Township of Cedar Grove, NJ
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Cedar Grove 1-16-1989 by Ord. No. 88-331.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Shade Tree Committee — See Ch. 67.
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 100.
Sales and storage of Christmas trees — See Ch. 116.
Property maintenance — See Chs. 197 and 198.
Use of recreation areas — See Ch. 205.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 234.
[1]:
Editor's Note: This chapter also repealed former Ch. 246, Trees, adopted 8-5-1963, Ch. 13, Art. II, of the former Revised Ordinances, as amended 9-17-1979 by Ord. No. 79-103 and 7-30-1984 by Ord. No. 84-222.

§ 246-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the "Tree Removal and Protection Ordinance of the Township of Cedar Grove."

§ 246-2 Findings and purpose.

The Township Council of the Township of Cedar Grove finds: that the preservation, protection and planting of trees aids in the stabilization of soil by the prevention of erosion and sedimentation; reduces stormwater runoff and the potential damage it may create; aids in the removal of pollutants from the air and assists in the generation of oxygen; provides a buffer and screen against noise and pollution; provides protection against severe weather; aids in the control of drainage and restoration of denuded soil subsequent to construction or grading; provides a haven for birds and other wildlife and otherwise enhances the environment; protects and increases property values; conserves and enhances Township's physical and aesthetic appearance; and generally protects the public health and safety as well as the general welfare.

§ 246-3 Definitions.

The following definitions shall apply to this chapter:
MAJOR TREE
A deciduous tree with a mature height of at least 50 feet which shall be of a caliper of at least 2 1/2 inches measured 4 1/2 feet above the ground when planted (e.g., red Norway, silver or sugar maple; sweetgum; London plane tree; American sycamore; white, red or pin oak; American elm; yellow or white poplar; or copper beech).
MINOR TREE
An evergreen tree, ornamental tree or other small tree at least six feet in height at time of planting (e.g. birch, dogwood, Japanese maple, cherry, crabapple, magnolia, Bradford pear, willow, cedar, spruce, pine, fir or hemlock).
PERSON
The owner of a parcel of real estate or any other individual, group, company, firm, corporation, partnership, association, society or other legal entity.
SPECIES
For purposes of this chapter, the common name of the tree.
STRUCTURE
A combination of materials to form a construction for occupancy, use or ornamentation, whether installed on, above or below the surface of a parcel of land.

§ 246-4 Permit required.

[Amended 12-18-2006 by Ord. No. 06-664]
No person shall cut down or remove any tree of a caliper of four inches or greater measured at a height of 4 1/2 feet above the ground without a tree removal permit, except that a person may remove two trees within a twenty-four-month period without applying for a tree removal permit pursuant to this chapter.

§ 246-5 Application procedure.

A. 
Application for a tree removal permit shall be made by submission of the following:
(1) 
An original and two copies of an application on forms provided by the Township containing the following information: the name and address of the applicant; the street address and tax lot and block of the property in question; and the number of trees to be removed. The Township Manager, or his designee, may require the submission of additional information that will assist in the processing of the tree removal permit.
[Amended 12-18-2006 by Ord. No. 06-664]
(2) 
An original and two copies of a tree removal plan consisting of a map drawn to scale showing the location of all trees to be removed, the species of such trees and their caliper. In the event that the application is for the removal of more than five trees, the tree removal plan must be prepared, signed and sealed by a licensed professional engineer or land surveyor, and must show the location of all existing and proposed structures on the property, together with the distance, up to 15 feet, that the trees proposed to be removed are located from such structures and from property lines.
(3) 
An original and two copies of a tree mitigation plan, if mitigation is required pursuant to § 246-7D hereof, consisting of a map drawn to scale showing the location of all trees to be planted, the species of such trees and their caliper or size as required.
(4) 
An original and two copies of a separate list of the trees to be removed identifying each tree on the tree removal plan by species and caliper, and stating the condition of each tree as "dead" or "good," and further explaining why removal is justified under the standards of this chapter.
[Amended 12-18-2006 by Ord. No. 06-664]
(5) 
The application fee pursuant to § 246-6.
B. 
The applicant shall place a one-inch-wide red, yellow or blue ribbon around the trunk of each tree to be removed at a height of 4 1/2 feet above the ground so that the proposed tree removal may be inspected in the field.

§ 246-6 Fees.

[Amended 12-18-2006 by Ord. No. 06-664]
The fee for a tree removal permit shall be $100.

§ 246-7 Standards for application review.

