[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Plainsboro 10-13-2016 by Ord. No. 16-16. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance was originally adopted as Ch. 36 but was renumbered to maintain the alphabetical organization of the Code.
The Township has instituted a process for landowners who wish to remove trees from their property by obtaining a tree removal permit. Removal of a tree classified as a significant tree is either a deciduous tree (one that loses its leaves each fall) that could reach a mature height of 50 feet, or an evergreen tree that could reach a mature height of 30 feet.
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- CERTIFIED ARBORIST
- An individual who earned and currently maintains the certification of Arborist from the International Society of Arboriculture.
- Trees that drop their leaves for part of the year.
- DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT (DBH)
- The diameter of a tree trunk measured at a point four and one-half feet above ground level, on the uphill side.
- DISEASED TREE
- A tree that is irretrievably diseased or infested with insects that cannot be treated at a reasonable cost.
- Trees that maintain their leaves throughout the year.
- INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF ARBORICULTURE TREE APPRAISAL
- An appraisal based on standards set forth in the 9th edition or later of the Guide for Plant Appraisal ("ISA method") published by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers.
- NEW JERSEY CERTIFIED TREE EXPERT
- An individual who earned and currently maintains the certification Certified Tree Expert (CTE) from the New Jersey Society of Tree Experts.
- PRIVATE TREE
- Any tree located on lands not owned by the Township of Plainsboro or any other governmental entity.
- SIGNIFICANT TREE
- Deciduous trees at a mature height greater than 50 feet, evergreen trees at a mature height greater than 30 feet and not considered ornamental.
- SUBSTANTIAL HARM
- Includes girdling; excessive pruning or thinning not in conformance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards and application of any substance toxic to the tree.
- Any woody plant with a main stem or multiple stems having branches protruding above the root flare that is categorized as a deciduous or evergreen.
- TREE REMOVAL
- The process of removing a tree, which includes the complete removal of the trunk, hauling away and properly disposing of all logs, branches and leaves associated with the removed tree and grinding of the stump 6 1/2 inches below grade.
The following types of tree removal are exempt from the permit process; however, the Township should be consulted to verify the exemption:
Removal or remedial work on a tree not categorized as significant.
Removal of limbs that pose a threat or risk to the general health.
Pruning and trimming to enhance the growth of a tree in conformance with industry standards.
Approved forestry activities covered under the guidance of a New Jersey-approved consulting forester and adhering to state-approved woodland management or forest stewardship plan.
Any person desiring to remove a significant tree shall be prepared to complete the checklist below. The Township will either approve the tree(s) for removal, or indicate the tree should be preserved and list the reasons why.
Pay permit fee of $15 (multiple trees must be shown on the survey).
Name and address of applicant.
Property address, block/lot, survey marked on Tax Map to show significant tree(s) location.
Reason for tree to be removed is because it is dead or dying.
Reason for tree to be removed is because it is diseased.
Reason for tree to be removed is because it is causing a hazard to the house, outbuilding, sidewalk, or driveway.
Reason for tree to be removed is so other beneficial trees can flourish or be planted.
The completed tree removal permit/application shall be forwarded to the Department of Planning and Zoning.
The Township shall have 30 business days to conduct a review of the complete application. However, the Township reserves the right to request an additional 14 business days to review all new and additional information.
All applicants are hereby granted the right to appeal a denial to the Township Administrator within 10 business days of the Township's designated officials report. The Township Administrator shall have 30 days to hear the matter after the filing of the appeal. The Township Administrator may affirm, reverse or modify the original decision and thus constitute the final administrative determination of the application.
Any person found guilty of violating any provision of this chapter shall be subject to the general provision of the Township Code.
Each violation is considered a separate offense.
Any person found guilty of removing a tree(s) or implementing actions that cause substantial harm will be fined $500 or three times the cost of a replacement tree of the same species at 2.5 inches DBH, whichever is greater.