Borough of Chesilhurst, NJ
Camden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Chesilhurst as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire prevention — See Ch. 225.
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 230.
Land development — See Ch. 285.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 358.
Stormwater control — See Ch. 406.
Stormwater quality — See Ch. 412.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 420.
[Adopted 1-11-2007 by Ord. No. 2006-8]
The intent of this article is to prevent indiscriminate clear-cutting of trees by property owners, prevent soil degradation, stream encroachment and other adverse effects upon the environment during development and promote proper revegetation of any site and to provide a permit application process for the proper authorization to remove trees from private property.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CERTIFICATE OF USE AND OCCUPANCY
The certificate issued by the Construction Code Official upon completion of the construction of a new building or upon a change in the occupancy of a building which permits the use of a building in accordance with the approved plans and specifications and which certifies compliance with the provisions of law for the use and occupancy of the building in its several parts together with any special stipulations or conditions of the building permit or approvals granted by any local agency.
COMPATIBLE TREE/COMPATIBLE SHRUB
Trees and shrubs authorized by N.J.A.C. 7:50-6.25 to be used for revegetation or landscaping purposes, or other native trees and shrubs not listed under N.J.A.C. 7:50-6.25 but adapted to the droughty, nutrient-poor conditions found in the New Jersey Pinelands.
CRITICAL ROOT ZONE (CRZ)
The minimum area surrounding an established tree which must be left undisturbed in order to preserve sufficient root mass to provide the tree with a reasonable chance of survival. Defined as a circular area surrounding an established tree, of which the center is the center of the tree trunk and the radius is the distance from the outside of the trunk to any point 18 times the diameter at breast height (DBH). The CRZ shall extend to a depth of five feet below surface ground level.
DECIDUOUS
Perennial tree or shrub which is normally leafless for some time during the year.
DIAMETER; DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT (DBH)
The diameter of any tree trunk, measured at 4.5 feet above average grade. If a tree splits into multiple trunks below 4.5 feet, DBH shall be measured at the narrowest point of the trunk below the split.
EVERGREEN
Tree or shrub with needles or leaves that remain alive and on the plant through the winter and into the next growing season.
FIRE HAZARD CLASSIFICATION
Classification of a parcel according its potential fire hazard as set forth in N.J.A.C. 7:50-6.123.
FRONT YARD
An open unoccupied space (except as permitted herein) on the same lot with a principal building and extending across the width of the lot between the front lot line and the front walls or supports of the principal building, regardless of its configuration.
HAZARDOUS TREE
A dead tree, or one so affected by a significant structural defect or disease that falling or failure appears imminent and that poses a threat to life or property, or a tree that impedes safe vision or traffic flow, or that otherwise currently poses a threat to life or property, all as determined by a certified arborist at the applicant's expense.
LANDSCAPING
The installation of plant material or seed as a part of a development.
LOT DISTURBANCE
Clearing, cutting, grading, excavating, filling, transporting, or any other activity that alters, eliminates or removes trees on a lot.
NEW JERSEY BIG TREE
A tree formally designated by the New Jersey Forest Service's New Jersey's Big Tree Program, New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, which identifies and catalogues the largest individual trees in the state according to species. A listing of such trees and a map showing their location is maintained at the principal offices of the Division.
NONTURF VEGETATION
Includes compatible trees of a minimum size of two-and-one-half-inch DBH and compatible shrubs.
PRESERVED TREE
A tree of six-inch DBH or larger, which is not removed from a lot on which development is occurring.
PROTECTION MEASURE
A practice or combination of practices (e.g., construction barriers, protective fencing, tree wells, etc.) used to limit or reduce construction or development impacts to vegetation.
REMOVE; REMOVAL
The direct or indirect removal of a tree(s) or vegetation through actions including but not limited to clearing, cutting, causing irreversible damage to roots or trunks; poisoning; destroying the structural integrity of trees or vegetation; filling, excavating, grading or trenching in the critical root zone; relocating an existing tree to a new planting location; or the elimination or destruction through any of these processes of greater than 30% of the height, size or bulk of an established tree.
