Township of Franklin, NJ
Hunterdon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 5-7-1998 by Ord. No. 98-48]
The purposes of this article are:
A. 
To protect existing woodlands and encourage reforestation of nonagricultural land.
B. 
To prevent soil erosion and soil depletion and increase water retention.
C. 
To improve the appearance of off-street parking and vehicular use areas near public rights-of-way or adjoining uses.
D. 
To protect agricultural land use and historic areas from the impact of new development.
E. 
To screen residential and commercial subdivisions and development from public view.
F. 
To promote public health, welfare and safety by reducing noise and air pollution, visual pollution, air temperature and light glare.
A. 
Due to the Township's long status as a rural agricultural community with the exception of limited in fill development within the historic villages of Pittstown, Quakertown and Cherryville, all subdivision activity places new residential development in close proximity to active farming activities.
B. 
Farming operations involve the creation of dust, noise, fumes and odors arising from usual and customary operations, 24 hours a day, year round.
C. 
Residents who are drawn to the Township because of its rural environment and agricultural vistas frequently find their lifestyles to be incompatible with the realities of the farming operations going on around them.
D. 
Residents who lack prior experience in living in a rural agricultural community also may act in a manner that is damaging to farm operations through trespassing. They also inadvertently expose themselves to injury from farm animals, equipment and chemicals.
E. 
The State of New Jersey and the County of Hunterdon have adopted laws, regulations, policies and procedures which are intended to enhance, promote and preserve the integrity of the rural agricultural character of the Township.
F. 
The Township has adopted a Right to Farm Ordinance in 1980 (§ 220-13 of Chapter 220, Land Use). In addition, it has committed financial resources to preserve agriculture land.
G. 
It is necessary, therefore, to establish mechanisms by which agricultural uses will be protected. The mechanism of enhanced buffering and landscape requirements represents a reasonable method to assure that the long-term development of the Township continues to honor its agricultural and rural heritage.
All applications for development involving subdivisions of five lots or more or nonagricultural, nonresidential site plan approval shall be required to comply with this section. In addition, any application requiring a detention basin shall comply with § 310-121 of this article. All applicable subdivision or site plans shall include a landscape plan as part of the application. All subject applications shall be referred to the Township's Landscaping Committee, a standing committee of the Land Use Board, for review and recommendations to the reviewing agency.
See this Chapter 220, Land Use, § 220-5.
The Land Use Board's Landscaping Committee shall maintain and update a list of the following:
A. 
Desirable trees (evergreens and shade trees).
B. 
Desirable shrubs.
C. 
Prohibited trees.
D. 
Prohibited shrubs.
A. 
Inventory of species. Every application for development subject to this section shall include a written inventory by species, diameter (at breast height) and number of all trees greater than six inches diameter (at breast height) in all areas to be disturbed for infrastructure development (roads, detention basis, septic, utilities, etc.).
B. 
All applications shall include a plan to preserve, to the extent possible, all existing trees that are not on the Township's list of undesirable plants.
C. 
Large trees (greater than six-inch caliper) that are to be removed or damaged in the development of the property shall be transplanted or replaced elsewhere on the property with healthy plants that are included on the desirable trees list. Trees shall be replaced by trees of similar caliper or may be replaced with a multiple of smaller caliper trees equaling at least the original tree's diameter using a plant of minimum two-inch diameter (dbh) stock selected from the desirable tree list. For example, a tree measuring fifteen-inch diameter breast height (dbh) may be replaced with eight two-inch caliper trees or five three-inch caliper trees. Replacement trees must be in addition to the count required to meet the buffering requirements as set forth elsewhere in this chapter.
[Amended 8-5-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-11]
A. 
A landscaping buffer shall be at least 100 feet in width for the front yard and 75 feet in width for side yard buffering areas. It shall consist of a mix of grass, ground cover, trees and shrubs. The total buffer shall achieve a screening height of at least five feet with a November-to-April opacity rating of not less than 60% within five years of installation or two years from project completion, whichever comes first. The landscape plan shall show a mix of tree heights and tree groupings in order to improve the natural effect of the plantings.
B. 
Berm alternative.
[Added 8-5-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-11]
(1) 
Landscaped earth berms shall be used when tree and plant materials will not effectively screen the view to 60% opacity November to April. Any land area which lies between the designated landscape strip or berm and the public right-of-way shall be landscaped and well maintained with grass or ground cover. Berms and associated plantings shall be designed to encompass the same area that would have been required to be landscaped. Berms shall be a minimum of five feet in height. Each berm should then be landscaped to meet the required opacity of the ordinance. The berm and landscape area shall be set back from the road by 25 feet and shall be built to cover the remaining 75 feet of the required 100 feet landscaped buffer as described in [1] above. The berm shall be naturalized in form, with undulations and some degree of discontinuities, and not appear as a continuous mound of dirt.
(2) 
If fencing is proposed to be placed on a berm, the fence's base shall not be placed more than 1/3 of the height of the berm at any particular point and shall be installed on the interior of the berm.
