[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Cranford 4-26-1988 by Ord. No. 88-17 (Ch. 215 of the 1992 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- PARK TREES
- Trees or shrubs in Township public parks or other open spaces having individual names and all areas owned by the Township or to which the public has free access as a park.
- STREET TREES
- Trees and shrubs on land lying within rights-of-way or easement lines on either side of all streets, avenues or easements.
Establishment; membership; purpose.
[Amended 10-5-1993 by Ord. No. 93-59]
There is hereby created and established a Tree Advisory Board of the Township of Cranford, which shall consist of seven members appointed by the Mayor. Six members shall be citizens and residents of the Township, and one shall be an employee of the Township in the Public Works Department.
The purpose of the Tree Advisory Board is to provide advice and suggestions for regulations for the protection of trees and shrubbery upon public lands, easements and rights-of-way in the Township of Cranford and, upon request of the owner, upon private property.
Term of office. The term of office of the seven members to be appointed by the Mayor will be three years. In the event that a vacancy shall occur during the term of any member, this successor shall be appointed for the unexpired portion of the term. The appointment of members to the Tree Advisory Board shall initially be as follows: two members for one-year terms, two members for two-year terms and three members for three-year terms. Thereafter, appointments will be for three-year terms and terms shall expire on December 31.
Compensation. Members of the Board shall serve without compensation.
Duties and responsibilities. It shall be the responsibility of the Board to study, investigate and develop and/or update annually and administer a written plan for the care, preservation, pruning, removal or disposition of trees in parks, along streets and other public areas. Such plan shall be updated and presented annually to the Township Committee and, upon its acceptance and approval, shall constitute the Official Comprehensive Tree Plan for the Township Committee. It shall consider, investigate, make findings and report recommendations upon any special matter or question coming within the scope of its work. The Board shall review requests for removal of Township trees and provide its recommendations to the Superintendent of Public Works. Upon request of the owner, the Board may provide advice regarding care, removal, trimming or other questions regarding trees on private property.
[Amended 10-5-1993 by Ord. No. 93-59]
Organization; quorum. The Board shall choose its own officers, make its own rules and regulations and keep a journal of its proceedings. A majority of the members shall be a quorum for the transaction of business.
The spacing and location of street trees will be in accordance with Chapter 255, Land Development, of this Code.
No street tree shall be planted closer than 25 feet to any street corner, measured from the point of the nearest intersecting curb or curbline. No street tree shall be planted closer than 10 feet to any fireplug.
The Tree Advisory Board will encourage planting of new trees on private property four feet to five feet away from the sidewalk to prevent damage to the sidewalk.
The Township shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within all public lands, easements and rights-of-way as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds.
No person shall be allowed to damage, cut, carve, abuse or harm any public tree or injure the bark.
The Township Tree Advisory Board may recommend the removal of any tree or part thereof which is in an unsafe condition or which, by reason of its nature, is injurious to sewers, electric power lines, gas lines, waterlines or other public improvements or is affected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest.
This section does not prohibit the planting of street trees by adjacent property owners, provided that the selection and location of said trees has received approval from the Township Engineer and is in accordance with §§ 398-7 through 398-9 of this chapter and Chapter 255, Land Development, of this Code.
It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm or Township department to top any street tree, park tree or other tree on public property. "Topping" is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree's crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical are exempted from this chapter.
Every owner of any tree or shrub overhanging any street or right-of-way within the Township shall prune the branches so that such branches shall not obstruct the light from any streetlamp or obstruct the view of any street intersection and so that there shall be a clear space of 14 feet above the surface of the street and 10 feet above the surface of the sidewalk. Said owners shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public. Any public utility or its agents may, upon receiving (written) permission from the Tree Advisory Board/Township Engineer at least 72 hours prior to the start of work, prune or remove trees for line clearance of utility wires in nonemergency situations pursuant to a line clearance program.
Any public utility or its agents may undertake emergency tree work to restore electrical service or spot work to prevent interruption of electrical, telephone, telegraph, cable television or other wire service. In such an event, the utility will notify the Tree Advisory Board/Township Engineer of said work within three business days of its beginning.
All stumps of street and park trees shall be removed below the surface of the ground.
No person shall do any excavating within four feet of any street or park tree on public property without a permit.
The Township Committee shall have the right to review the conduct, acts and decisions of the Township Tree Advisory Board. Any person may appeal from any ruling or order of the Township Tree Advisory Board to the Township Committee, which may hear the matter and make final decision.
The Tree Advisory Board shall have the responsibility to locate trees of historic value, endangered species and those unique to Cranford. An inventory of public trees will be developed of the same and posted in the office of the Township Engineer. Property owners shall be encouraged to nominate trees to be included in the list, and, with consent of any owners, the Tree Advisory Board may designate such trees by marker or device.