[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the Town of Dover 5-28-1974. Amendments noted where applicable.]
§ 84-7 Responsibility for cost of trees and improvements; charges and liens on property; exceptions.
There is hereby established and created in the Town of Dover a Shade Tree Commission pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:64-1 et seq.
[Amended 5-28-1996 by Ord. No. 19-1996; 8-10-1999 by Ord. No. 23-1999; 2-10-2004 by Ord. No. 3-2004]
The regulation, planting, care and control of shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery upon and in the streets, public rights-of-way, highways, public places, parks and parkways of the Town of Dover, except state highways, unless the Department of Transportation shall assent thereto, and except county highways, parks and parkways, if a County Shade Tree Commission is operative and gives assent thereto, shall be exercised by and under the authority of the Town of Dover Shade Tree Commission, which is hereby created.
[Amended 8-10-1999 by Ord. No. 23-1999]
The Shade Tree Commission shall consist of five members and two alternate members appointed by the Mayor pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:64-2.
All appointments of members and alternate members to the commission, except to fill vacancies, shall be for a term of five years, commencing on January 1 in the year of their appointment.
All members and alternate members shall be residents of the municipality and shall serve without compensation. The alternate members shall be designated as "Alternate No. 1" and "Alternate No. 2," and shall serve in the absence of a regular member with the same powers and duties.
The Mayor shall appoint, for a term of one year, to commence on January 1 and end December 31, a member of the governing body to act as liaison between the Shade Tree Commission and the governing body.
The Commission shall organize within 30 days after the appointment of its total membership for the remainder of the then calendar year and thereafter annually by the election of one of its members as Chairman and the appointment of a Secretary, who need not be a member. The salary of the Secretary, who may be compensated even if a member of the Commission, shall be fixed by the governing body of the municipality; the salary of all other employees and payments to contractors shall be fixed by the Commission and made in accordance with law. All salaries shall be fixed as nearly as practicable in accordance with the salary schedule of the Town of Dover for corresponding positions.
The Commission shall submit, through its Secretary, a monthly report to the governing body dealing with all moneys spent, type of work done, streets where the work has been done and all work that is to be done. The Commission shall also submit, through its Secretary, a yearly report to the governing body on all of the above points on or before December 15 of each year.
Any vacancy occurring by reason of the death, resignation or removal of any Commissioner shall be filled for the unexpired term by the Mayor.
The Shade Tree Commission organized under this chapter shall have power to:
Exercise full and exclusive control over the regulation, planting and care of shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery now located or which may hereafter be planted in any public highway, street, public right-of-way, park or parkway, except such as are excluded pursuant to § 84-2 of this chapter, including the planting, trimming, spraying, care and protection thereof.
Regulate and control the use of the ground surrounding the same, so far as may be necessary for their proper growth, care and protection.
Move or require the removal of any tree, or part thereof, dangerous to public safety.
Make, alter, amend and repeal, in the manner prescribed for the passage, alteration, amendment and repeal of ordinances by the governing body of the municipality, any and all ordinances necessary or proper for carrying out the provisions hereof.
Administer treatment to or remove any tree situated upon private property which is believed to harbor a disease or insects readily communicable to neighboring healthy trees in the care of the municipality and enter upon private property for that purpose, with the consent of the owner thereof, provided that the suspected condition is first confirmed by certificate issued by or on behalf of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
§ 84-7 Responsibility for cost of trees and improvements; charges and liens on property; exceptions.
Except as hereinafter provided, 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 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 be collected in the same manner as other taxes against that property.
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 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 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 not less than 10 days of its intentions to remove or 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.
No statute giving any person or state, county or municipal board, body or official 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 Town of Dover Shade Tree Commission. In all cases, such Commission shall reasonably cooperate with such person, board, body or official for the general public good.
Nothing in this chapter contained 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.
During the month of December in each year, the Shade Tree Commission shall certify to the governing body of the municipality the estimated sum necessary for the proper conduct of its work during the ensuing fiscal year, which shall include the sums estimated to be expended for such of the following items as it is anticipated expenditure will be made for:
Payment of wages and salaries of employees.
Expenses of Commission members in discharging official duties, including expenses incident to attendance at professional meetings.
Purchase of trees and shrubbery.
Purchase of necessary equipment and materials and the cost of services for the prudent promotion of the work.
The governing body of the municipality shall annually appropriate such sum as it may deem necessary for said purposes.
The Commission may prescribe a fine for violation of its ordinances in an amount not exceeding $200 for each violation, and the Municipal Court of the Town of Dover shall have jurisdiction in actions for the violation of such ordinances and shall be enforced by like proceedings and process as that provided by law for the enforcement of ordinances of the municipality. The officers authorized by law to serve and execute process issued out of the Municipal Court for violations of the ordinances of the Commission shall be the officers who are authorized to serve and execute any process out of the Municipal Court of the Town of Dover for any violations of the ordinances of the Commission.
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.
A copy of any ordinance of the Commission, certified to under the hand of its Secretary or Chairman, 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 or the same, as to make it legal and binding, have been complied with, unless the contrary be shown.
All moneys collected, 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 custodian of the municipal funds.
Nothing in this chapter contained shall be construed to make the 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.
The Shade Tree Commission is hereby authorized and empowered to promulgate such ordinances and written rules and regulations as may be necessary, pursuant to statute, and for the proper interpretation of this basic ordinance, administration and enforcement, provided that such ordinances and regulations do not conflict with this chapter and conform to the general standards prescribed by this chapter.