C. 
Stone wall alternative. The Land Use Board may permit a screening wall of stone at least 36 inches in height.
[Amended 8-5-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-11]
A. 
Agricultural lands. All subject applications for properties adjacent to agricultural lands shall require a landscape buffer adjacent to the agricultural lands as part of the development and landscaping plan. The buffer shall be reviewed by the Landscaping Committee and shall consist of at least the landscape buffer defined in Subsection C(6)(b) of this section, plus, for example, fencing and other materials to discourage entry onto the neighboring agricultural property. The Landscaping Committee shall seek input from the owner(s) of the adjacent agricultural lands as part of its recommendation to the Land Use Board on the appropriateness of the buffering and landscaping plan. If fencing is proposed to discourage entry onto the adjacent agricultural lands, it shall meet the standards of § 220-42D and shall be no less than four feet high. It shall be of such design as to be appropriate for dual agricultural/residential use.
B. 
Historic districts. All subject applications for properties adjacent to historic districts shall include a perimeter landscape buffer as part of the development and landscaping plan. The buffer shall be reviewed by the Landscaping Committee and shall meet the standards defined in § 310-118 of this article.
C. 
Existing residential properties. All subject applications which are adjacent to existing residential properties shall include a perimeter buffering as part of the development and landscape plan to shield the adjacent property. The buffer shall be reviewed by the Landscape Committee of the Land Use Board and shall meet the standards defined in § 310-118 of this article.
D. 
Newly formed interior lots.
(1) 
All subject applications shall include a perimeter buffering between each new lot of less than 10 acres to shield the adjacent property as part of the development and landscape plan. The buffer shall be reviewed by the Landscape Committee of the Land Use Board and shall meet the standards defined in § 310-118 of this article.
(2) 
The buffer shall at a minimum:
(a) 
Consist of a contiguous strip no less than 25 feet in width.
(b) 
Consist of natural grasses, wildflowers, shrubbery or other dense and natural flora. The strips should be populated with indigenous tree species at a density of no less than one tree per 75 feet.
(c) 
Be the responsibility of the landowner for repair, replantings and maintenance.
(3) 
Existing hedgerows shall be preserved. The applicant may request a waver to replace in kind, upon submission of an impact document indicating the positive and negative impacts of removal of the existing hedgerow. A hedgerow is defined as a physical feature consisting of plants, trees, soil or rocks or any combination which serves to define separation between land areas.
(4) 
Newly formed lots less than 10 acres shall include interior tree plantings of indigenous tree species at a density of no less than one tree per 10,000 square feet. This requirement is exclusive of any tree make-up requirements or perimeter requirements
(5) 
Newly formed lots shall provide for plantings of natural grasses, wildflowers, shrubbery or landscape shrubbery in such a manner as to screen from roadside view the following structures:
(a) 
Well heads.
(b) 
Raised septic system leach fields that impose a height of two feet or more above the natural grade.
(c) 
Any marker pipes, cleanouts, or other associated piping with septic systems.
(d) 
Any manholes or other access points that exceed an elevation more than three inches above natural grade.
(e) 
Aboveground propane tanks greater than 100 gallons.
(f) 
Any transformer, switch relay or other electrical or telecommunications structure.
(g) 
Any drainage features inconsistent with the natural surroundings, including but not limited to riprap, headwalls, concrete swales, or other similar engineered structures.
(h) 
Any fire-protection systems excluding hydrants.
(i) 
Dumpsters and garbage containers.
A. 
All subject applications shall include in the landscaping plan a landscaped buffer area along any existing rights-of-way. This buffer shall be reviewed by the Landscaping Committee and meet the standards as set in § 310-118. In addition, as part of this landscape buffer, trees shall be planted along the roadway at the rate of one tree per 50 linear feet of frontage. These trees shall be selected from the list of desirable trees and may show a mix of tree heights and tree groupings in order to improve the natural effect of these plantings.
B. 
At least one shade or evergreen tree selected from the list of desirable trees shall be planted along any new public right-of-way for every 30 linear feet of the new public right-of-way. The landscape plan shall show a mix of tree heights and tree groupings in order to improve the natural effect of these plantings.
[Amended 8-5-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-11]
C. 
Necessary accessways (driveways, etc.) from a public right-of-way through such landscaped areas shall be permitted, but such accessways shall not be subtracted from the lineal dimension used to determine the minimum number of trees required.
D. 
All living landscape material used shall be selected from the approved list of material as shown in Appendix XXX.[1] Exceptions shall require approval of the Board's Landscape Committee.
[Amended 8-5-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-11]
[1]
Editor's Note: Appendix XXX is on file in the Clerk's office.
Detention basis and similar stormwater management facilities shall be screened from view from the public right-of-way using a variety of plant materials selected from the lists of desirable trees and shrubs. The total buffer shall achieve a screening height of at least five feet with a November-to-April opacity rating of not less than 60% within five years of installation or two years from project completion, whichever comes first.
