Borough of Shrewsbury, NJ
Monmouth County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Shrewsbury 9-27-1973 by Ord. No. 346 as §§ 3-125 to 3-129 of the 1973 Code; amended in its entirety at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Shade Tree Commission — See Ch. 9, Art. II.
Zoning and land development — See Ch. 94.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 183.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 220.

§ 246-1 Powers and authority of Commission generally.

In addition to the powers specifically enumerated in this chapter and in Chapter 94, Zoning and Land Development, of the Code of the Borough of Shrewsbury, the Shade Tree Commission shall have such powers as are authorized by N.J.S.A. 40:64-1 to 40:64-14, inclusive, and as amended and supplemented.

§ 246-2 Powers of Commission regarding care for shade and ornamental trees, shrubbery and other plantings.

The Shade Tree Commission shall have the following powers:
A. 
Exercise full and exclusive control over the regulation, removal, planting, placement, trimming, spraying and care of shade and ornamental trees, shrubbery and other plantings now located or which may hereafter be planted in a utility right-of-way, on construction sites, and in any public highway, right-of-way, park or parkway, except such as are excluded pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:64-1.
B. 
Regulate and control the use of the ground surrounding the same, so far as may be necessary for their proper growth, care and protection.
C. 
Remove or require the removal of any tree or part thereof that is diseased or dangerous to public safety, at the expense of the owner of such tree following appropriate notice of its intention to remove or cause the removal of a tree or part of a tree dangerous to public safety.
D. 
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 Department of Agriculture, Monmouth County Shade Tree Commission or a certified arborist.
E. 
Notices; costs to be lien; exceptions.
(1) 
Notices. 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.
(2) 
Costs to be lien. The cost of removal of any tree dangerous to public safety shall be a charge upon the owner of the property from which the diseased or dangerous tree is removed. Such cost, unless paid directly to the Commission, shall be certified by it to the Collector of Taxes of the Borough of Shrewsbury, shall thereupon become a lien upon said real estate, and 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.
(3) 
Exceptions. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to:
(a) 
A planting in connection with Arbor Day exercises or other educational demonstration.
(b) 
A planting of a shade or ornamental tree by the Shade Tree Commission on the street side of residential property for aesthetic purposes.
F. 
In every case where the property of an abutting owner shall 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, or 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 at the office of the Commission at or before the meeting.
G. 
No statute giving any person or state 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.

§ 246-3 Prohibited acts to trees, shrubbery and other plantings controlled by Commission.

It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, partnership, association, joint venture, corporation, public utility or other entity to commit any of the following acts to shade or ornamental trees, shrubbery and other plantings under the jurisdiction of the Shade Tree Commission:
A. 
To remove, cut, break or injure any shade tree or part thereof approved by the Shade Tree Commission.
B. 
To place any rope, wire, sign, poster or other fixture on a shade tree or tree guard unless approved by the Shade Tree Commission.
C. 
To 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, including mulching material that shall not be placed against the tree bark.
D. 
To damage, misuse or remove any device placed to protect any shade tree.
E. 
To permit any animal to injure or destroy any shade tree.
F. 
To pour any saltwater or other chemical or other substance near or upon any shade tree in such a manner as might cause damage to such tree or come into contact with or otherwise cause damage or injury to the stem or roots of any tree or shrub upon any street, highway, park or parkway in the Borough, or to permit any fire, tar kettle, road roller or other engine to stand in such manner as to injure a shade tree.
G. 
To pile any building material or make any mortar or cement within six feet of a tree or shrub.
H. 
To interfere or cause to authorize any interference with the Shade Tree Commission or any of its employees or agents engaged in or about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying or removing of any shade tree.
I. 
To plant, set out, take down or remove any shade tree without first having obtained from the Shade Tree Commission a written permit to do so, or without complying in all respects with the conditions set forth in such written permit.
J. 
To plant material on the New Jersey Invasive Species List.
K. 
To excavate land or remove trees, shrubbery and other plantings, including ground cover, from developed and undeveloped commercial land without the approval of the Shade Tree Commission, except as specified hereinafter. Excluded from this requirement are:
(1) 
The clearing, mowing or plowing of weeds, ground cover and small tree growth (less than two inches in diameter as measured one foot from ground level) in areas of property that have been previously maintained as open areas or under cultivation.
(2) 
The removal of dead or diseased trees and ornamental shrubbery and the planting or new trees and shrubbery.
L. 
To destroy natural features such as trees, slopes, hilltops and views, which shall be preserved wherever possible.
M. 
To allow trees and shrubbery to obstruct public sidewalks, paths, walkways or streets and to obstruct vision and/or passage of persons or vehicles using same. Owners of properties shall prune trees in such a manner that branches will hang not less than eight feet over sidewalks and walkways and 13 feet over roadways. Shrubbery bordering sidewalks, paths or walkways shall be pruned a minimum of three inches from sidewalks, paths or walkways and in such a manner to prevent branches from obstructing, hindering or harming pedestrians using the walkways.
N. 
To park motor vehicles on landscaped sections, on grass, or against trees and shrubbery in residential, business, professional, commercial and industrial zoning districts.
O. 
For every person, firm or corporation owning or having control over any wire, cable and appurtenances for the transmission of electric current along or over any street, highway, park or parkway within the Borough, to fail at any time to guard and protect all trees, through, over or near which such wire, cable or appurtenance may pass, from and against any injury or damage therefrom or from the electric current carried by the same. The device or means used for the transmission of any electric current and the methods used to guard and protect any such tree or trees shall be subject to the approval of the Shade Tree Commission.
P. 
For any public utility or similar entity, except during periods of emergency, to prune trees for line clearance or interfere with or endanger street trees during the installation or repair of any utility related apparatus, without the prior written approval of the Shade Tree Commission.