The following standards for review of applications shall apply:
A. 
Permitted removal. No tree shall be permitted to be removed unless the tree is:
(1) 
Located within the building footprint of a proposed principal building.
(2) 
Located between the curblines of a proposed roadway approved pursuant to Chapter 234, Subdivision of Land.
(3) 
Located within the roadway right-of-way but outside the curbline of a proposed roadway approved pursuant to Chapter 234, Subdivision of Land, subject to the provisions of Subsection D(8) of this section.
(4) 
Dead or poses a safety hazard.
(5) 
Located within 15 feet of any building.
(6) 
Located within the area of a proposed driveway, walkway, utility line, accessory building or any other structure.
(7) 
Located in a front yard area proposed to be landscaped.
(8) 
Located in a recreation area which shall not exceed an area of land equal to 50% of the rear yard of a lot on which a building is proposed or measured within the first 80 feet from the rear building line, less areas in the side yards and rear yard where trees are to be removed pursuant to other provisions of this subsection.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: Former Subsection A(9), regarding being permitted to be removed in a site plan, was repealed 12-18-2006 by Ord. No. 06-664.
B. 
Conflict with other laws. Notwithstanding anything in this chapter to the contrary, no tree removal shall be permitted where prohibited by Chapter 268, Zoning (e.g., buffer zones and crestline provisions), or any other municipal, state or federal statute, ordinance or regulation.
C. 
Hardship appeal. In the event that an applicant believes the standards set forth in Subsection A above constitute a hardship which prohibits a reasonable use of all or substantially all of the property in question, an applicant may seek relief from the governing body of the Township of Cedar Grove. In the event that such relief is sought, the applicant shall submit an additional eight copies of the documents required to be submitted, together with 11 copies of a written statement as to the reasons for the claimed hardship. In addition, the applicant shall submit a fee for the hearing of the matter in the amount of $300. The governing body, upon submission of a complete application to the Township Clerk, shall schedule a public hearing in connection with the requested relief. The applicant shall cause to be published in an official newspaper of the municipality a notice setting forth the time, date and place of the hearing to be so held, together with a brief statement of the relief requested. Such notice must be published within 10 days prior to the date of the hearing. Additionally, the applicant shall cause to be served upon all property owners within 200 feet of the property in question a similar notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal service. Proof of publication and service of notice shall be required to be submitted prior to the hearing. At the hearing, the applicant shall present witnesses under oath, and any other interested parties may do the same. All witnesses shall be subject to cross-examination. The decision of the governing body shall be binding upon the municipal official in charge of enforcement and administration of this chapter.
D. 
Mitigation. Mitigation for tree removal shall be required as follows:
(1) 
No mitigation shall be required in connection with tree removal conducted pursuant to a permit issued under Subsection A(1) and (2) of this section.
[Amended 12-18-2006 by Ord. No. 06-664]
(2) 
Mitigation shall be required pursuant to Subsection D(4) of this section in the event of tree removal pursuant to Subsection A(5) through (8) of this section.
(3) 
In the event of tree removal pursuant to Subsection A(4), no mitigation shall be required if the tree has been planted for at least five years, there has been no damage to the tree by construction or otherwise by any person, and there has been no soil-moving within 15 feet of such tree within such five years; otherwise, mitigation shall be required pursuant to Subsection D(4) of this section.
(4) 
For each tree for which mitigation is required, pursuant to Subsection D(2) and (3) above, the following shall apply:
[Amended 12-18-2006 by Ord. No. 06-664]
(a) 
For each tree removed pursuant to the standards of this chapter of a caliper of four inches to no more than six inches, the applicant shall plant a major or minor tree as defined in this chapter on the property in question, or in the event that the applicant asserts the planting would be inappropriate and the Township arborist agrees, the applicant may in lieu of such planting provide to the municipality a payment equal to the cost of such planting as determined by the Township arborist pursuant to § 246-7(D)(5)(a).
(b) 
For each tree removed pursuant to the standards of this chapter of a caliper of more than six inches, the applicant shall plant a major tree as defined in this chapter on the property in question, or in the event that the applicant asserts the planting would be inappropriate and the Township arborist agrees, the applicant may in lieu of such planting provide to the municipality a payment equal to the cost of such planting as determined by the Township arborist pursuant to § 246-7(D)(5)(a).
(5) 
Monies collected by the Township pursuant to § 246-7(D)(4)(a) and (b) shall be collected and expended pursuant to following the procedures.
(a) 
The Township arborist, who shall be a trained forester or a certified tree expert, shall determine and maintain a schedule setting forth the replacement costs for major or minor trees required to be planted pursuant to § 246-7(D)(4) (“Mitigation Fee Schedule”). The Mitigation Fee Schedule shall set forth the data and information used by the Township arborist to determine the replacement costs in the Mitigation Fee Schedule.
(b) 
Funds remitted to the Township pursuant to § 246-7(D)(4) shall be deposited and maintained in a separately designated bank account (“Tree Fund”).
(c) 
Monies in the Tree Fund may only be expended for the planting of shade and/or ornamental trees in any public street, public park or public right-of-way at locations on the Tree Planting Schedule defined in § 246-7(D)(5)(e).
(d) 
Each December, the Township shall publish an inventory of trees located on public streets, public parks and public rights-of-way (“tree inventory”). The Township arborist shall be required to maintain and update the tree inventory.
(e) 
In conjunction with the publication of the tree inventory, the Township shall publish a schedule of trees on the tree inventory to be replaced or new tree plantings to be made on public streets, public parks or public rights-of-way in the ensuing twelve months (“tree planting schedule”). The Township shall then notice and hold public hearings on the tree planting schedule.
(f) 
Trees purchased with monies in the tree fund shall be planted at locations on the tree planting schedule nearest to the site(s) that generated the remittance of monies pursuant to § 246-7(D)(4).
(6) 
In the event that it is unknown or in question in any given instance as to whether mitigation should be determined on the basis of a minor tree or major tree, mitigation shall be required on the basis of a major tree.
(7) 
In the event that it is unknown how many trees were removed from any given site, and removal took place without a tree permit issued pursuant to this or the predecessor Chapter 246, adopted August 5, 1963, as may have been amended, the number of trees requiring mitigation shall be computed by assuming trees over six inches in caliper existed 30 feet on center and plotting the maximum number of those trees as circles of a fifteen-foot radius without having the circles overlap or extend beyond the property lines or drip lines of existing trees.
(8) 
In connection with tree removal pursuant to Subsection A(3) of this section, it shall be required that the applicant plant major trees, on center a distance of 30 feet, as street trees between the curbline and the edge of the right-of-way in a location determined by the Township Engineer and the official administering this chapter.
(9) 
Mitigation in any instance is not to be considered a penalty, but rather an implementation of the purposes of this chapter. Mitigation shall not be a substitute for, but shall be in addition to any penalty imposed for violation of the provisions of this chapter.

§ 246-8 Performance bond.

[Amended 12-18-2006 by Ord. No. 06-664]
Except in the event of tree removal pursuant to an approved subdivision or site plan where a performance bond to assure tree planting was posted, as a precondition to the issuance of a permit where mitigation is required, the applicant shall post a cash bond to assure mitigation in an amount equal to the amount determined by the Township arborist for each minor and major tree to be planted pursuant to § 246-7(D)(4). The bond shall be returned to the applicant upon completion of the required mitigation.

§ 246-9 Protection of existing trees.

A. 
In connection with any construction, subsequent to tree clearing but prior to the issuance of a building permit or start of construction, snow fencing or other protective barrier acceptable to the official charged with the administration and enforcement of this chapter shall be placed around trees that are not to be removed. The protective barriers shall be placed at least 10 feet from the trunk of any tree and shall remain in place until all construction activity is terminated. No equipment, chemicals, soil deposits or construction materials shall be placed within any area so protected by barriers. Any landscaping activities subsequent to the removal of the barriers shall be accomplished with light machinery or hand labor.
B. 
No person shall:
(1) 
Cut down or remove any tree except as permitted by this chapter or allow or cause such cutting or removal.
(2) 
Cause or allow any willful damage, injury or disfigurement of any tree growing within the Township. For purposes of this subsection, the actions of any person shall be deemed willful if the damage, injury or disfigurement of any tree is caused as the result of but not limited to the following: cutting, gashing or slitting of any tree; the pouring of any liquid or other material on any tree; or on the nearby ground; the construction or placement of any nonporous material on the ground around any tree so as to cut off air, light or water from the roots; or placement or removal of any soil from within 10 feet of any tree.
(3) 
Store or pile building material or debris or place construction equipment within 10 feet of any tree.
C. 
In the event that any tree to be saved in connection with construction as set forth above or any tree planted in mitigation shall die within two years after planting, it shall be replaced by the applicant or the property owner within six months.

§ 246-10 Administration and enforcement.

[Amended 3-5-2007 by Ord. No. 07-669]
This chapter shall be administered and enforced by the Township Manager or his designee. The Township arborist, who shall assist in the enforcement of this chapter as set forth herein, shall be selected through a fair and open process pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.3 et seq. After the selection of the Township arborist, the Township shall enter into a contract with the arborist, which shall set forth the fees charged by the arborist for providing services to the Township. The Township’s contract with the arborist shall be published with the publication of the tree inventory and tree planting schedule as provided herein.

§ 246-11 Appeals.

[Amended 3-5-2007 by Ord. No. 07-669]
Any person aggrieved by the decision of the official charged with the administration and enforcement of this chapter shall have the right, within 10 days of the issuance of any decision by such official, to appeal to the Township Council, which shall take action as it deems necessary in the matter. In the event of such an appeal, the procedures set forth with reference to applications based on hardship contained in § 246-7C of this chapter shall apply.

§ 246-12 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 10-23-2006 by Ord. No. 06-656]
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding $2,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both, and each tree removed or damaged in violation of this chapter shall be deemed a separate offense.