[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Jefferson 7-16-2003 by Ord. No. 19-03 (Ch. 105 of the 1967 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to protect and preserve the forests and soils of Jefferson Township from indiscriminate destruction, disturbance and/or removal. This chapter is intended to maintain the aesthetic and environmental benefits provided by trees and stable soils and to prevent erosion and sedimentation which can have severe negative effects on the environment in general. The protection of streams and lakes from the damage caused by sediment and avoidance of impaired water quality are major goals of this chapter. This chapter also provides a means to mitigate the adverse effects of tree loss as a result of development projects.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- APPROVED FORESTER
- Any person who has met the qualifying conditions of education and experience set forth by NJDEP Bureau of Forestry, and whose name appears on their annual approved forester's list.
- CUTTING AREA
- The area in which trees have been designated for cutting, obtained by traversing the outer periphery of those trees and taking into consideration the delineation of the natural boundaries located within the property.
- To dig, move, deposit, fill, grade, replace, level or otherwise alter or change the location or contour of the land or transport or supply soil; to cut, remove or otherwise destroy existing trees or forested areas.
- DISTURBANCE AREA
- Any area of land which has been disturbed in accordance with the definitions herein or is contemplated to be disturbed.
- FOREST MANAGEMENT
- The application of business methods, techniques and technical forest principles applied to the management of a forested property.
- FOREST MANAGEMENT PLAN
- A specific document that describes the need for forest planning on timbered land proposed for management, prepared by a forester approved by the NJDEP Bureau of Forest Management. Said plan must be reviewed and approved by NJDEP Bureau of Forest Management.
- HARVESTING PLAN
- A plan prepared by an approved forester describing the area to be harvested, its existing forested condition, the numbers, sizes, species, and volumes to be harvested, a description of equipment and methods to be used during the actual removal of the timber, conservation and soil erosion control methods to be used during the operation, a plat map showing the location of all landing areas, skid trails and logging roads and the boundaries of the proposed harvest/cutting area.
- Any parcel of land located within the boundaries of Jefferson Township, either improved or unimproved, which shall be designated as a lot on the Official Tax Map of the Township of Jefferson and any amendments thereto. All contiguous properties in the same ownership shall be considered as one lot for purposes of this chapter.
- NURSERY or ORCHARD
- Lands which are used for horticultural purposes under a controlled agricultural plan whereby trees are grown from seedlings or planted saplings with their roots maintained in their natural state (not balled or otherwise packaged for sale).
- A person having actual possession of any premises or any part thereof.
- A person or entity who or which, alone or jointly with others, has legal or equitable title to premises with or without accompanying actual possession, including an executor, administrator, trustee or guardian of an estate or a mortgagee in possession.
- A license issued by the Township Forester or the Township Engineer (or other designated official) of the Township of Jefferson to disturb land under the provisions herein.
- Includes corporations, companies, associations, societies, firms, partnerships and joint-stock companies, as well as individuals.
- Any change or alteration in the grade of any property.
- REPLACEMENT TREE
- A tree of a species approved by the Township Forester having a diameter of at least 2 1/2 inches measured 4 1/2 feet above the ground.
- The reestablishment of vegetative cover or other surface treatment as necessary to prevent erosion and as approved by the Township Engineer or Forester.
- Earth, sand, clay, loam, gravel, humus, rock or dirt, without regard to the presence or absence or organic matter.
- SPECIMEN TREE
- A tree of any species having a diameter of 18 inches or larger, measured 4 1/2 feet above the ground.
- TOWNSHIP FORESTER
- A person professionally qualified and appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the Council to supervise the conservation of trees and soil within the Township, and to administer the provisions of this chapter, which position is hereby created. The Township Forester shall be appointed annually, and his term shall expire by January 15 of each year if his successor has been appointed. In the event that his successor has not been appointed by January 15, his term shall expire on the appointment of his successor.
- Any living, woody, perennial plant having a diameter of four inches or greater measured 4 1/2 feet above ground.
The following activities on any lot shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter:
Disturbance of less than 5,000 square feet of soil during any calendar year; provided, however, that no disturbance area exists as a result of disturbance which occurred during a prior calendar year and which has not been restored.
The removal from a lot of less than 50 cubic yards of soil during a calendar year.
The removal of no more than one specimen tree during a calendar year.
Soil disturbance, removal and/or tree removal in the public right-of-way under the authority of a public entity.
Trees removed in accordance with a forest management plan, which has been prepared by an approved forester, and has received NJDEP Bureau of Forest Management approval, provided certification of said approval is filed with the Township Forester and accompanied by a harvesting plan to be reviewed and approved by the Township Forester.
