapter or any other ordinance of the Township of Toms River to the Township Forester, the same shall apply to the Conservation Officer.