TREE
A wood plant that has the potential to reach a height of at least 10 feet, has a single stem and has a definite crown shape.
UNDERSTORY VEGETATION
Small shrubs, herbaceous plants and groundcover plants generally receiving a height of less than 15 feet at maturity.
A. 
Purpose. It is recognized that there is a strong relationship between the Borough of Chesilhurst's (the "Borough") quality of life and the integrity of the region's water quality, air quality, natural landscape and aesthetic amenities. Destruction of the Borough's existing trees, woodlands and vegetation contributes to increased soil erosion, sedimentation, stormwater runoff, dust and atmospheric carbon, degradation of water resources, decreased groundwater recharge, wildlife habitat and property values, all of which negatively affect the character of the Borough. The appropriate management of existing vegetation resources is an important health, safety and welfare concern. Therefore, it is the intent of this subsection to protect the air, water, natural landscape and aesthetic quality of the Borough by maintaining, establishing or reestablishing the maximum possible number of trees, both during and subsequent to the development of a site, including preserving larger and older specimens of trees.
B. 
Residential development shall comply with the following schedule of lot disturbance limitations:
Lot Size
(square feet)
Maximum Lot Disturbance
(measured in square feet)
Less than or equal to 10,000
60%
10,001 to 20,000
55%
20,001 to 40,000
40%
Greater than 40,000
20%
All single-family attached and multifamily dwelling units
55% of overall tract/parcel
(1) 
In addition to the maximum lot disturbance requirements described in the above schedule, no lot disturbance shall be permitted within 10 feet of the rear lot line of any lot over 10,000 square feet.
(2) 
In addition to the requirements above, no New Jersey Big Trees shall be removed from any lot. No lot disturbance shall occur that interferes with the health of New Jersey Big Trees.
(3) 
Notwithstanding the maximum lot disturbance requirements above, the applicant may remove any hazardous trees on the lot provided that a certified arborist has verified the hazard and that the Zoning Officer has approved the removal.
(4) 
In moderate, high and extreme fire hazard classification areas, the above standards apply to the extent they are not inconsistent with the fire management standards of the Borough.
C. 
On nonresidential lots, no disturbance beyond the following areas of the lot shall be permitted:
(1) 
Lot disturbance on nonresidential lots:
(a) 
The building envelope; and
(b) 
Required parking, driveways, loading areas and utility access; and
(c) 
A ten-foot construction zone beyond the building and any other existing or proposed structures on the lot.
(2) 
In addition to the requirements above, no New Jersey Big Trees shall be removed from any lot. No lot disturbance shall occur that interferes with the health of New Jersey Big Trees.
(3) 
Notwithstanding the maximum lot disturbance requirements above, the applicant may remove any hazardous trees on the lot provided that a certified arborist has verified the hazard and that the Zoning Officer has approved the removal.
(4) 
In moderate, high and extreme fire hazard classification areas, the above standards apply to the extent that they are not inconsistent with the fire management standards of the Borough.
D. 
Applicants for development must ensure that the amount of nonturf vegetation in the front yard meets the following schedule:
Lot Size
(square feet)
Minimum Nonturf Vegetation in Front Yard
(measured in square feet)
Less than or equal to 10,000
7.0% of lot size
10,001 to 20,000
9.0% of lot size
20,001 to 40,000
12.0% of lot size
Greater than 40,000
16.0% of lot size
(1) 
The nonturf landscaping requirement shall be met according to the following specifications:
(a) 
This requirement may be met with existing nonturf vegetation; or
(b) 
Where a shortfall exists, either due to development on previously cleared lots or because of grading or clearing during development, replacement plantings must be used according to the following schedules:
Schedule A: Mix by Size: per 400 square feet = 20 points (with at least 1 tree)
(i)
Understory deciduous shrub = 2 points
(ii)
Understory evergreen shrub = 3 points
(iii)
1.5-inch DBH tree = 2 points
(iv)
2.5-inch DBH tree = 6 points
(v)
4-inch DBH tree = 12 points
(vi).