§ 246-4 Permits; inspections.

A. 
The Chairman of the Shade Tree Commission shall have the authority to issue permits for work involving planting, trimming, removal and/or spraying of trees and shrubbery within the Borough right-of-way, on Borough-owned property, within a utility right-of-way, and on construction sites that do not require subdivision and/or site plan approval by the Borough Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment.
B. 
Utility right-of-way; construction sites.
(1) 
Utility. The utility shall file an application for a permit with the Shade Tree Commission at least 30 days prior to the scheduled occurrence activity and shall pay a permit fee of $25 $50. The utility shall provide the following information: the geographic location of the utility right-of-way; the trees and shrubs proposed to be removed, pruned and/or cut down; and shall identify any herbicide to be used. Following receipt of a permit, the utility shall notify the property owner and occupants of the residence or structure on the property on which the trees are to be pruned, cut down or removed and of any herbicide to be used to remove tree stumps or used to control undesirable plant species.
(2) 
Construction site. Immediately following the issuance of a zoning permit for construction of a new building, or reconstruction/addition to a residence or structure that does not require subdivision or site plan approval or a variance, the property owner or building contractor of the site on which construction is planned shall file an application for a permit and a landscape plan with the Shade Tree Commission and shall pay a permit fee of $25. The landscape plan shall identify trees and shrubs to be removed, pruned and/or cut down, and identify any herbicide to be used and shall also specify the location of planting material to be retained and/or new planting material as required in § 246-5, Landscaping requirements.
C. 
Trees; shrubbery. All work performed pursuant to permits issued by the Shade Tree Commission shall be performed in accordance with current recommendations and approved standards of the National Arborist Association, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ANSI-Z133 & 300A, and New Jersey Certified Tree Experts Board.
D. 
Herbicides.
(1) 
All herbicide applications shall be performed in accordance with the pesticide product Federal Registered Label and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Pesticide Control Program and Pesticide Control Regulations. If herbicides are to be used, the utility and/or building contractor shall provide a safety data sheet upon request of the Commission.
(2) 
Notification required. Prior to spraying any herbicide, the utility or building contractor shall notify property owners, occupants of residences or structures on the property and adjacent property owners and/or occupants of residences or structures on adjacent properties of the type of herbicide and the date(s) when the herbicide is to be used. This includes, but is not limited to, the area-wide notification requirements and regulations regarding pesticide applications adjacent to schools.
E. 
Inspections; enforcement. Borough supervisory inspections shall be provided by the Borough Department of Public Works, utilizing employees trained in tree trimming. Enforcement of the above requirements shall be the responsibility of the Borough Code Enforcement Officer.

§ 246-5 Landscaping requirements.

