[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township of Washington (now Township of Robbinsville) by Ord. No. 84-10 (Ch. XXV of the 2001 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The intent and purpose of this chapter is to establish standards for the Township for the protection and preservation of certain trees as defined herein growing in a natural state within this municipality.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ISSUING AUTHORITY
- The Township Engineer or other person designated by ordinance or administrative order to issue tree removal permits.[Amended 8-30-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-29; 2-12-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-6]
- PRESERVATION EASEMENT
- An agreement wherein the landowner agrees to take no action which will jeopardize the health of the protected tree and to grant the Township access to maintain the protected tree.
- Any woody perennial plant having a diameter of four inches or greater measured at a point four feet above the ground, or living dogwood, American holly tree or white cedar having a diameter of one inch or greater measured at a point four feet above the ground.
This chapter shall apply to the removal of all trees, as defined in this chapter, growing upon any land in the Township.
Permits shall not be required for the removal of the following trees:
Trees used as a source of firewood exclusively for the landowner's use at a residence on the lot where tree is located.
Trees growing on a single lot, two acres or less in area, upon which is located an owner-occupied residential structure.
Any tree growing on property actively operated as a farm which is removed for purposes of clearing land to farm.
Any tree growing on a property as part of a nursery, garden center or Christmas tree farm.
No person, corporation or entity shall remove or destroy any tree to which this chapter is applicable without first obtaining a tree removal permit from the Township.
Tree removal permits shall be issued by the issuing authority upon written application therefor. Applications shall be in a form specified by the governing body and shall contain the name and address of the owner of the lands upon which the trees sought to be removed are located; the authority of the person, corporation or entity applying for the permit to remove the trees; the type, size, number and location (by street, block and lot numbers) of trees sought to be removed. The application shall contain such additional information, surveys, plans or certifications as may be required by the governing body.
The fee for a tree removal permit shall be established by administrative regulation promulgated by the governing body.
The tree removal permit shall be valid for one year from the date of issuance. If, at the end of the term, the issuing authority is satisfied that the standards set by the governing body have been met and that no violations of this chapter have taken place, the permit shall be renewed, subject to any condition as defined in § 241-7.
The issuing authority shall grant or deny such permit with reference to the standards contained in § 241-7. In applying such standards, the issuing authority may condition the grant of the permit upon such reasonable conditions as may be deemed necessary to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.
The following standards shall govern the grant, conditional grant or denial of a tree removal permit in Robbinsville Township:
The issuing authority shall be satisfied that the removal or destruction of any particular tree which is unique in age, size or type is required for the effective utilization of the lands in question.
The issuing authority shall be satisfied that the removal or destruction of trees proposed shall not impair the growth and development of the remaining trees on the lands where the trees are situate or on adjacent lands.
The issuing authority shall be satisfied that the removal or destruction of trees proposed shall not cause soil erosion or impair existing drainage patterns.
The issuing authority shall be satisfied that the proposed removal or destruction of trees will not damage adjoining properties.
The issuing authority shall be satisfied that adequate precautions shall be taken with respect to the removal of trees; that other trees will not be damaged by mechanical removal; that the roots of remaining tree will not be cut; and that the trees removed will not be buried or burned.
The Planning Board, when considering applications for subdivision or site plan approval, shall require that buildings and pavements be relocated so as to minimize the need to remove trees.
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the issuing authority shall be afforded a hearing with respect thereto before the governing body if a written request is filed within 10 days from the action of the issuing authority. The record of such hearing shall be maintained by the means of minutes or electronic means.
The governing body may designate, by ordinance, a certain tree or a certain species of tree as being of special value based on rarity or historical importance.
If any tree designated under this section is located on a site being considered for major subdivision approval, the Planning Board may, as a condition of final approval, require the developer to grant a preservation easement to the Township.
If any tree designated under this section is located on private property not seeking major subdivision approval, the Township may acquire a preservation easement by gift, purchase or eminent domain.
In the event any tree is removed in violation of this chapter, the issuing authority may revoke the violator's tree removal permit.
Nothing herein shall be deemed to limit the remedies available to the Township or other person seeking to compel enforcement of this chapter, and the remedies of compelling replacement of a tree by paying money damages shall be considered cumulative.