Soil disturbance and trees removed within the infrastructure disturbance limit during the construction of improvements required by a minor or major subdivision or within the property which is the subject of a site plan approved by the Land Use Board is exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit under this chapter. This exemption is conditioned on off-site soil removal not exceeding 1,000 cubic yards, or an amount specified in the resolution of approval and provided that the soil disturbance or tree removal is completed within three years of final approval of the development plan, and that said disturbance is done on notice to the Township Forester and Engineer at least 10 days prior to the disturbance. The forgoing exemption is limited to the removal of trees specifically allowed by the approving Board and does not exempt any other trees. The exemption provided herein does not exempt the development project from the mitigation provisions of this chapter with respect to all trees which are to be removed and including those that are allowed by the approving Board.
[Amended 12-18-2019 by Ord. No. 19-28]
Soil removal within an approved subdivision site, provided that no more than 1,000 cubic yards of soil is removed from the subdivision site or as provided in the resolution of approval, and further provided that soil is not transported over any existing public roadways.
Disturbance of soil during the tilling of soil for agricultural or horticultural purposes.
Removal of dead, diseased or hazardous trees upon authorization of the Township Forester or Director of Public Works.
The exceptions provided above shall not relieve the owner from compliance with other local ordinances, state and federal regulations. Particular attention shall be given to regulations which control disturbance and fill in floodplains, wetlands and other critical areas.
No person shall disturb or remove soil and/or remove trees from any lot within the Township without first having obtained a permit, or unless excepted under § 273-3. Any person violating this section shall be subject to the penalty provisions hereinafter set forth. In the event that disturbance does occur without a permit being issued or if the same do not fall under the exemptions in § 273-3 above, it shall be presumed that the owner or owners of the property had knowledge of the disturbance, and said owner or owners shall be responsible for the violations of this chapter in conjunction and together with the persons who actually created or directed the disturbance.
An application shall be submitted on forms provided by the Division of Construction and Housing Inspection. The following information shall be provided on said form:
Owner's name, mailing address and phone number.
Block and lot number.
Date of application.
Area of proposed disturbance in square feet or acres.
Volume of proposed disturbance in cubic yards.
Volume of proposed soil removal in cubic yards.
Number of trees to be removed.
Number of specimen trees to be removed.
Proposed period of soil disturbance or tree removal.
Purpose of soil disturbance or tree removal.
Contractor responsible for work, if any.
Applicant's engineer, if any.
Other information as may be required for the administration of this chapter.
Volume of timber in board feet or cords for application involving the harvesting of trees for commercial or personal use.
Date that lot received preliminary subdivision approval.
Inventory of trees.
For lots receiving preliminary subdivision and site plan approval after the adoption of this chapter, an inventory of trees proposed to be removed segregated into the following size categories:
Trees with multiple trunks shall be based on the largest trunk.
Each application shall be submitted with a plan drawn to a scale of not greater than 30 feet equals one inch and shall be prepared in sufficient detail to show the following:
The existing surface drainage pattern as it affects the subject property and all abutting properties, including streams, lakes and wetlands.
Any proposed changes in the existing surface drainage pattern which will result from the proposed soil disturbance on the subject property, including any proposed changes on abutting properties.
The elevation of the street at each limit of the subject property frontage.
The elevations of the finished garage floor and first floor of the dwelling proposed for the subject property.
The proposed location of all roof leader drains.
The location of any existing or proposed storm sewer system.
The outer limits of all areas in which soil disturbance or tree removal is proposed.
Wooded areas are to be indicated, and all specimen trees and all other trees to be saved within the disturbance area shall be mapped with size and species. Trees to be saved within the disturbance area shall be indicated. Location of replacement trees shall be noted.
Details for the protection of specimen trees within the disturbed area; for delineation and protection of area not to be disturbed; and for soil erosion control.
Details for proposed retaining walls by a licensed professional engineer, if over four feet high.
For lots which receive preliminary minor or major subdivision or site plan approval after the adoption of this chapter, the mapping requirement of Subsection H above shall include all trees over four inches in diameter within the disturbance area and for a distance of 10 feet outside the disturbance area.
