Township of Lopatcong, NJ
Warren County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Lopatcong 10-20-1982 by Ord. No. 372 (Ch. 102 of the 1974 Code of the Township of Lopatcong). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 81.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 165.
Weed control — See Ch. 237.
Zoning and land use — See Ch. 243.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02; 4-1-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-04]
There is hereby created and established a Township Shade Tree Commission for the Township of Lopatcong, Warren County, New Jersey, which shall consist of not less than five nor more than seven members, and may include not more than two alternate members. The members and alternate members shall be appointed by the Mayor or other chief executive officer of the municipality, shall be residents of the municipality, and shall serve without compensation except as hereinafter provided.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02; 4-1-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-04]
A. 
The first commissioners shall be appointed within 60 days after the ordinance providing for the commission shall become effective, and their terms of office shall commence upon the day of their appointment and be for the respective periods of one, two, three, four and five years, if the commission consists of five members, beginning on January one next succeeding such appointment. If the commission is to consist of six members, the first commissioners shall be appointed as above, except that two shall be appointed for five years; and if the commission is to consist of seven members, two shall be appointed for five years and two shall be appointed for four years. In the event that the membership of any commission is increased, the new members shall be appointed in such manner that the terms shall expire in accordance with the foregoing. The terms of each appointee shall be designated in his appointment. All subsequent appointments, except to fill vacancies, shall be for the full term of five years, to take effect on January 1.
B. 
If the ordinance providing for alternate members provides for two alternate members, they shall be designated at the time of appointment as "Alternate No. 1" and "Alternate No. 2" and shall serve during the absence or disqualification of any regular member or members. The term of each alternate member shall be five years commencing on January 1 of the year of appointment; provided, however, that in the event two alternate members are appointed, the initial term of "Alternate No. 2" shall be four years and the initial term of "Alternate No. 1" shall be five years. The terms of the first alternate members appointed pursuant to this section shall commence on the day of their appointment and shall expire on the fourth or fifth December 31 next ensuing after the date of their appointments, as the case may be. An alternate member may participate in discussions of the proceedings but may not vote except in the absence or disqualification of a regular member. A vote shall not be delayed in order that a regular member may vote instead of an alternate member.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
A. 
It shall be the annual responsibility of the Commission to study, investigate, counsel, develop, update and administer a written plan for the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal or disposition of trees and shrubs in parks, along streets and in other public places. Such a plan will be presented to the Township Council and, upon its acceptance and approval, shall constitute the official comprehensive municipal tree plan for the ensuing year for the Township of Lopatcong.
B. 
The Commission, when requested by the Township Council, shall consider, investigate, make findings, report and recommend upon any special matter or question coming within the scope of its work.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
The Commission shall choose its own officers, make its own rules and regulations and keep a journal of its proceedings. A majority of the members shall be a quorum for the transaction of business.
This chapter shall apply to persons, as herein defined, who cut down, destroy, injure or plant street or park trees, whether in preparation for building construction, grading or regrading of any lot or parcel of land or otherwise who intend to cut down, destroy or remove any street or park tree or who intend to place material, machinery or temporary soil deposit within 10 feet of any street or park tree trunk on Township property or easements.
As used herein, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth:
PARK TREES
Trees, bushes and all other woody vegetation on public lands.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, corporation, association, syndicate, partnership, trust or any other legal entity.
PRUNING
The cutting of limbs back to the main stem or trunk, without leaving stubs, in such a manner that it does not severely disfigure the tree or to remove the normal crown.
PUBLIC LANDS
Any lands owned by the Township of Lopatcong, except roadways, whether or not the same are open to the general public.
PUBLIC ROADS
Any street, avenue, boulevard, road, parkway, drive or other way, whether open to vehicles or not, which includes the area between the right-of-way lines.
STREET TREES
Deciduous trees, shrubs, bushes and all other woody vegetation on public roads.
TOPPING
Severe cutting back of limbs to such a degree as to remove the normal crown or disfigure the tree.
TREE INSPECTOR
A representative of the Township Shade Tree Commission appointed by the Township Council to administer the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
No species other than those included on the official tree list may be planted as street trees or park trees without written permission of the Township Shade Tree Commission. For a tree list, refer to Trees for New Jersey Streets, a publication of the New Jersey Federation of Shade Tree Commissions, Cook College, Blake Hall, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903.
The spacing of street trees will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in Trees for New Jersey Streets, and no trees may be planted closer together than the following:
A. 
Small trees and medium trees: 40 feet.
B. 
Large trees: 60 feet, except in special plantings designed or approved by the Shade Tree Commission.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
The distance trees may be planted from curbs or curblines and sidewalks will be in accordance with the three species size classes listed in Trees for New Jersey Streets, and no trees may be planted closer than 1 1/2 feet to any curb or sidewalk.
No street or park tree shall be planted within 35 feet of any street corner, measured from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curblines. No street tree shall be planted closer than 10 feet to any hydrant.