On the ground utility structures, such as transformers, cable or phone connection points, shall be screened by shrubs from street view.
A. 
Any parking area shall provide interior lot landscaping equivalent to 20% of the impervious area of the parking lot and associated driveways. The landscaping shall be a mixture of trees, grass and shrubs. Trees shall be planted at the rate of one tree for every 35 feet of linear feet of landscaped area.
B. 
The parking area shall be screened from view from public rights-of-way and adjacent properties by landscaping which meets the standards of § 310-118 of this article.
C. 
On-site loading and garbage disposal areas must be located in the rear yard and shall be screened by landscaping which meets the opacity standards of § 310-118.
Planting schedule and size specifications include:
A. 
Bare root plantings; balled and burlapped trees.
B. 
Bare root tree plantings may be used but only if actually installed prior to final grading of roads. Unless otherwise recommended by the Landscaping Committee, bare root trees shall be minimum caliper of 1 1/2 inches.
C. 
Balled and burlapped tree plantings may be used. Unless otherwise recommended by the Landscaping Committee, balled and burlapped trees shall be two-inch to three-inch caliper at the time of final approval.
D. 
Planting and maintenance.
(1) 
All plantings shall be planted according to generally accepted horticultural practices and shall be in a healthy, growing condition at installation.
(2) 
No planting shall be installed unless it has been subject to proper root and top pruning. Proper timing (bare root nursery stock must be dormant when planted), proper soil mix (based on the site and species), proper support and proper maintenance are required.
(3) 
The landscaping plan shall designate the person or entity who shall be responsible for maintaining the plantings in a health, growing condition. Such maintenance shall include watering, cultivation and weed control.
E. 
Plant quality, mix and spacing.
(1) 
All plant material shall be insect- and disease-free and in good condition at time of planting.
(2) 
All plantings shall be maintained in an attractive and presentable condition, free of weeds, refuse and debris, and shall be continuously maintained in a sound health and vigorous growing condition, free of plant diseases and insects, per the landscaping plan.
(3) 
The selection, spacing and sizing of plant materials shall depend on the use to which the plantings are placed in keeping with the specifications recommended by the Land Use Board's Landscaping Committee.
(4) 
A mixture of plant materials (evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs) is required as a protective measure against disease and insect infestation. The landscaping plan may allow plant materials to be used together in informal groupings in lieu of meeting the on-center spacing requirements. However, the plant groupings must utilize the same number of plantings as required by the ordinance.
(5) 
Plant materials, except creeping-vine-type plantings, shall not be located within four feet of property lines nor within any right-of-way.
(6) 
Where plant materials are placed in two or more rows, plantings shall be staggered from row to row.
(7) 
For areas that are to be screened, a minimum November-to-April opacity shall be maintained at 60% and a minimum May-to-October opacity shall be maintained at 80% within five years of installation or two years from project completion, whichever comes first.
The applicant shall submit as a checklist item for all subject applications a landscape plan to accomplish the intent of this section as established above. The plan shall be prepared by a landscape architect. The plan shall be reviewed by the Landscaping Committee of the Land Use Board, if necessary with the assistance of a professional landscape architect. The landscape plan shall include:
A. 
Name, address and telephone number of the owner and applicant and name, address, telephone number and qualifications of the landscape architect who prepared the plan.
B. 
A plan of the site at a scale of not less than one inch equals 100 feet with proper north indication that shows:
(1) 
Proposed topography at a maximum of two-foot contour intervals, except where the slopes equal or exceed 12% grade, in which case five-foot contour lines and topography extending 100 feet beyond the site boundary.
(2) 
Location, species and size of all existing plant materials (trees: over six inches in diameter at breast height) and an indication of those to be saved, replaced or removed.
(3) 
Location, type and size of all proposed plant materials and berms and walls.
(4) 
Locations of all existing and proposed buildings or, for subdivisions, building envelopes, easements, parking spaces, vehicular use areas and public rights-of-way and existing and proposed overhead and underground utilities, including the locations of hydrants and storage tanks.
(5) 
Zone districts of the site and of adjacent properties.
(6) 
A planting listing for all proposed landscape materials showing caliper sizes, height of material, method of installation, botanical and common names, type and amount of mulch, ground cover, grasses and root type (bare root or balled and burlapped) and quantity of materials.
(7) 
Planting details typical for evergreen trees, deciduous trees and shrubs, including:
(a) 
The proposed planting dates.
(b) 
A statement of intent to install and maintain all landscaped areas in accordance with the requirements of this article.
(c) 
The landscaping plan shall be accompanied by an itemized cost estimate covering all new plantings and mulch shown on the planting plan. Performance and/or maintenance bonds shall ensure landscaping installation within the time specified and in accordance with the landscape plan and shall guarantee the health growth of the plant material for two years past the date of posting of the maintenance bond.
(d) 
Other information may be required by the Land Use Board.