[Amended 12-18-2019 by Ord. No. 19-28]
The applicant shall submit two copies of the application form and plan to the Division of Construction and Housing Inspection for all applications involving a building permit or to the Land Use Board Secretary for applications not associated with work requiring a building permit. The Division of Construction and Housing Inspection or Land Use Board Secretary will collect fees and distribute copies to the Township Engineer and Township Forester. Approval of the application and issuance of a permit under this chapter may be conditioned on specified conditions and/or revisions to the application or plan established by the Township Engineer or Forester. Applications shall be approved or denied within 45 days. Any applicant who is dissatisfied with the conditions of approval or denial of the application may appeal the decision to the Township Council. Applications appealed to the Township Council shall be acted upon in accordance with the schedule established by the Township Council. The Township Council may request recommendations from the Land Use Board and/or Environmental Commission prior to taking action on any application. The applicant is required to present the appeal to the Township Council, provide additional copies of the application and pay fees and escrow as established by the Township Council.
Approval of the plan. In granting approval of the plan, the Township Engineer and/or the Township Forester shall apply the following principles:
Stripping of vegetation, grading or other soil disturbance shall be done in a manner which will minimize soil erosion and stormwater runoff. Compliance with the Standards for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control in New Jersey shall be required.
Whenever feasible, natural vegetation shall be retained and protected.
The extent of the disturbed area and the duration of its exposure shall be limited based upon the application or conditions of approval.
Either temporary seeding, mulching or other suitable stabilization measures shall be used to protect exposed critical areas during construction and other land disturbance.
Drainage provisions shall accommodate increased on-site runoff resulting from modified soil and surface conditions both during and after site development.
Stormwater runoff leaving the site shall be minimized according to design standards and shall be retained on site wherever possible to facilitate groundwater recharge.
Sediment shall be retained on site.
Diversions, settlement basins and similar required structures shall be installed prior to any on-site grading or disturbance.
Tree loss and soil disturbance along streams and lakes is to be avoided.
Loss of specimen trees is to be avoided, particularly along ridgelines.
If necessary to save a specimen tree, a tree well with subsurface root aeration piping may be installed to facilitate fill within the dripline, provided prior approval is obtained.
[Amended 7-14-2004 by Ord. No. 23-04]
The Township Engineer and Township Forester shall not approve the plan if, in the opinion of such officials, the plan:
Causes adverse drainage conditions and/or the inundation of real property and/or buildings on other premises.
Constitutes an undue burden upon the drainage system of the Township or hampers the proper, present or future course of development of the Township drainage system.
Presently constitutes or in the reasonable foreseeable future will constitute a danger or hazard to the well-being, safety or general welfare of the residents of the municipality or any property located therein.
More than 10 specimen trees are proposed to be removed.
More than 500 cubic yards of soil is proposed to be removed from a lot unless exempt pursuant to § 273-3.
Soil disturbance or tree removal is proposed within 25 feet of a stream or lake.
Soil disturbance or tree removal is proposed in a wetland, wetland transition area, as defined by DEP regulations, or conservation easement.
[Amended 7-14-2004 by Ord. No. 23-04]
Any applicant who is denied a permit or is dissatisfied with the conditions of approval for a permit may appeal said decisions to the Township Council within 45 days of the action taken by the Township Forester and/or Township Engineer. The appeal shall be accomplished by filing a written notice with the Township Clerk on a form as provided by the Township Clerk. No additional fees shall be required than the fees which were submitted with the original application. The Township Clerk shall notify the applicant of a date for the hearing. No later than 10 days prior to the hearing date, the applicant shall cause to be provided notice to all property owners within 200 feet of the boundary lines of the lot or lots from which the soil disturbance is proposed. The applicant shall obtain a list of property owners within 200 feet from the person or department in the Township which provides that notice pursuant to the Land Use Procedure Ordinances of the Township. The notice minimally shall include the lots and blocks of the property sought to be disturbed, the amount of soil to be removed, if it involves soil removal, the area of soil disturbance and the number of specimen trees sought to be removed if any are to be removed. The application shall further indicate that plans are available for review in the Township offices. If the application is to seek any soil removal over any public roadways within the Township, the notice shall so indicate the same and the public roadways sought to be used.
Applications which are made in conjunction with a building permit for a single-family home shall include provisions for replacement trees.
The applicant shall be encouraged to save as many trees as possible within the disturbed area. However, for each 5,000 square feet of disturbed area or any portion thereof, the applicant shall replant a replacement tree within the disturbed area on the same lot and to consist of one or more of the following species: red maple, sugar maple, red oak, white oak, chestnut oak, scarlet oak, pin oak, black oak, hickory, American birch, yellow birch, black birch, dogwood, yellow poplar, black locust, red cherry, sweet gum or weeping willow or any other species as approved by the Township Forester. The developer may take credit for each tree retained within the disturbed area that has a diameter of four inches or greater measured at 4 1/2 feet above grade. Each tree shall be planted before the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, unless weather shall prohibit the planting of the same, in which event the developer shall post escrow money with the Township with a definite date, not to exceed six months, as to when the trees will be planted and under an agreement that the Township shall have a right to use said funds in the event that the trees are not planted within the time period to plant trees on the property or in some other appropriate area of the Township in the event that trees cannot be planted on the property. Escrow shall be posted in the amount of $300 for each tree to be replaced prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. The developer and the property owner are mutually responsible for the replacement of trees, and should the developer convey property prior to the replanting, the developer shall receive a written agreement from the purchaser to permit the planting.
