[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Secaucus 10-12-93 as Ord. No. 93-59. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be titled "Tree Conservation."
The purpose of this chapter is to establish regulation(s) of the planting of shade and ornamental trees and shrubberies now erected or hereafter planted within the Town of Secaucus, which regulations shall include planting, trimming, spraying, caring and protection thereof, the regulation and control of ground surrounding the same, the removal of any tree dangerous to the public safety, and the treatment to and of any tree situated on private property believed to harbor disease or insects.
The Mayor and Council or the Administrator of Tree Conservation in consultation with the Advisory Committee of Tree Conservation shall enforce all provisions hereof.
The Mayor and Council shall appoint an Administrator of Tree Conservation to administer and enforce the provisions hereof, consistent with this chapter. Such appointee shall serve at the pleasure of the Mayor and Council. Such person shall be known as Administrator of Tree Conservation.
The Administrator of Tree Conservation shall enforce and administer the provisions hereof in consultation with the Advisory Committee of Tree Conservation. All matters respecting this chapter shall be addressed to the Administrator of Tree Conservation, and all decisions of the said Administrator shall be in writing, which writing shall disclose the matter of any application or determination by such Administrator stating expressly the recommendation of the Advisory Committee including a synopsis of minutes of the Advisory Committee respecting such matter.
Without limiting any other provisions hereof, the Mayor and Council or the Administrator of Tree Conservation in consultation with the Tree Advisory Committee of Conservation shall:
Exercise full and exclusive control over the regulation, planting, care of shade and ornamental trees, shrubbery and grass now located, or which may hereafter be planted in or upon any public street, park or parkway, except county parks or parkways, including the planting, trimming, spraying, care and protection of the same for the public good, and to regulate and control the use of the ground surrounding the same, so far as may be necessary for their proper growth, care, and protection.
Require the removal of any tree, or part thereof, dangerous to public safety and to require the replacement of any tree removal with an appropriate species.
Administer treatment to, or remove, any tree or shrub situated upon private property which is believed to harbor a disease or insects readily communicable to neighboring healthy trees or shrubs in the care of this town and enter upon private property for that purpose, with the consent of the owner thereof, provided the suspect condition is first confirmed by certification issued by or on behalf of the Department of Agriculture.
The Mayor and Council or Administrator of Tree Conservation shall be empowered specifically to control and protect shade trees and shrubs, and shall enforce the provisions of this chapter:
No person shall do, or cause to be done, any of the following acts upon a public highway, public park or other public place within the town without the written permission of the Mayor and Council or the Administrator of Tree Conservation:
Cut, trim, break, climb with spikes, disturb the roots of, or otherwise injure, or spray with any injurious chemical, or remove any living tree or shrub, or injure, misuse or remove any structure or device planted to support or protect such trees or shrubs.
Plant any tree or shrub.
Fasten any rope, wire electric attachment, sign or other device to a tree or shrub or to any guard about such tree or shrub.
Close or obstruct any open space provided about the base of a tree or shrub to permit the access of air, water or fertilizer to the roots of such tree or shrub.
Pile any building material, or mix any mortar or cement within six feet of a tree or shrub.
Tree topping. It shall be unlawful for any person to top any street tree. For the purpose of this chapter, "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, may be exempt from this ordinance at the determination of the Administrator of Tree Conservation.
Placing of guards. Throughout the period of erection, or repairs of any building or structure, or in the improvement of repairs of a highway, the owner thereof, or the contractor, shall place such guards around all nearby trees on the public highways, as shall effectually prevent injury to such trees.
Transmission of electric current. All persons including Public Utilities Commission having control over any wire for the transmission of an electric current along a public highway shall at all times guard all trees through which or near which such wires pass against any injury from the wires or from the electric current carried by them. The device or means used shall in every case be subject to approval of the Administrator of Tree Conservation.
Injurious liquids. No person shall permit any brine, gas, or injurious liquid or solid matter to come in contact with the stem or roots of any tree or shrub upon a public highway.
Tree maintenance. Property owners of trees extending over a town right-of-way or rubbing against town owned buildings or structures are required to trim, or remove same to the extent necessary to preserve same in a healthy condition or to prevent same from endangering the public welfare, interfering with public travel or traffic sidewalks, streets, highways or the right-of-way. As trees come to mature height, all branches over road must be elevated in a manner to allow free movement of traffic.