6-inch DBH tree = 18 points
Schedule B: Mix by Point Type
(i)
Maximum 90% deciduous
(ii)
Minimum 10% evergreen
(iii)
Maximum 50% shrubs
(iv)
Maximum 25% any one species
(c) 
If the shortfall(s) is less than a multiple of 400 square feet, the additional points required shall be pro rated, i.e., number of square feet of overage times 400 times 20.
(d) 
The replacement trees and understory vegetation shall be composed of compatible trees and shrubs as authorized by N.J.A.C. 7:50-6.25. Other trees and shrubs may be used for limited ornamental purposes around buildings and other structures, with approval from the Borough of Chesilhurst Planning Board.
(e) 
To the extent practicable, replacement plantings shall be done in clusters, consistent with what occurs naturally. In any case, the area surrounding the replacement plantings shall be covered with a mulch of hardwood chips at least two inches deep and no more than four inches deep.
(f) 
Replacement trees, shrubs and understory vegetation shall be nursery-grown and comply with American Association of Nurserymen (AAN) standards. Replacement trees must be planted according to the following standards:
[1] 
Planting hole must be two times wider than root ball of tree; and
[2] 
Native soil must be used for backfill and tamped lightly to avoid soil compaction; and
[3] 
Where appropriate, trees must be staked for trunk support and root anchorage.
(g) 
In the event that the vegetation marked for preservation or that installed as part of the replacement plantings dies within two years from the time construction is completed, the owner/developer must replace those plantings.
E. 
For all residential applications, the initial clearings will be limited to the clearing necessary to construct all roadways and drainage facilities only. In no case will the developer be permitted to clear any building lots during this initial clearing phase. All building lots may only be cleared on an individual basis upon the issuance of a building permit.
F. 
Most trees can tolerate only a small amount of root damage. Prior to any land disturbance, all preserved trees shall be protected from damage during construction using protection measures that protect the critical root zones.
(1) 
Critical root zone protection measures shall meet the following standards:
(a) 
Protective tree fencing shall be installed along the outer edge of and completely surrounding the critical root zones of all preserved trees. These fences shall be self-supporting wooden snow fences or orange plastic construction fences a minimum of four feet high and shall be accompanied by "Tree Preservation Area" signage; and
(b) 
Clearing within the critical root zone shall be done only by hand-operated equipment; and
(c) 
There shall be no excavation or storage of materials or equipment, including soil, within the critical root zone; and
(d) 
The grade of the land located within the critical root zone of all preserved trees 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 occur within the critical root zone; and
(e) 
Where utilities must be installed through a critical root zone, such installation shall be done using tunneling rather than trenching; and
(f) 
Physical damage to trunks, branches, foliage and roots of preserved plant material must be avoided; and
(g) 
Nothing shall be nailed or tied to preserved trees or understory vegetation; and
(h) 
The removal of trees adjacent to preserved trees can cause inadvertent damage to the roots of preserved trees. Whenever possible, trenches of a minimum width of two feet shall be cut along the limits of land disturbance so that roots are cut rather than torn. Tunneling may be required for the protection of New Jersey Big Trees.
(2) 
Appropriate protection measures shall be implemented to protect understory vegetation and other plant material to be preserved.
(3) 
Where the Planning Board has determined that irreparable damage has occurred to preserved trees and/or understory vegetation, the damaged plant materials must be removed and replaced.
G. 
Selective clearing.
(1) 
An owner or developer shall remove only such trees, vegetation and underbrush as is necessary to construct and install the structure and improvements authorized by the Borough of Chesilhurst Planning Board. Such clearing shall only be authorized subsequent to the owner/developer having satisfactorily addressed all conditions of development approval. All sites shall be developed in a manner which will result in the least amount of disturbance to the natural environment.
(2) 
A developer may be permitted to perform selective clearing to remove dead or damaged trees, underbrush and undesirable vegetation. The areas and extent of selective clearing must be indicated on the plan of development. All selective clearing must be approved by the Borough of Chesilhurst Zoning Officer prior to the commencement of any clearing.