Editor's Note: Former Subsections C, D and E, pertaining to a tree loss mitigation plan, which originally followed this subsection, were repealed 3-15-2006 by Ord. No. 8-06.
Editor's Note: Former § 273-12, Tree Loss Mitigation Fund, as amended, was repealed 3-15-2006 by Ord. No. 8-06.
Applications which include soil removal in excess of 50 cubic yards shall provide the following additional information:
The kind and quantity, in cubic yards, of soil to be removed and the projected daily removal in cubic yards.
The destination of soil to be moved, the route over which the material will be transported and the hours of operation.
The proposed date of commencement and completion of the soil removal.
The name, address and telephone number of the person having direct charge over the soil removal operation.
[Amended 7-14-2004 by Ord. No. 23-04]
All permits are valid for a maximum of one year from date of issuance. The duration of disturbance shall be limited as provided in the application or as a condition of approval. Time extensions shall be requested for approval prior to exceeding the proposed duration.
The following may be required as conditions of approval:
Posting of escrow for progress and final inspection.
Traffic control provisions, including payment for uniformed traffic directors, warning signs, etc., particularly where soil removal is approved.
Provisions for replacement trees.
Provisions for drywells, drains and/or slope stabilization.
Erosion and sediment control requirements.
Road opening permits and/or bond requirements may be required for truck access and protection of municipal roads.
Retaining wall inspection by applicant's licensed engineer if over four feet high.
Such other requirements as may be necessary to fulfill the intent of this chapter.
The following measures shall be taken to protect trees to remain in conjunction with all development projects:
Tree protection measures and the limit of disturbance line shown on the landscape plan shall be provided in the field with snow fencing or other durable material and verified by the Township Forester or other designated official prior to soil disturbance.
Protective barriers shall not be supported by the plants they are protecting, but shall be self-supporting. Barriers shall be a minimum of four feet high and shall last until construction is complete.
Chain link fence may be required for tree protection if warranted by site conditions and relative rarity of the plant.
Snow fencing used for tree protection shall be firmly secured along the dripline, but shall be no less than six feet from the trunk.
The grade of the land located within the dripline shall not be raised or lowered more than six inches unless compensated by welling or retaining wall methods; and in no event shall welling or retaining wall methods be less than six feet from the trunk of a tree.
No soil stockpiling, storage of building materials, construction equipment or vehicles shall be permitted within the dripline or within six feet of any remaining trees, whichever is greater.
Any clearing within the dripline or within six feet of the trunk of a remaining tree, whichever is greater, shall be done by hand-operated equipment.
Where a tree that has been noted for preservation is severely damaged and unable to survive, tree replacement shall occur as provided in § 273-11.
The Township Forester shall attend all preconstruction meetings for development projects that involve the protection and/or removal of trees.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer, Township Forester or other designated officials of the Township of Jefferson.
Any person who violates the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to fines as follows:
For each 5,000 square feet of soil disturbance, a fine of up to $500 and restoration of the site.
For removal of each 50 cubic yards of soil, a fine of up to $500 and restoration of the site.
For removal of each tree, a fine of up to $500.
For removal of each specimen tree, an additional fine of up to $1,000.
All maximum fines listed above shall be additive for any multiple violation of this chapter.
In addition, the destruction, cutting or removal of each tree in violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be considered as a separate offense and subject to a separate penalty for each offense. In addition to the penalties fixed herein, any court having competent jurisdiction shall have the right to order appropriate action to be taken by the person or persons found to be in violation of the provisions of this chapter, including the owner, to restore the property which has been the subject of a violation of the provisions of this chapter.
Upon the filing of any application, there shall be a permit fee paid in the amount of $200 which shall be considered a fee for the administrative costs of review of any application for any area to be disturbed of 7,000 square feet or less, and for each area to be disturbed in excess of 7,000 square feet, the fee shall be the sum of $50 for each additional area of 7,000 square feet or less of disturbance.
In addition to the fees established above, an additional fee of $0.10 per cubic yard shall be charged for soil removal in excess of 100 cubic yards.