A. 
Landscaping of new construction, reconstruction and additions.
(1) 
Applicants who have filed for a zoning permit for new construction or to reconstruct and/or add to existing structures and have received a zoning permit that does not require review by the Borough Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment shall submit seven copies of a landscaping plan to the Shade Tree Commission showing the location of existing trees of three-inch caliper or more and existing plantings and the trees and plantings that shall be removed due to construction.
(2) 
The landscaping plan shall provide a minimum of 10% of the plan site to be reserved for landscaping, which shall be reasonably distributed within the area and shall include suitable shrubbery in a planting strip not less than four feet wide on the front, rear and two sides of the structure. The landscape plan shall specify the location of planting material, their minimum sizes, quantity, variety and species (common and/or botanical names).
(3) 
Concrete curbing or belgian block shall be installed so that motor vehicles are restricted from driving onto established landscaped sections.
(4) 
Bases of trees and other landscaped sections shall include ground cover or mulching material to discourage the growth of weeds. Gravel, stone or decorative stone shall not be permitted to be used as ground cover unless specifically approved by the Shade Tree Commission.
(5) 
Bases of trees and landscaped areas shall be mulched to a depth not to exceed four inches, placing mulch six inches from the tree trunk at ground level and outward to the edge of the drip line of the tree to a maximum depth of four inches.
(6) 
Shade trees. Shade trees shall be planted along all undedicated roads, drives and parking areas in accordance with the specifications thereof. One tree is required for each 40 feet of curbing, edge of pavement or designated area.
B. 
An applicant granted a permit for construction and/or reconstruction shall not excavate land or remove trees, shrubs and other plant material from a proposed building site until a landscaping plan has been approved by the Shade Tree Commission. Existing trees and shrubs to be retained shall be protected by the erection of storm fencing at the outermost drip line of the trees and shrubs during construction.
C. 
Following the issuance of a temporary certificate of occupancy by the Construction Official to the applicant or developer of any tract of land or site wherein the landscaping requirements approved by the Shade Tree Commission have not been met, the applicant or developer shall be required to post a performance bond to cover the cost of landscaping which has not been completed. The amount of the performance bond shall be set by the Shade Tree Commission and posted with the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Shrewsbury as an escrow deposit and shall not be released until completion of the landscaping plan.
D. 
Landscaped areas and sections, including trees, shrubbery, fences and the grounds in and surrounding these sections, shall be properly maintained in accordance with the landscaping plan approved by the Shade Tree Commission. Shrubs or trees shown on the original landscaping plan shall be replaced when they are dead or have become unsightly, in the opinion of the Shade Tree Commission.

§ 246-6 Tree planting requirements.