Whenever it shall become the duty of any such owner of such tree to trim or remove such tree under the requirements of this chapter and the work as directed by the Administrator of Tree Conservation shall not have been done at the expiration of (30) days after personal notice to such owner or 35 days after mailing of a notice, postage prepaid, to the post office address of such owners, or satisfactory explanation shall not have been presented for such failure, then the Mayor and Council or the Administrator of Tree Conservation may authorize such work to be performed under their direction and paid for out of the monies of the town to the credit of the Town of Secaucus. The cost of said work shall be certified by the Mayor and Council or their designee to the Secaucus Chief Financial Officer. Upon filing the said certificate, the amount of the cost of such work shall be paid to the town by the property owner.
If the Mayor and Council or their designee shall require the removal or remove any such tree as is referred to in this chapter, a replacement tree, approved by the Secaucus Tree Conservation Administrator, must be purchased by the owner, through the Town Tree Planting Program.
The requirements of this chapter shall be enforced by the Mayor and Council or the Administrator of Tree Conservation.
The Mayor and Council or Administrator of Tree Conservation may order to be stopped forthwith any tree work or other activity which it or he/she believes is carried on in violation of any provisions of this chapter. The order shall be issued in writing within 24 hours and a copy served upon any person engaged in such tree work or such other activity. If no such person is present upon the property, then the order shall be served upon the owner of the property in question. Thereafter, any further work shall comply with the terms and conditions of any permit issued by the Administrator of Tree Conservation or its designee with respect to such property and the provisions of this chapter.
The Mayor and Council shall appoint persons to serve, without compensation, on an Advisory Committee called the "Advisory Committee of Tree Conservation" regarding tree conservation to make recommendations to the Mayor and Council or the Administrator of Tree Conservation with respect to any matters within the purview of this chapter. The Advisory Committee of Tree Conservation shall consist of six members excluding the Administrator of Tree Conservation, who shall each serve a term of one year commencing January of each year, except upon the initial appointment of members upon the adoption of this chapter who shall be appointed to serve a term expiring December 31 of the year following the date of appointment.
The Advisory Committee of Tree Conservation shall meet regularly, at least four times per year. Minutes shall be kept at all meetings, and the same shall be made available for review by the public.
Members of the Advisory Committee of Tree Conservation shall each have an equal vote. Only members present at a meeting of the Advisory Committee may vote. The Administrator of Tree Conservation shall chair all meetings and may participate at all meetings, but shall not vote except to break a tie.
Meetings of the Tree Conservation Committee shall be called by the Mayor and Council or the Tree Conservation Administrator or any three members of the Advisory Committee, which meeting shall require three days notice to the Mayor and Council, Administrator of Tree Conservation and the Tree Advisory Committee.
The Mayor and Council may establish rules and regulations and amend the same, from time to time, as it deems necessary to enforce or effectuate the purpose hereof.
Any person wishing to appeal any decision of the Administrator of Tree Conservation and/or the Advisory Committee of Tree Conservation may do so by filing such an appeal with the Mayor and Council within 30 days of such written decision of the Tree Conservation Administrator and/or Advisory Committee stating the basis therefor and the relief requested whereupon the Mayor and Council shall conduct a hearing respecting such appeal; the Mayor and Council may affirm, reverse or remand the decision of the Administrator of Tree Conservation or the Advisory Committee.
Any person wishing to appeal any decision of the Mayor and Council shall seek such relief in a court of competent jurisdiction.
[Amended 7-27-10 by Ord. No. 2010-28]
Requests for permits required by the provisions of this chapter for the performance of work should be directed to the Advisory Committee of Tree Conservation regarding Tree Conservation, c/o Superintendent of Public Works, 370 Secaucus Road, Secaucus, New Jersey 07094. A permit to replace a tree will require a $200 payment to the town to defray the cost of the replacement tree. If a replacement tree dies of natural causes within 12 months of planting, the town will replace that tree at its sole expense.
During the month of December of each year, the Administrator of Tree Conservation and the said Advisory Committee shall provide to the Mayor and Council of the Town of Secaucus a recommended estimated annual budget necessary for the proper operation of this chapter; the Mayor and Council shall annually appropriate such sums as they deem necessary for the proper operation and administration of this chapter.
The Mayor and Council or Administrator of Tree Conservation may prescribe a fine for the violation of any of its rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto, not to exceed $200 for each violation, and the Secaucus Municipal Court shall have jurisdiction to act on such violations as the Mayor and Council or Administrator of Tree Conservation shall enact. The Court may impose any such other penalty of up to $1,000 per violation or penalty as may be provided by law and impose such decision to enforce the provisions and intent of this chapter. Each day that such violation shall continue, shall be deemed to be a separate and distinct offense.