[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Hampton 11-17-2003 by Ord. No. 18-03. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PROFESSIONAL FORESTER
- An individual recognized by the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, New Jersey Forest Service as a New Jersey State-approved forester.
- Any woody perennial plant, having a diameter greater than 18 inches, caliper size, measured from a point 4 1/2 feet above ground.
- TREE REMOVAL
- Any action that results in the death or significant degradation of the health or vigor of a tree, including but not limited to cutting, girdling, excessive pruning, application or discharge of chemicals, flooding or changes in natural soil moisture.
- Those areas of Hampton identified as upland forests on the Hunterdon County Planning Board map of woodlands (compiled and printed 2003).
Tree removal that results in the loss of greater than five trees of the total portion of a woodland or wooded lot 1/4 acre or more in size in any period of time less than seven years will not be permitted absent a woodland management plan prepared by a certified forester and approved in accordance with this chapter. Thus, no person shall cut or remove any tree upon any lands within the Borough of Hampton, in the County of Hunterdon, unless the aforesaid accomplishes a cause in accordance with the regulations and provisions of this chapter.
Any tree located on a tract of land three acres or less in size where slopes do not exceed 17% on which a single-family dwelling has been erected. This chapter applies to all properties where slopes exceed 17%, except for an exempt area of 100 feet in all directions from an existing residence.
Any tree growing on property actually being used as a nursery, garden center, Christmas tree plantation, or orchard.
Any tree growing on land actually being used for surface mining or public utilities.
Any tree growing in a public right-of-way as shown on an approved preliminary or final subdivision or site plan map, official map or current tax map.
Any dead or diseased tree that is likely to endanger the occupant, the public, or an adjoining property owner, or any tree cut for use as firewood, posts, rails, or building materials, provided it is for the personal use of the owner or occupant of the land on which the tree was located before cutting and for use on that land and not for resale or commercial purpose. Any tree growing on property actively operated under farmland assessment which is removed for reasons that advance agricultural purposes for that farm and not resold.
Any tree cut or removed in accordance with a woodland management plan developed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), New Jersey Forest Service, or other professional forester, and filed with the enforcing officer(s) duly appointed by the Borough of Hampton and the Borough of Hampton Tax Assessor. The woodland management plan shall be approved by the New Jersey Forest Service when required to qualify the property for farmland assessment values.
In accordance with § 238-2, any person, partnership, or corporation desiring to destroy, cut or remove any such tree shall apply to the Zoning Officer of the Borough of Hampton for a permit to remove such trees. The applicant shall identify the land upon which the tree or trees are located and shall disclose the name and address of the owner, tenant, or duly authorized agent of said owner or tenant, and shall identify and place the location of said tree or trees sought to be cut, removed or destroyed. The applicant shall place a one-inch-wide red ribbon to be provided by the Borough around the trunk of each tree to be removed at a height of 4 1/2 feet above the ground so that the proposed tree removal may be inspected in the field. This shall apply to all subdivisions, site plans and any lot of record.
If the applicant discloses that no more than five trees in excess of the size referred to aforesaid in this chapter are to be removed or destroyed from the lot or tract of land identified in said application, then and in that event, said Zoning Officer may issue a permit for the removal of said tree or trees.
In the event said applicant, together with any previous applicant or application, indicates that more than five trees of the size herein before referred to are to be cut, removed or destroyed from said land, the Zoning Officer shall review the site to determine whether the cutting, removal or destruction of said trees shall impair the drainage conditions, create soil erosion, increase the dust, or cause the deterioration of the property value and shall further determine the overall effects of the physical and aesthetic values of the land. In the event that the Zoning Officer is unable to determine if the removal of such trees would be detrimental to the property in question, the Zoning Officer may require that the applicant provide a certification by a professional forester that the cutting, removal or destruction of said trees shall not impair the drainage conditions, create soil erosion, increase the dust, or cause the deterioration of the physical and aesthetic values of the land. The cost of this determination shall be borne totally by the applicant.