(3) 
Where selective clearing is to occur in a required buffer area of a site or major subdivision, the developer shall be required to maintain a screening buffer in accordance with the buffer and landscape requirements as set forth in this article and shall be required to replace any planting removed in the course of selective clearing operations, which is required as part of the buffer.
(4) 
All selective clearing operations shall be performed in strict accordance with all applicable state, federal and local regulations. All cleared material, including but not limited to trees, branches, stumps, brush, refuse and other deleterious matter, shall be removed from the site and disposed of in a sanitary landfill licensed by the State of New Jersey to accept such waste.
H. 
Nothing in this article shall be deemed to impose any liability for damages or for the responsibility of care and maintenance upon the Borough or upon any of its officers or employees. The owner of any private property shall be responsible for maintaining the trees upon his property and under his control in a safe, healthy condition. Any person who determines that a tree located on property possessed, owned or controlled by him presents a danger to private or public safety, or to structural improvements on site or off site shall have an obligation to secure the area around the tree, support the tree, and/or to verify with the Zoning Officer that the tree is hazardous and remove it to safeguard both persons and improvements from harm.
A. 
A permit shall not be required under this article for any of the following:
(1) 
Any tree cut on a parcel of land one acre or less in size on which a residence has been constructed.
(2) 
Any tree cut on property actually being used as a nursery, garden center, Christmas tree plantation, orchard or active farm (blueberry, produce, etc.).
(3) 
Any tree to be cut for personal consumption by the owner, which consumption shall not exceed one cord per acre per year.
(4) 
Any tree cut personally by the owner of the real property, or a member of the owner's household, at a rate no greater than one cord from one acre per year.
(5) 
Any tree to be cut within a public right-of-way.
(6) 
Any dead, diseased or other tree cut to avoid or prevent the endangering of life or property in the interest of public safety, or to protect the health of surrounding trees, all as determined by a certified arborist at the owner's expense, not in excess of five cords per year without the prior written approval of the Borough.
B. 
The clearing of trees from more than 1,500 square feet of land shall be subject to the requirements of this article and shall not be considered an exception pursuant to this section.
A. 
Permit applications to cut, remove or harvest a stand of trees within the Borough shall be directed to the Borough through the office of the Borough Clerk. There shall be submitted therewith proof of ownership of the property which is the subject of the application by a certified copy of the deed from the office of the Camden County Clerk and affidavit establishing identity, with a notarized power of attorney if the applicant is not the record title owner. The Borough Clerk shall set forth and establish all rules and regulations required and deemed necessary to accomplish the purposes of this chapter.
B. 
Fees. There shall be an application fee for $50 for the first 10 acres applied for and an additional fee of $10 per additional 10 acres or any part thereof. Any fees in excess of $50 shall be refunded in the event of the rejection of the application.
C. 
In addition to any requirements established by the municipality in order to obtain a permit, the application shall also require approval by the Planning Board, as well as documentation of payment of all fees of the Planning Board and compliance with the Borough Clerk's rules, regulations and criteria.
D. 
The applicant shall notify, by certified mail, return receipt requested, and produce evidence of such notification, all property owners within 200 feet of lands which are the subject of the application, which notice shall include the nature of the application, the number of acres involved, the location of the property and the date of any hearing required by the application.
All permits issued pursuant to this chapter shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of approval by the Borough Council. Any alteration or deviation from the cutting plan authorized in the permit shall require a new application and approval prior to undertaking the same. In the event that the permittee shall alter or deviate from the approved cutting plan, the permit shall forthwith be rendered null and void. Permits issued pursuant to this chapter are nontransferable.
A. 
A violation of any of the provisions of this article shall forthwith render any permit authorized and issued hereunder null and void.
B. 
Any person violating any of the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction before the Municipal Judge of the Borough of Chesilhurst, be subject to a fine of not less than $100 and not exceeding $2,000, imprisonment for a period not exceeding 90 days and/or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
C. 
For purposes of this article, each day on which a violation exists shall be deemed or constitute a separate offense and separate complaints may be filed for each such offense.