[Adopted 7-11-2018 by Ord. No. 08-2018]
The purpose of this article is to protect and promote the public health through the control of the growth of invasive plant species. Failure to control the spread of such invasive plants beyond the boundaries of a resident's property is a violation of this article.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ENFORCING OFFICER
- The Borough Code Enforcement Officer or his or her designee.
- INVASIVE PLANTS
- All native and non-native vines and vegetation that grow out of place and are competitive, persistent and pernicious. These plants may damage trees, vegetation, other plant materials or structures. Examples include but are not limited to Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), running (monopodial) bamboo, clumping (sympodial) bamboo, multiflora rose, Kudzu vine and poison ivy and oak.
All persons must control the growth of invasive plants. Failure to control the spread of such vegetation beyond the boundaries of a resident's property is a violation of this article.
All places and premises in the Borough of the Atlantic Highlands shall be subject to inspection by the enforcing officer. Such inspections shall be performed by such person, persons or agency duly authorized and appointed by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands. Such inspection shall be made if that official has reason to believe that any section of this article is being violated.
In the event invasive plants are present on the date of adoption of this article and a complaint is received by the Borough regarding an encroachment of any invasive plant, and the Code Enforcement Officer, after observation and/or inspection, determines that there is an encroachment or invasion on any adjoining/neighboring private or public property or public right-of-way (hereinafter "the affected property"), the Borough shall serve notice to the invasive plant property owner in writing that the invasive plant has invaded other private or public properties or public rights-of-way and demand the removal of the invasive plant from the affected property and demand approved confinement against future encroachment or, in the alternative, the total removal from the property owner's property. Notice shall be provided to the invasive plant property owner, as well as to the owner of the affected property, by certified, return receipt requested mail and regular mail. Within 30 days of receipt of such notice, the invasive plant property owner shall submit to the Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough, with a copy to the owner of the affected property, a plan for the removal of the invasive plant from the affected property, which plan shall include restoration of the affected property after removal. Within 90 days of receipt of the Code Enforcement Officer's approval of the plan of removal and restoration, the removal and restoration shall be completed to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement Officer.
Whenever an invasive plant, as defined by this article, is found on any plot of land, lot or any other premises or place, and is found to lack appropriate physical barriers to prevent the spread of growth of the species, or is found to have spread beyond the boundaries of a property, a violation shall be given to the owner of the property from which the invasive species has spread, in writing, directing the property owner to submit a plan to the Code Enforcement Officer to remove or abate the same within 30 days, pursuant to § 265-12. The cost of all remedies, including the removal of plantings of invasive plants, shall be borne by the property owner. In the event more time is needed for treatment and/or removal, approval of the Code Enforcement Officer, or his or her designee, is required.
Any person violating the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction, be punishable by a fine of not more than $2,000 or community service as determined by the Municipal Court. In addition, the Code Enforcement Officer may request, and the Municipal Court may grant, a specific performance remedy.
The continuation of such violation for each successive day shall constitute a separate offense, and the person or persons allowing or permitting the continuation of such violation may be punished as provided above for each separate offense.
Notwithstanding any other penalty or fine which may be imposed under this article, if an owner fails to comply with the removal or abatement of an invasive plant, the Borough may thereafter remove or otherwise abate the planting and thereafter recover the costs of such removal or abatement from the property owner by placing a lien against the property.
Nothing herein shall be interpreted as limiting the rights of a private property owner to seek civil relief through a court of proper jurisdiction, nor the institution of civil proceedings against the proper parties.
All new in-ground planting of invasive plants are strictly prohibited. All existing planting must be contained by appropriate physical barriers to prevent the growth or spreading of the existing invasive species beyond the boundaries of a resident's property.