Township of Bernards, NJ
Somerset County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. #256, § 1]
No person shall cut down or remove any living tree with a diameter in excess of four inches measured on such a tree at a height of 4 1/2 feet above the level of the ground upon any lands within the township unless the person shall have first obtained a permit therefor in accordance with the rules and regulations hereinafter set forth. Excepted from the prohibitions of this subsection shall be trees located on a tract of land having a total area of less than three acres with a building located thereon, any trees cut or removed in accordance with an approved management plan of a proper state or federal authority, any trees located on publicly owned lands, any trees required to be cut in connection with the installation of public utilities or any trees located in commercial orchards or nurseries.
[Ord. #256, § 4; Ord. #1518, 12-11-2001, amended]
Any person desiring to cut down or remove any living tree in excess of the size set forth in subsection 16-3.1 shall first apply to the Township Engineer for a permit authorizing the same. A separate application shall be filed for each lot or parcel. On a form to be supplied by the Construction Official, the applicant shall identify the land upon which the tree or trees are located, the name and address of the owner, tenant and duly authorized agent of the owner or tenant, if any, and shall set forth with sufficient specificity for purposes of identification the location of the tree or trees sought to be cut down or removed and the reasons for the request.
[Ord. #256, §§ 5-7]
a. 
The Township Engineer shall promptly refer the application to the Tree Protection Committee for its review and action pursuant to the standards hereinafter set forth. In the event that the Tree Protection Committee fails to take action on such application by no later than 10 days after such application is filed, it shall be deemed to have been approved and the Township Engineer shall forthwith issue a permit. Any permit shall expire, if not acted upon, in one year from the date of its issuance.
[Ord. #1518, 12-11-2001, amended]
b. 
In rendering a judgment on applications submitted for its consideration, the Tree Protection Committee shall at all times give weight to the basic intent of this chapter, which is to retain healthy trees in the Township wherever reasonably feasible. Subject to the foregoing, the Tree Protection Committee shall make its decisions in accordance with the following considerations:
1. 
Whether the tree or trees are located upon a proposed building site, driveway, recreation area, roadway, drainage right of way, sewerage line, or whether the trees are within 20 feet of any of the foregoing.
2. 
Whether the tree or trees appear upon inspection to be diseased or so situated as to be substantially lacking in vigor.
3. 
Whether the tree or trees are so located that necessary grade changes will render protection unreasonably difficult or expensive.
4. 
Whether the tree or trees constitute significant screening between existing or proposed buildings on contiguous lots.
5. 
Whether, in the case of a lot to be developed, the proposed purchaser has requested in writing that a particular tree or trees be removed.
6. 
Whether removal of the tree or trees will constitute a horticulturally advantageous thinning of an existing overgrown area.
7. 
Whether removal of the tree or trees will significantly and adversely affect drainage conditions, soil fertility or soil stability.
8. 
Whether other practical exigencies may exist which would unduly cause hardship or difficulty to the applicant if the tree or trees were retained as weighed against the value of such retention.
c. 
The Tree Protection Committee shall endorse its decision upon the application and, in case of partial or complete disapproval, shall set forth the basis for such decision, which shall thereupon be transmitted to the applicant.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection 16-3.3, Fees, was repealed by Ord. #1518, 12-11-2001. This ordinance also provided for the renumbering of former Subsections 16-3.4 through 16-3.6 as Subsections 16-3.3 through 16-3.5, respectively.
[Ord. #256, § 8; Ord. #1518, 12-11-2001, amended]
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Tree Protection Committee may appeal therefrom by letter to the Township Committee. The Township Committee shall hear the appeal within 20 days of receipt of such letter. Appellant shall give at least 10 days notice of the hearing to the owners of all lands within 200 feet of the affected lot or parcel and the Township Engineer. Any interested parties may appear in person or by attorney and following receipt of relevant testimony, the Township Committee shall, within 10 days of such hearing, either affirm, reverse or modify the decision appealed from upon such terms and conditions as to it shall seem just.
[Ord. #256, § 9]
Whenever a building permit is requested for a structure which will require the removal of trees as herein protected, the Construction Official shall decline to issue any such building permit until a tree removal permit is applied for and issued.