A. 
Regulations.
(1) 
Any owner, person, firm or corporation erecting and constructing any new building or buildings in any zoning district within the Borough of Shrewsbury and any person building any residence, dwelling or multiple-family house within the Borough shall plant shade trees in front yard areas at least five feet from the right-of-way, defined as a strip of land occupied or intended to be occupied by a sidewalk, utility transmission lines, gas pipeline, water main, and/or sanitary or storm sewer. One tree shall be planted every 40 feet of frontage of said property, unless a waiver is granted by the Shade Tree Commission.
(2) 
The Shade Tree Commission may grant a waiver if there are trees growing along such right-of-way or on the abutting property near the street line which are in compliance with the specifications of the Shade Tree Commission.
(3) 
Such new trees to be provided shall be of a kind and size approved by the Shade Tree Commission and shall be planted in accordance with its specifications for planting trees in such locations approved by the Shade Tree Commission.
B. 
Specifications for shade trees.
(1) 
Shade tree size. Trees shall be not less than 1 3/4 to two inches caliper, measured six inches above the ground, nor less than 12 feet high. Trees must be well branched, the branches to start not less than six feet from the crown of the root system.
(2) 
Flowering trees size. Where authorized for placement, flowering decorative trees may be of smaller size than shade varieties. Those trees shall not be less than 1 1/2 inches caliper, measured six inches above the ground, nor less than eight feet high. They must be well branched, the branches to start not less than five feet from the crown of the root system.
(3) 
Placement. All trees must be planted in the location approved by the Shade Tree Commission. Large growing (timber type) trees shall be located not closer than five feet from the edge of the existing or future sidewalks on the property owner's side adjacent thereto, in a place which shall not interfere with utilities. Ornamentals can be planted in the planting strip between the curb and sidewalk if approved by the Shade Tree Commission. The planting strip shall be not smaller than 30 inches wide. Trees are to be no less than 25 feet from intercepting curbs at street corners and not more than 40 feet apart.
(4) 
Time for planting. Deciduous trees under the jurisdiction of the Commission shall not be planted between May 15 and November 1 without specific authorization.
(5) 
Soil excavations. Soil excavation must not be less than 18 inches deep and not less than 30 inches in diameter. A seepage area shall be provided by loosening the soil to a depth of one foot below the excavation. Planting soil shall be composed of one part peat, one part humus and one part of parent soil (all mixed thoroughly), to which shall be added and mixed in two pounds of bonemeal or its equivalent.
(6) 
Planting; watering. At time of planting, burlap and wire surrounding the root ball shall be loosened from around the tree trunk. Each tree shall be given an adequate amount of water at the time of planting.
(7) 
Staking and guying. Stakes shall be white or red cedar, oak or locust treated with an approved wood preservative and must be eight feet long and not less than two inches in minimum diameter. Stakes must be driven securely into the ground and preferably on the northwest side of the tree trunk. Trees shall be guyed with rubber hose or plastic straps and must be watered adequately for a minimum of one year after planting.
(8) 
Removal of all planting debris. Removal of debris is required. The property shall be left in a neat and orderly condition in accordance with good and accepted planting and nursery practice. Stakes shall be removed after a period of one year.
(9) 
Planting notice. Notice must be given to a member of the Shade Tree Commission three days prior to start of planting in order that the Commission may inspect the stock for variety, condition, size and quantity. All work shall be subject to the general supervision and approval of the Commission.
(10) 
Survival. All plantings which fail to survive for a period of one calendar year following planting shall be replaced by the property owner or responsible building/landscape contractor at no cost or expense to the Borough or Commission. Said replacement shall be made within 60 days following written notice from the Commission for such replacement or within such more extended period as may be specified by planting conditions. After one year, said plantings which fail to survive shall be replaced at the expense of the property owner.
C. 
Specifications for landscaping and screening.
(1) 
Approved varieties. The varieties or species selected for landscaping and screening shall be subject to the approval of the Shade Tree Commission. Evergreen plantings may be interspersed with or placed with appropriate deciduous flowering shrubs. No plant material on the New Jersey Invasive Species List shall be used. The use of native plants is encouraged.
(2) 
Placement. All plantings must be at least the maximum mature plant distance from the foundation, wall or fence, but not less than two feet therefrom. One evergreen is required for each five feet of the foundation, wall or fence, including side surfaces of projecting porches or steps. Rear exposures may be exempted under circumstances as determined by the Shade Tree Commission. Varieties will be selected and specified as appropriate to sun and wind exposures and will be suitable in mature size for the location to be planted.
(3) 
Soil. Excavations for each plant must be not less than 12 inches deep and not less than 20 inches in diameter. A seepage area shall be provided by loosening the soil to a depth of six inches at the bottom of the excavation. Planting soil in the excavation shall be composed of one part peat or humus and four parts of good soil free of debris (all mixed thoroughly), to which shall be added and mixed one pound of bonemeal or its equivalent. There shall be no pieces or chunks of plaster, mortar or other lime-containing material or loose lime around foundation plantings and other planting areas.
(4) 
Mulching. Each evergreen and shrub planted shall be mulched with wood chips, peat, buckwheat hulls, cocoa hulls or other approved material out to the branch tips, not to exceed four inches in depth.
(5) 
Removal of planting debris. Removal of all planting debris is required. The property must be left in a neat and orderly condition in accordance with good and accepted planting practice.
(6) 
All plantings which fail to survive for a period of one calendar year following planting shall be replaced by the contractor at no cost or expense to the Borough or Commission. Said replacement shall be made within 30 days following written demand for such replacement from the Commission or within such more extended period as may be specified. After one year, plantings which fail to survive shall be replaced at the expense of the property owner.

§ 246-7 Violations and penalties.

The owner, contractor or other persons interested as lessee, tenant or otherwise of a building or premises where a violation of any provision of these regulations shall have been committed or shall exist shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $1,250, a term of imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof. Each day that a violation is permitted to exist following a ten-day written notice by the Shade Tree Commission shall constitute a separate offense.