No street or park trees other than those species listed as small trees in Trees for New Jersey Streets may be planted under or within 10 lateral feet of any overhead utility wire.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
The Township shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within the lines of all streets, alleys, avenues, lanes, squares and public grounds as may be necessary to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds. The Township Shade Tree Commission may remove or cause or order to be removed any street or park tree or part thereof which is in an unsafe condition or which, by reason of its nature, is injurious to sewers, electric power lines, gas lines, water lines or other public improvements or which is affected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest. This section does not prohibit the planting of street trees by adjacent property owners, provided that the selection and location of said trees are in accordance with §§ 219-8 through 219-12 of this chapter.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person to top any street tree or park tree. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical may be exempted from this chapter at the determination of the Township Shade Tree Commission.
All stumps of street and park trees shall be removed below the surface of the ground so that the top of the stump shall not project above the surface of the ground.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
If it is determined by the Township Shade Tree Commission that an insufficient number of trees remain within the public lands or easements of the Township as a result of the removal of existing trees or of the nonexistence of sufficient trees on said land, the planting of trees of an approved variety, as set forth in §§ 219-8 through 219-12 of this chapter, shall be required following all construction.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the Shade Tree Commission or any of its agents while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying or removing of any street or park trees, as authorized in this chapter.
No person shall cut down, destroy or remove any street or park tree, place any material, machinery, temporary soil deposit and/or regrade the soil within 10 feet of said tree trunk without first having secured a permit from the Township Tree Inspector. The Tree Inspector shall grant the permit if the proposed removal is not found to be in contravention of the purposes of this chapter as set forth in the preamble[1] or in the applicable sections of this chapter. No permit shall be required of any public service company or Township employee doing such work in the pursuit of their public service endeavors.
[1]
Editor's Note: The preamble to the ordinance which established this chapter provided as follows:
"Whereas the Council of the Township of Lopatcong, County of Warren and State of New Jersey, in the interests of public health and safety and the improvement of the environment, deems it necessary and proper that an ordinance be adopted providing for the care, preservation, planting, pruning and removal of trees and shrubs in parks, streets and other public places in said Township; and
"Whereas the purpose of such an ordinance is to prevent the uncontrolled destruction and removal of trees growing upon public lands within the Township of Lopatcong which may result in soil erosion, stream pollution, inadequate or destructive surface drainage, a decrease in the fertility of the soil, the creation of dust and pollution and the creation of breeding places for mosquitoes, all of which result in increased costs to the Township for the correction thereof:"
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
The Township Council shall have the right to review the conduct, acts and decisions of the Township Shade Tree Commission and Tree Inspector. Any person may appeal from any ruling or order of the Township Shade Tree Commission and Tree Inspector to the Township Council, which may hear the matter and make a final decision.
A. 
Any person or corporation violating any provision of this chapter shall be, upon conviction or a plea of guilty, subject to a fine not to exceed replacement cost of the tree. A violation affecting more than one tree shall be considered a separate violation as to each tree.
B. 
Any violation of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof.
[Added 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
C. 
Any property owner found in violation of § 219-22 shall, after receiving written notice of said violation, have a period of 30 days to rectify said situation. In the event the property owner fails to comply with the terms and conditions as set forth above, the Township shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a streetlight, interferes with the visibility of a traffic control device or sign or interferes with the clearance/removal of snow, ice or leaves from the street.
[Added 10-4-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-24]
A. 
The following trees are not recommended for local planting as they are disease- or insect-prone:
(1) 
Upright Siberian crabapple (Malus baccata columnaris): fire blight troublesome.
(2) 
Marshall's seedless green ash (Faxinus pennsylvanica): oystershe scale; roundheaded borer.
(3) 
European white birch (Betula pendula): bronze birch borer and birchleaf miner.
(4) 
Shademaster thornless honeylocust (Prunus avium f. plena): tent caterpillar.
(5) 
European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus): bagworm; canker worm.
(6) 
Lavalle hawthorn (Crataegus lavallei): insects and disease sometimes troublesome.
(7) 
London plant tree (Platanus acerifolia): canker strain; anthracno lacebug; aphids.
(8) 
Yoshino cherry (Prunus yedoensis): tent caterpillar; scale.
(9) 
Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida): dogwood borer.
(10) 
Washington thorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum): lacebug.
(11) 
Kingan fruitless mulberry (Morus alba): canker.
B. 
The Township Shade Tree Commission shall furnish a list of Trees for New Jersey Streets with complete description of physical properties, average longevity, root system, growth factor, etc., upon request.
[Amended 2-19-1992 by Ord. No. 1992-02]
[Added 10-4-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-24]
Any property owner whose trees or shrubs overhang any street or right-of-way within the Township shall prune the branches so that such branches shall not obstruct the view of any street intersection, shall not obstruct the light from any street lamp or impede the clearance/removal of snow, ice or leaves from the street. There shall be a clear space of 12 feet above the surface of the street or sidewalk. Said property owners shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public.