As a basis for determining permitted tree removal, the Zoning Officer shall give due consideration to the following, in addition to the consideration under § 238-3:
Clearance of trees for proposed road or driveway right-of-way shall be approved by the Zoning Officer only for the paved or stoned portion of such rights-of-way plus a fifteen-foot width on each side only for alignments on plans as approved by the Planning Board or Township Engineer.
Clearance of trees for construction of a residence or other primary and accessory building plus a twenty-five-foot wide area surrounding such buildings shall be approved by the Zoning Officer only upon receipt of preliminary or final subdivision or site plan application as approved in writing by the Planning Board.
Clearance of trees for proposed off-street parking facilities or outdoor storage areas shall be approved by the Zoning Officer only for cleared locations as indicated on site plans approved by the Planning Board.
Clearance of trees for construction of septic tanks, cesspools, leaching fields, sewer plants and the like shall be approved by the Zoning Officer only after receipt of a site plan as approved by the Health Officer or Municipal Board of Health or Township Engineer.
All permits granted for removal of trees shall be issued with due consideration to the intent and purpose of this chapter. Properties which are subject to a permit shall be managed and restored in accordance with the New Jersey Forestry and Wetlands Best Management Practices Manual.
Generally, the removal of trees shall be permitted where the cut-and-fill operations as part of site grading are in excess of one foot elevation on all sides of a tree or trees in question and cause tree damage that cannot be mitigated by walled-wells (below grade) or retaining walls (above grade) or other engineering structures.
Where, in the opinion of a professional forester or engineer, the change in the existing drainage pattern will result in the general destruction of trees.
Where prohibited or subject to special consideration:
Where the purpose of tree removal is to provide better visibility to expose vacant land, signs and billboards, such removal shall be prohibited.
Where the existing trees form part of a planning greenbelt in any buffer zone, wetlands area, or transition area, such removal shall be prohibited.
Where trees are considered to be special by virtue of history, unusual size or the like, such removal shall be prohibited.
The removal of trees near utility substations, transmission towers, warehouses, junkyards, landfill operations and other similar uses or structures shall be prohibited except where in conflict with public safety requirements. In the vicinity of such uses or structures, in the absence of existing trees or forest cover, provisions shall be made for screen planting preferably using evergreen species.
The Zoning Officer, after reviewing the site and the certification of a professional forester, if required, shall determine whether the applicant shall be granted a permit and shall issue a tree removal permit or denial in writing within 10 business days of the date of such application. The Zoning Officer shall from time to time designate another officer for a particular application who shall be the Construction Code Official or the Borough Engineer of the Borough of Hampton. That designated official shall have the same duties and responsibilities as the Zoning Officer pertaining to that application.
The applicant at the time of filing said application shall deposit with the Zoning Officer a fee for the permit according to the following schedule:
If said determination of the applicant's request is unfavorable, the Zoning Officer shall promptly notify the applicant in writing with respect thereto and shall not issue said permit.
Tree protection measures and the limit of disturbance line shown on a landscape plan shall be provided in the field with snow fencing or other durable material and verified by the Borough Engineer 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 last until construction is complete.
Chain link fence may be required for tree protection if warranted by site conditions or variety of the plant.
Snow fencing used for tree protection shall be firmly secured along the dripline but 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. In no event shall welling or retaining wall methods be less than six feet from the trunk of a tree.
No soil stockpiling or 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 as shown on the approved plan within the dripline or within six feet of the trunk of a remaining tree, whichever is greater, shall be done by hand-operated equipment.
When it is necessary for curbing or utility line installation within the dripline or within six feet of a remaining tree, damage to roots shall be kept to a minimum necessary for proper installation of the line.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to a penalty not exceeding $2,000, imprisonment for a period not exceeding 90 days and/or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days for each violation. Each day that said violation continues shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation.
The applicant shall have the right to appeal the aforesaid decision to the Planning Board of the Borough of Hampton within 15 days of receipt of the Zoning Officer's decision. Said appeal shall be by written notice to the applicant within 30 days after the filing of said notice of appeal. The Planning Board may in its discretion and upon complete review of the application, and after hearing the testimony of the Zoning Officer and the applicant, reverse, modify or affirm the aforesaid decision.