[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Tuckerton 4-17-2006 by Ord. No. 7-2006; amended in its entirety 5-2-2011 by Ord. No. 6-2011. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
It is hereby found and declared that indiscriminate, uncontrolled and excessive destruction, removal and clear-cutting of trees upon lots and tracts of land results in increased drainage control costs, increased soil erosion and sedimentation in the Borough's waterways, decreased fertility of the soil, degradation of water resources, decreased groundwater recharge, increased buildup of atmospheric carbon and increased dust and decreased property values, all of which negatively impact the character of the Borough.
Finding that the removal of trees adversely affects the health, safety and general welfare of its residents, the Borough desires to regulate and control indiscriminate and excessive cutting of trees by preserving the maximum possible number of trees in the course of the development of a site, ensuring that the health of the trees preserved on the site is maintained throughout the development process, protecting larger, older specimen trees and encouraging innovative design and grading to promote the preservation of existing trees. It is recognized that there is a strong relationship between the integrity of the Borough and area water resources, development on sloped terrain, tree removal, soil disturbance, stormwater management and the general use of land resources. Therefore, the appropriate management of these resources is an important health, safety and general welfare concern.
With the exception of the exemptions set forth in this chapter, no tree shall be cut or otherwise removed from any public or private lands within the Borough of Tuckerton without a tree removal permit. All applications to the Land Use Board for approval of a major subdivision, minor subdivision or site plan requiring tree removal shall include an application for a tree removal permit. No tree that was planted or preserved as part of any landscape plan, streetscape project, or in accordance with any tree requirements approved in conjunction with a subdivision or site plan shall be removed, except for such trees directed to be removed pursuant to this chapter. Any property cleared of trees prior to the adoption of this chapter which must subsequently receive approvals by the Land Use Board will be subject to all provisions related to reforestation, landscape plans and replacement trees.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Land Use Board, to whom applications for a tree removal permit are submitted, and to whom applications for appeals from the decisions of the Borough Zoning Officer for tree removal permits are submitted.
- BUFFER AREA (also known as a SCREENING STRIP)
- The distance from the side and rear property lines, beginning at the front setback line of the lot and running to the rear line, in the case of the side lines, and for the entire width of the rear line.
- BUILDING PLOT
- A parcel of land upon which a building has been or may be erected with the Zoning Ordinance.
- Standard measure of tree size for trees newly planted. The measurement is taken six inches above the ground for trees four inches in diameter or less, and 12 inches above the ground for trees over four inches in diameter.
- The removal of all standing trees on a lot or portion of a lot.
- Three or more trees with a caliper of 3.5 inches located not more than 10 feet apart.
- DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT
- Diameter of a tree measured 4 1/2 feet (forestry method) above ground level on the downhill side for existing trees. "Diameter at breast height" may appear as the abbreviation DBH.
- A limiting line established by a series of perpendicular drop points marking the maximum radius of the crown of a tree but not less than six feet from the trunk, whichever is greater, and within which no construction or disturbance shall occur.
- A license issued by the Zoning Officer to remove or destroy trees from any unimproved or vacant land as defined in this chapter.
- REPLACEMENT TREE
- A nursery-grown tree, properly balled, marked with a durable label indicating genus, species and variety, and satisfying the standards established for nursery stock and installation thereof set forth by the American Association of Nurserymen.
- SELECTIVE CUTTING
- The removal of trees on an individual basis while leaving other trees.
- A woody plant that is never treelike in habit and produces branches or shoots from or near the base, such as kalmia, rhododendron, azalea, viburnum and similar species.
- The management of any wooded tract of land to ensure its continued survival and welfare, whether for commercial or noncommercial purposes, pursuant to a plan approved by the New Jersey Bureau of Forestry.
- SPECIMEN TREE
- The largest known individual trees of each species in the State of New Jersey. The NJDEP, Bureau of Forestry, maintains a list of such trees, which is now incorporated herein by reference. Any trees which are equal to or larger than said listed trees; also, any trees so designated by the Tuckerton Environmental Commission.
- The removal of undesirable, competitive, diseased or damaged trees so as to cultivate and improve the development of remaining trees on the lot.
- Any self-supporting woody plant which reaches a typical mature height of 12 feet or more and has a typical DBH of four inches or greater.
- TREE CANOPY
- The top layer or crown of a mature tree.
- WOODED ACRES PERMITTED FOR DEVELOPMENT
- The wooded lands within a tract which are not specifically excluded from development by any federal, state, county or municipal law or ordinance, deed restriction or covenant running with the lands. For the purpose of this chapter, those lands specifically eliminated from consideration as wooded acres permitted for development include, but are not limited to, wetlands as defined by N.J.S.A. 13:9B-1 et seq.
