[Adopted 5-13-1970 as Sec. 2-22 of the 1970 Revised General Ordinances (Ch. 105 of the 1992 Code)]
[Amended 2-10-1994 by Ord. No. 94-1]
The regulation, planting, care and control of shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery upon and in the streets, highways, public places, parks and parkways of the Borough, except state highways unless the State Highway Department shall assent thereto and except county highways, parks and parkways if a County Shade Tree Commission is operative and gives assent thereto, shall be exercised by and under the authority of the Shade Tree Commission of the Borough, which is hereby created. The Commission shall consist of five members appointed by the Mayor, who shall be residents of the Borough and shall serve without compensation, except as hereinafter provided.
The Commission shall organize within 30 days after the appointment of its total membership for the remainder of the then calendar year and thereafter annually by the election of one of its members as Chairman and the appointment of a Secretary, who need not be a member. The salary of the Secretary, who may be compensated even if a member of the Commission, shall be fixed by the Council. The salary of all other employees shall be fixed by the Commission. All salaries shall be fixed as nearly as practicable in accordance with the salary schedule, if any, of the Borough for corresponding positions.
Editor's Note: The Salary Ordinance is on file at the Borough Clerk's office, where it is available for inspection.
Any vacancy occurring by reason of the death, resignation or removal of any Commissioner shall be filled for the unexpired term by the Mayor.
The Shade Tree Commission shall have the power to:
Exercise full and exclusive control over the regulation, planting and care of shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery now located or which may hereafter be planted in any public highway, park or parkway, except such as are excluded pursuant to § 10-4, including the planting, trimming, spraying, care and protection thereof.
Regulate and control the use of the grounds surrounding the same, so far as may be necessary for their proper growth, care and protection.
Move or require the removal of any tree or part thereof dangerous to public safety.
Care for and control such parks and parkways; encourage arboriculture; and make, alter, amend and repeal, in the manner prescribed for the passage, alteration, amendment and repeal of ordinances by the Council, any and all ordinances necessary or proper for carrying out the provisions hereof.
Administer treatment to or remove any tree situated upon private property which is believed to harbor a disease or insects readily communicable to neighboring healthy trees in the care of the Borough and enter upon private property for that purpose, with the consent of the owner, provided that the suspected condition is first confirmed by certificate issued by or on behalf of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
Except as hereinafter provided, the initial cost of all trees planted by the Commission, the cost of planting the same, the cost of the posts and boxes or guards used for the protection thereof and the cost of the removal of any tree or part thereof dangerous to public safety shall, if the Commission shall so determine in accordance with uniform rules and regulations promulgated for this purpose, be a charge upon the real estate in front of which the tree or trees shall be planted or removed as an improvement thereof. Such cost, if it is determined that it is to be paid by the owner, shall, unless paid directly to the Commission, be certified by it to the Tax Collector; shall thereupon become and be a lien upon the real estate; shall be included in the next tax bill rendered to the owner or owners thereof; and shall be collected in the same manner as other taxes against the property.
In every case where the property of an abutting owner will be chargeable with the cost of planting of any shade tree, the Commission shall give notice of the meeting at which it is proposed to consider such planting by publishing the notice at least once, not less than 20 days before the meeting, in a newspaper circulating in the Borough and by personal service of a copy of the notice upon the abutting owner at least 10 days before the meeting. The notice shall specify the street, streets or portions thereof on which such planting is proposed and require all persons who may object thereto to present their objections, in writing, at the office of the Commission at or before the meeting. Before final action shall be taken, all objections so filed shall be considered. The Commission shall give reasonable notice of its intention to remove or cause the removal of a tree or part of a tree dangerous to public safety, unless public safety requires immediate removal, in which case no notice shall be necessary.
No statute giving any person or state, county or municipal board, body or official the power or authority to lay any sidewalk along or to open, construct, curb or pave any street or to do any similar act shall be construed to permit or authorize any interference with or injury to a highway shade tree without the consent of the Shade Tree Commission within whose jurisdiction such tree shall be located. In all cases, the Commission shall reasonably cooperate with such person, board, body or official for the general public good. Nothing in this section shall be construed to take away or diminish any of the powers or authority of any county park commission over the trees or shrubbery in any county park or parkway within its jurisdiction or to give any other commission or board any power or authority with respect to such trees or shrubbery.
During the month of December in each year, the Shade Tree Commission shall certify to the Council the estimated sum necessary for the proper conduct of its work during the ensuing fiscal year, which shall include the sum estimated to be expended for any of the following items for which it is anticipated expenditure will be made:
Payment of wages and salaries of employees.
Expenses of Commission members in discharging official duties, including expenses incident to attendance at professional meetings.
Purchase of trees and shrubbery.
Purchase of necessary equipment and materials and the cost of services for the prudent promotion of the work.
The Council shall annually appropriate such sum as it may deem necessary for such purposes.
The Shade Tree Commission is authorized and empowered to promulgate any ordinances and written rules and regulations which may be necessary, pursuant to statute, for the proper interpretation of this article and the administration and enforcement thereof, provided that such ordinances and regulations conform to and do not conflict with the general standards prescribed by this article.
The Commission may prescribe a fine for violation of its ordinances in an amount not exceeding $1,500 for each violation, and the Municipal Court of the Borough shall have jurisdiction in actions for such violations. The ordinances of the Commission shall be enforced by like proceedings and process as that provided by law for the enforcement of Borough ordinances. The officers authorized by law to serve and execute process in the Municipal Court shall be the officers to serve and execute any process issued out of the Municipal Court for violations of the ordinances of the Commission. A copy of any ordinance of the Commission, certified to by its Secretary or Chairman, shall be received in any court of the state as full and legal proof of the existence of the ordinance and that all requirements of law in relation to ordaining, publishing and making of the same, so as to make it legal and binding, have been complied with, unless the contrary is shown. All moneys collected either as fines or penalties for any violation of a rule or regulation of the Shade Tree Commission or as a charge against real estate under any provision of this article shall be paid to the Treasurer.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to make the Commission or any member thereof responsible for the death or injury of any person or for any injury to any property or highway tree or shrub.