[Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Linwood 9-8-2004 by Ord. No. 13-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 244
Zoning — See Ch. 277.
The City of Linwood finds that the development of unimproved or the redevelopment of improved land may result in clear cutting of trees which can create increased surface water runoff and soil erosion. It further finds that such excessive removal of trees can produce serious negative visual, economic and environmental effects not only on the individual properties but also upon the neighboring properties and the community at large. This chapter is intended to protect the quality of life and the character of the natural and built environment.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A person submitting an application for development.
- A submission for Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment or Construction Code Official approval.
- LOT DISTURBANCE
- Any activity involving clearing, cutting, excavating, filling or grading of land or any other activity that alters land topography or vegetative cover.
The regulations promulgated by this chapter shall only apply to applications for development, redevelopment or site improvement that require approval from the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment or the Construction Code Official.
Schedule of maximum lot disturbance.
There will be a maximum of 65% lot disturbance per site permitted for all non-single-family residential uses.
For all applications, the initial clearing will be limited to the clearing necessary to construct all roadways and drainage facilities only. In no case will the applicant be permitted to clear any building lots during this initial clearing phase. All building lots may only be cleared on an individual basis upon the issuance of a building permit.
If the applicant cannot meet the lot disturbance requirements, a landscape plan that addresses all areas of additional disturbance must be submitted for approval by the Planning Board. The applicant will be required to show the replacement of all trees removed in excess of the maximum lot disturbance regulations. The replacement trees shall be provided at a rate of one tree for each additional tree removed and shall be a minimum of 2 1/2 inches to three inches caliper and eight-foot to ten-foot planting height or a substitute approved by the Planning Board. The applicant will also be required to flag and well all eight inches or greater diameter trees that are outside the building envelope to be saved as part of the landscaping plan.
All individual plot plans must conform to all provisions of the lot disturbance requirements. All plot plans must contain the limits of disturbance, existing and proposed grading, existing trees to be preserved and any trees to be installed in conjunction with the landscaping plan. The Planning Board Engineer will complete an inspection of all building lots prior to the issuance of a building permit to ensure compliance with the lot disturbance regulations.
An applicant shall remove only such trees, vegetation and underbrush as is necessary to construct and install the structure and improvements authorized by the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment. At no time should any lot disturbance occur prior to receiving municipal approvals. Such clearing shall only be authorized subsequent to the owner or developer having satisfactorily addressed all conditions of development approval. All sites should be developed, to the extent possible, in a manner which will result in the least amount of disturbance to the natural environment.
An applicant may be permitted to perform selective clearing to remove dead or damaged trees, underbrush and undesirable vegetation. The areas and extent of selective clearing must be indicated on the plan of the development. All selective clearing must be approved by the Construction Code Official prior to the commencement of any clearing.
Where selective clearing is to occur in a required buffer area of a site plan or major subdivision, the applicant shall be required to maintain a screening buffer in accordance with the buffer and landscape requirements as set forth in the Zoning Ordinance and shall be required to replace any planting removed in the course of selective clearing operations which is required as part of the buffer.
All selective clearing operations shall be performed in strict accordance with the applicable state, federal and local regulations. All cleared material, including but not limited to trees, branches, stumps, brush, refuse and other deleterious matter, shall be removed from the site and recycled or disposed of at a permitted solid waste facility approved by the State of New Jersey that accepts such materials.
All plant material to be preserved shall be protected from damage during construction by fencing or a similar barrier. Tree protection devices shall be installed before any excavation or grading is initiated and shall be maintained for the duration of the construction period. The location and extend of all protection devices shall be indicated on the landscaping plan. As a minimum precaution, the applicant shall install snow fencing supported by steel posts adjacent to the areas where plant materials are to be protected. Any damage incurred to existing trees shall be immediately repaired. Roots exposed and/or damaged during grading operations shall be immediately trimmed, treated and covered with topsoil.
Trees may be preserved in areas where less than 24 inches of fill is proposed by observing the following procedures. Such trees shall be protected by a cylindrical sheath of galvanized metal placed within six inches of the trunk on all sides. Before soil is placed over the root area, a layer of broken stone or coarse gravel shall be laid down to within six inches of the finished grade. A one-half-inch-thick fiberglass blanket with seams lapped at least six inches shall be spread over the gravel to enhance air circulation to the root zone. The remaining elevation shall be filled with topsoil. The area to be treated in this manner shall extend to the outer dripline of the branches.
Of the trees that are to remain on the lot, a minimum of 25% of deciduous trees must be preserved in the front yard of the home, a minimum of 25% of deciduous trees must be preserved in the side yards of the home and a maximum of 50% of the deciduous preservation area may be in the rear of the home.
In addition to any other penalties provided by law or regulation, violators of any provision of this chapter may be required to restore the subject property to its original level and type of vegetation.