[HISTORY: Adopted by the governing body of the Township of Little Falls 12-18-1995 by Ord. No. 753 as Ch. XXII of the 1995 Revised General Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
No person shall do or cause to be done any of the following acts affecting the trees, shrubbery or ornamental material planted or growing naturally within the highways or public places under the jurisdiction of the Township, except with a written permit:
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.
Plant or remove any living tree or shrub, or climb with spikes any living tree or shrub.
Fasten any rope, wire, electric attachment, sign or other device to a tree or shrub, or to any guard about any tree or shrub.
Close or obstruct any open space provided about the base of a tree or shrub to permit the access of air, water or fertilizer to the roots of the tree or shrub.
Pile any building material, or make any mortar or cement within six feet of a tree or shrub.
Change the grade of the soil within the limits of the lateral spread of the branches of any tree.
Application for a permit under § 261-1 shall be made at the office of the Township Clerk on a prescribed form. The Shade Tree Commission, in determining whether to issue a permit, shall take into consideration the nature, species, size, age and condition of any tree involved; the location in the street or park; the planting, care, protection, maintenance or removal procedure required; and the public safety and welfare and the improvement and advancement of the Shade Tree Program of the Commission.
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 Department of Public Works.
The following regulations shall be observed for the protection of trees and shrubs in the Township:
No person shall place any guy wire, brace or other device on any tree in such a manner as to injure it.
No person shall hitch or fasten an 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.
No person shall place salt, brine, oil or any other substance injurious to plant growth in any street or park in such manner as to injure any tree.
No person shall build any fire or station any tar kettle, road roller, fuel oil dispensing truck or other engine in any street or any other place in such manner that the heat, vapors, fuel or fumes therefrom may injure any tree.
Every person having or maintaining any gaslines in any street or park shall maintain all lines in such a manner as will safeguard the trees against any damage and shall make periodic adjustments whenever necessary to prevent damage to trees.
In the erection, alteration or repair of any structure or building, the owner, contractor or other person in charge shall place guards around all nearby trees in order to prevent injury to trees.
No person shall use or operate any power shovel, bulldozer or any other implement, machine or tool in such a manner as to damage or destroy any tree.
No person shall destroy any live tree exceeding three inches in diameter unless the existing location of the tree causes or will cause a hardship or will create a nuisance or hazard to the safety and welfare of the public or the trees to be removed are located within areas to be occupied by buildings, driveways or recreation areas and within a distance of 15 feet around the perimeter of the building; provided, however, that the Shade Tree Commission may specify that certain species of trees within the 15 feet shall remain standing.
No material, machinery or temporary soil deposits shall be placed within six feet of any existing tree trunk or stem during the period of development of the land.
The Shade Tree Commission shall, at the request of the Engineer, issue specifications, including a list of acceptable varieties of trees, covering the size, location and method of planting of shade trees within the street right-of-way or in any parks or playgrounds of any land subdivision. The trees shall be subject to inspection by the Commission and shall be planted under the supervision of and in accordance with the requirements of the Commission. The estimated cost of the trees shall be included in the performance bond of the subdivider. Any necessary replacements of dead, defective or injured trees shall be covered by the maintenance bond of the subdivider.
The Commission shall set up specifications for landscape plans. At the request of the Planning Board, the Commission or its consultant shall review proposed landscape plans for commercial, industrial or apartment projects and shall give specific recommendations in writing to the Planning Board.
When an application for a certificate of occupancy is made to the Construction Official he shall consult with the Shade Tree Commission to assist him in determining whether the Planning Board's requirements as to landscaping have been fully complied with. If he determines that such requirements have not been complied with, the Planning Board may in its discretion permit the applicant to post a performance bond to cover the landscaping work remaining to be done in an amount prescribed by the Planning Board.
At the time of the release of any performance bonds required, a maintenance bond to run for a period of three years shall be posted in the amount estimated by the Planning Board. A cash bond may be placed in escrow with the Township for this purpose.
When application is made to the Planning Board for major subdivision approval pursuant to Chapter 227, Subdivision of Land, or for site plan approval of construction of commercial or industrial buildings, the subdivider, developer or builder shall indicate clearly upon a plan submitted for that purpose the type, number and location of trees, if any, proposed to be removed. A copy of the plan shall be filed with the Shade Tree Commission. The Commission shall make recommendations to the Planning Board with respect to the plan.
No building permits shall be issued unless and until the Construction Official is satisfied that the terms of subdivision approval as respects trees have been complied with, and the Construction Official shall consult with the Shade Tree Commission for expert assistance in determining whether there has been compliance.
No person shall prevent, delay or interfere with any lawful work undertaken by the Department of Public Works or its authorized agent.
Except as provided in Subsection B below, the initial cost of all trees planted by the 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 dangerous to public safety shall, if the Commission so determines, be a charge upon the real estate in front of which the tree or trees shall be planted or removed as an improvement. The cost, if it is required to be paid by the owner, shall, unless paid directly to the Commission, be certified by the Collector of Taxes. The cost shall then become a lien upon the real estate, shall be included in the next tax bill and be collected in the same manner as taxes against the property.
In every case where the property of an abutting owner will be chargeable with the cost of planting any shade tree, the Commission shall give notice of the meeting at which it is proposed to consider the planting by publishing the notice at least once, not less than 20 days before the meeting, in a newspaper circulating in the Township or 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 the planting is proposed and shall require all persons who may object to present their objections in writing at the office of the Commission at or before the meeting. Before final action is taken, all objections so filed shall be considered. The Commission shall give reasonable notice of its intention to remove or cause the removal of a tree which is dangerous to public safety. If public safety requires immediate removal, no notice shall be necessary.
No statute giving any person, state or municipal board, body or official power or authority to lay any sidewalk or to open, construct a curb or pave any street, or any similar act, shall be construed to permit any interference with or injury to any shade tree without consent of the Commission. The Commission shall reasonably cooperate with any person, board, body or official for the general public welfare and safety.