Permit required. No person, entity or property owner, shall remove, suffer or cause to be removed or destroyed any tree on land within the Borough unless a permit is obtained for such removal or unless there is exemption for the property under this chapter.
Application fee. The permit shall be obtained from the Zoning Officer upon an application being made and a fee of $25 with each application.
Application information where no building permit is requested. An application for a permit for removal or destruction of any tree or trees where no building permit is requested shall contain the name of the applicant, the name of the property owner (if different) with his/her consent, the location of trees on a sketch of the property and the reason for the removal or destruction.
Application information where building permit is sought. For an application for a permit for removal or destruction where a building permit for construction is being sought, the property owner shall file with the site plan a plan showing which trees on the property are to be removed.
Issuance of permits. The permit for tree removal shall be issued by the Zoning Officer in conformance with the provisions of this chapter.
Reforestation bonds. Prior to the clearing of land or removal of trees in an area in excess of 20,000 square feet, a zoning permit must be obtained from the Borough Zoning Officer, except where the clearing of land and removal of trees is solely for a single-family residence. Prior to the issuance of a zoning permit, the applicant shall have furnished the Borough with a reforestation bond assuring the reforestation of the property.
Each application to the Land Use Board for approval of a major or minor subdivision or a site plan that requires the removal of trees shall include an application for a tree removal permit. The application and development proposal shall conform to the following provisions:
Application form. The application form may be obtained from the Zoning Officer and shall include the following information:
Name and address (street, lot, block) of the owner of the premises and status of legal entity (individual, partnership, corporation).
Description of the premises where removal is to take place, including lot and block numbers, street address as assigned.
A list of all trees to be removed with a DBH equal to or greater than four inches by size and species, including total number of each species removed.
Purpose for tree removal (new construction, street, driveway, utility easement, recreation area, parking, etc.).
Proof that there are no delinquent property taxes or assessments due on the property for which the application is submitted.
Such other information as may be deemed necessary to effectively process and decide such application.
Landscape plan. The following shall be provided on a landscape plan prepared by a registered landscape architect or registered professional engineer and submitted with the application for tree removal. The landscape plan must be submitted prior to the tree removal permit being approved.
Location of existing tree canopy within the property boundaries.
Location of individual trees with DBH equal or greater than four inches identified by size and species within the area of development/limit or disturbance.
Location of individual trees with a DBH equal to or greater than four inches identified by size and species beyond the area of development/limit of disturbance.
Location of existing individual trees and their driplines noted for preservation within the area of development/limit of disturbance identified by size and species. Where clusters of trees exist on the site or are contiguous with adjacent sites, fragmentation of the clusters shall be avoided where possible.
Location of all required replacement trees.
Clear labeling of the area(s) intended for tree or vegetation removal.
Tree protection material details and limit of disturbance line.
Location of existing and proposed building/structures.
All bodies of water and wetlands, including water retention and detention areas.
Location of all existing driveways and parking areas.
Only those trees necessary to permit the construction of buildings, structures, streets, driveways, infrastructure and other authorized improvements shall be removed. Existing vegetation shall be preserved to the greatest extent feasible.
No more than 60% of the existing canopy within the property boundaries shall be removed. The location of the remaining 40% of the tree canopy to be preserved shall be noted on the landscape plan. Steep slope limits of the disturbance shall supercede this section when appropriate.
The following are exempt from this chapter:
Single-family residential lots.
Any tree that is part of a cemetery.
Trees directed to be removed by municipal, county, state or federal authority pursuant to law.
Removal of trees which are dead, dying or diseased, or trees which have suffered damage, or any tree whose angle of growth makes them a hazard to structures, roads or human life, with written concurrence of the Zoning Officer.
Removal of trees which appear to cause structural damage to buildings or foundations, with written concurrence of the Zoning Officer.
Any tree growing on or over a public right-of-way or public land.
Pruning or removal of trees within the right-of-way by utility companies for maintenance of utility wires or pipelines and the pruning of trees within sight easements.
Those projects that have received major subdivision or site plan approval prior to the effective date of this chapter and amended major subdivision and site plans.
A combination of both the reforestation and existing landscaping shall be taken into consideration in order to meet the minimal requirements of this chapter.
Any person violating or failing to comply with any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable by a fine of not more than $2,000, by imprisonment for a term not to exceed 90 days or by community service of not more than 90 days or any combination of fine, imprisonment and community service as determined by the Municipal Court Judge. The continuation of the violation for each successive day shall constitute a separate offense, and the person or persons allowing or permitting the continuation of the violation may be punishable as provided above for each offense. The court may also order replacement of trees illegally removed at the sole expense of the cited individual.
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the Borough's Zoning Officer, Code Enforcement Officer, Engineer and police department. When any violation of this chapter is observed, the proper official shall issue a stop-work order until all deficiencies are addressed.