[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Penns Grove as Ch. 21 of the 1968 Revised Ordinances (Ch. 63 of the 1986 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 7-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-5]
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 of Penns Grove, except state highways, unless the State Department of Transportation 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 Borough of Penns Grove Shade Tree Commission, which is hereby created. The Commission shall consist of five members appointed by the Mayor (or other chief executive), who shall be residents of the municipality and shall serve without compensation except as hereinafter provided.
[Amended 6-17-1986 by Ord. No. 86-5]
The first Commissioners shall be appointed within 60 days after the effective date of this chapter, and their terms of office shall commence upon the day of their appointment and be for the respective periods of one, two, three, four and five years, with the term of each appointee being designated in his appointment. All subsequent appointments, except to fill vacancies, shall be for the full term of five years to take effect on January 1 next succeeding such appointment. In the event that the membership of any Commission is increased, the new members shall be appointed in such manner that the terms shall expire in accordance with the foregoing.
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 governing body of the municipality.
Any vacancy occurring by reason of the death, resignation or removal of any Commissioner shall be filled for the unexpired term by the Mayor or other chief executive of the municipality.
The Shade Tree Commission organized under this chapter shall have 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 § 154-1 of this chapter, including the planting, trimming, spraying, care and protection thereof.
Regulate and control the use of the ground 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 governing body of the municipality, 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 municipality and enter upon private property for that purpose, with the consent of the owner thereof, 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 determine, in accordance with uniform rules and regulations promulgated for this purpose, be a charge upon the real estate in front of which such tree or trees shall be planted or removed as an improvement thereof. Such cost, if it is so determined that it is to be paid by the owner, shall, unless paid directly to the Commission, be certified by it to the Collector of Taxes of the municipality, shall thereupon become and be a lien upon said real estate, shall be included in the next tax bill rendered to the owner or owners thereof and be collected in the same manner as other taxes against that property.
In every case where the property of an abutting owner will be chargeable with the cost of the planting of any shade tree or trees, the Commission shall give notice of the meeting at which it is proposed to consider said planting by publishing the notice at least once, not less than 20 days before the meeting, in a newspaper circulating in the municipality 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 to the Chairman 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 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, such Commission shall reasonably cooperate with such person, board, body or official for the general public good.
Nothing in this chapter contained shall be held 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 governing body of the municipality the estimated sum necessary for the proper conduct of its work during the ensuing fiscal year, which shall include the sums estimated to be expended for such of the following items as it is anticipated expenditures will be made for, namely:
The governing body of the municipality shall annually appropriate such sum as it may deem necessary for said purposes.
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 of Penns Grove shall have jurisdiction in actions for the violation of such ordinances and they shall be enforced by like proceedings and process as that provided by law for the enforcement of ordinances of the municipality. 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.
[Amended 7-5-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-5]
A copy of any ordinance of the Commission, certified to under the hand of its Secretary or Chairman, shall be received in any court of this state as full and legal proof of the existence of the ordinance and that all requirements of law in relation to the ordaining, publishing or making of the same, so as to make it legal and binding, have been complied with, unless the contrary shall be shown.
All moneys collected, either as fines or penalties, for any violation of a rule or regulation of a Shade Tree Commission or as a charge against real estate, under any provision of this chapter, shall be forthwith paid over to the custodian of the municipal funds.
Nothing in this chapter contained 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.
The Shade Tree Commission is hereby authorized and empowered to promulgate such ordinances and written rules and regulations as may be necessary, pursuant to statute and for the proper interpretation of this basic chapter, for administration and enforcement, provided that such ordinances and regulations do not conflict with this chapter and conform to the general standards prescribed by this chapter.