[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Hamilton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 2-5-1979 by Ord. No. 730-79]
This article was developed by the Planning Board and Township Committee of Hamilton Township in recognition that uncontrolled cutting and removal of trees can result in adverse impacts with regard to fire protection, soil erosion, storm drainage, vegetation, wildlife and fragile natural resources. These impacts affect the general welfare, health and safety of the township residents. The regulations which follow are designed to limit adverse impacts and are consistent with the environmental and conservation objectives of Hamilton Township.
This article will be known and may be cited as the "Hamilton Township Tree Cutting Ordinance."
On and after the effective date of this article, no trees shall be cut or removed within the Township of Hamilton except in conformity with the restrictions and regulations established by this article. (See § 282-8.)
Definitions. As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A person submitting an application for cutting trees within the Township of Hamilton.
- A combination of materials to form a construction adapted to permanent or continuous occupancy and having a roof.
- A map showing the boundaries of the property for which the application is submitted, containing the information called for in this article, and submitted to the Zoning Officer for approval.
- The parcel of land for which the applicant has submitted an application for permission to cut trees.
- A woody perennial, either deciduous or coniferous, having a diameter greater than four inches measured 4 1/2 feet above ground level, except that in the case of Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), a tree shall be considered any of the individuals within a stand.
Word usage. Words and phrases within this article shall be presumed to have their ordinary meanings unless specifically defined or interpreted differently in Subsection A or in Chapter 203, Land Use and Development. Disputes concerning wording or interpretation shall be resolved by the Township Committee. For purposes of this article, words used in the present shall include the future; the word "person" includes individual, corporation and partnerships; the word "site" includes plot, lot and parcel; and the word "building" includes structure and residence.
The following tree cuttings shall be exempt from the provisions of this article:
Any tree located on a parcel of land five acres or less in size on which a single-family residence has been constructed and is being occupied.
Any tree growing on property actively operated as a nursery, garden center or Christmas tree farm.
Any tree growing on property actively operated as a farm which is removed for agricultural purposes and not sold for profit.
Any tree growing on property actively operated as a sanitary landfill or for surface mining if removed for necessary operations.
Any tree growing on a public right-of-way as shown on an approved final subdivision plat.
Any tree to be cut for personal use as firewood by the owner of the site.
Any dead or diseased tree likely to endanger the public or adjoining property owner.
Any person wishing to cut and remove trees within the Township of Hamilton, except as provided in § 282-5, shall file with the Township of Hamilton Forester a completed application form along with a plat containing information and exhibits required in § 282-7 and the required application fee. (See § 282-13.)
The plat shall include the following information and shall be accompanied by the following exhibits:
Boundaries of the parcel to be cut as established by Township Tax Maps or recorded deeds.
Lot and block numbers of the parcel(s).
Description of existing timber and species.
Estimated size, number and location of trees to be cut.
Estimate of the percentage of trees on the parcel to be cut.
Location of trails to be used, whenever practicable.
List of adjoining property owners within 200 feet of the parcel. Adjoining owners shall be notified by ordinary mail by the Township Forester as a courtesy.
Signature of the person preparing the plat.
A plan prepared and signed by a New Jersey State Forester or graduate forester or other individual with demonstrated expertise in the field which outlines the conservation measures, standards and methods to be followed, fire protection plans and restoration plan and techniques utilized to minimize adverse impacts. The Township Committee may, upon recommendation from the Forester, the Environmental Commission and such other experts with whom the Township Committee may consult, adopt from time to time specific regulations setting forth requirements for the submission of said plans.
A certificate of ownership signed by the owner of record of the parcel(s).
Field exhibits. The applicant must field mark all areas to be cut by methods acceptable to the State of New Jersey, Bureau of Forestry.
The following restrictions shall apply to the cutting of trees within the boundaries of Hamilton Township:
No cutting of trees of any size shall take place within 50 feet of any state, county or municipal improved roadway or street, except that a property owner may be permitted to thin out trees within said fifty-foot border and cut crippled or deceased trees within said border upon approval by the Township Forester. This restriction shall not apply to any construction.
No cutting of trees of any size shall take place within 25 feet of any permanent or intermittent stream.
A culvert, approved by the Township Forester, shall be required for haul road stream crossings. Such culvert shall be installed before cutting and removed after the job is complete.
Trees of less than the minimum diameter proscribed in this article shall not be cut for any purpose except as required for site clearing for new construction; clearing of public rights-of-way; cutting of cedar in accordance with a plan approved by the Township Forester, which may include trees of less than the minimum diameter; or thinning, subject to the approval of the Township Forester.
The Township Forester shall receive all applications for tree cutting and shall review said applications to ensure conformity with the requirements of this article. The Township Forester shall review all applications with the advice of the Environmental Commission or other experts and shall consider soil erosion, drainage, vegetation, fire protection and techniques to minimize adverse impacts. If the application is incomplete, it will be returned within 10 days of the date that the application was received. For parcels of 50 acres or less, the Township Forester shall deny the application or issue the cutting permit within 10 days of the date that the completed application was received. In all other cases, application forwarded to the Forester will be approved or denied within 20 days of the receipt of the completed application.
A permit granted shall be deemed valid for a period of two years from the date of approval, renewable by the Township Forester for one year without additional fee, except that if any cutting operation varies from the plan submitted with the application, the Township Forester may cause the operation to cease by notifying the applicant, in writing, at the address given on the application, outlining the reasons for such action and the corrective measures necessary. If such measures are not taken within 10 days of the date the notice was mailed, the operation shall cease.
Any applicant shall have the right within 10 days from the date a decision is rendered on the application by the Township Forester to appeal said decision to the Township Committee. The Committee may solicit the advice of other experts. The decision of the Forester shall be reviewed and confirmed or reversed within 30 days of receipt of the appeal.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this article shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $500 and/or imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, or both.
An application for tree cutting within Hamilton Township shall be accompanied by a fee payable to the township according to the following schedule: