[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Closter 12-14-2005 by Ord. No. 2005:955. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Environmental Commission — See Ch. 16.
Tree preservation and removal — See Ch. 181.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 59, Shade Tree Commission, adopted 2-13-2002 by Ord. No. 2002:859.
[Amended 10-24-2007 by Ord. No. 2007:993; 4-9-2008 by Ord. No. 2008:1008]
There is hereby created and established in and for the Borough of Closter a Shade Tree Commission in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:64-1 et seq., the amendments thereto and supplements thereof. Said Commission shall consist of seven voting members as follows: five regular members plus one member who is also a member of the Council and one member who is also a member of the Environmental Commission. Should such member’s term on the Environmental Commission or Council terminate, then a replacement from said bodies shall be designated to fill the unexpired term on said Commission in order to ensure such representation. There shall also be two alternate members. The members and alternate members shall be appointed by the Mayor and shall be residents of the Borough of Closter. The terms of the alternate members shall be for five years, except that the terms of the alternate members first appointed shall be five years for Alternate No. 1 and four years for Alternate No. 2 so that the term of not more than one alternate member shall expire in any one year.
The Shade Tree Commission hereby established shall have all of the powers and shall be subject to all of the regulations, provisions and restrictions set forth in the statutes of the State of New Jersey, namely, N.J.S.A. 40:64-1 et seq., the amendments thereto and supplements thereof, and such other powers and functions as may be lawfully proscribed, designated or given by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Closter from time to time. These statutory powers include:
Exercise full and exclusive control over the regulation, planting and care of shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery now located or which may hereafter be planted in any public rights-of-way within the Borough of Closter, including the planting, trimming, spraying, growth, care and protection thereof.
Regulate and control the use of the ground surrounding the same so far as may be necessary for their proper growth, care and protection.
Move or require the removal of any tree, or part thereof, dangerous to public safety.
Encourage arboriculture; make, alter, amend and repeal, in the manner prescribed for the passage, alteration, amendment and repeal of ordinances by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Closter, any and all ordinances necessary or proper for carrying out the provisions hereof.
Enter upon private property, with the consent of the owner, for the purpose of determining whether the trees are healthy and 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, provided the suspected condition is first confirmed by certificate issued by or on behalf of the Department of Agriculture.
The initial cost of all trees planted by the Commission, the cost of planting the same, the cost of the posts and boxes or guards used for the protection thereof and the cost of the removal of any tree or part thereof dangerous to public safety may, if the Commission shall so determine, with the consent of the Mayor and Council, be a charge upon the real estate in front of which such tree or trees shall be planted or removed as an improvement thereof. The property owner may themselves act upon the recommendation of the Commission or allow the Borough Code Enforcement Officer to provide the service. If the property owner does not fulfill the recommendations of the Commission within six months, the Borough Code Enforcement Officer shall complete the required work. The cost of such service shall be certified by the Commission to the Borough Collector of Taxes, thereupon become and be a lien upon said real estate, 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.
[Amended 10-24-2007 by Ord. No. 2007:993]
Protection of trees in the Borough right-of-way. No individual or officer or employee of a corporation shall, without the written permission of the Shade Tree Commission, cut, prune, break, climb, injure or remove any living tree in the public right-of-way; cut, disturb or interfere in any way with the roots of any tree on the public right-of-way; spray with any chemical or insecticide any tree in the public right-of-way; place any rope, sign, poster, or other fixture on a tree in the public right-of-way; or injure, misuse or remove any devise placed to protect such trees on the public right-of-way.
Planting trees. Any person, company or organization henceforth constructing or performing major alterations to any residences, commercial and/or office building, dwelling, apartment, or multiple-family dwelling within the Borough shall, at its expense, plant shade trees along the right-of-way upon which the building fronts and abuts in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The Shade Tree Commission shall designate where such trees are to be planted and the variety of trees to be used. The person, company or corporation shall post a bond of $1,500 per tree, such money to be deposited with the Borough Administrator and designated for Shade Tree Commission use, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, and held for up to two years and 11 months (i.e., the money, if returned, shall be returned at the end of the third calendar year from the date the bond was posted). Should any of the trees not be in satisfactory condition, in the sole discretion of the Shade Tree Commission, at that time, after notice to the owner, the moneys shall be used by the Shade Tree Commission to replace those trees deemed to be unsatisfactory. At the end of two years, any funds not used to replace unsatisfactory trees shall be refunded to those who posted the bond(s). If construction is taking place on property with street trees, see § 181-7 of the Borough Code.
[Amended 6-22-2011 by Ord. No. 2011:1094]
Shade trees and shrubs in right-of-way: approval required. No shade tree or ornamental shrub shall be planted on the public right-of-way of the Borough until such tree or shrub shall first have been approved and the place where it shall be planted is designated by the Shade Tree Commission.
Notice, hearing and emergencies. In every case where the property of an abutting owner will 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 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. Before final action shall be taken, all objections so filed shall be considered. 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. If the Shade Tree Commission finds it appropriate to plant a tree where none has been planted before, it must give notice to the abutting owner as described above.
During the month of December in each year, the Shade Tree Commission shall certify to the Mayor and Council the estimated sum necessary for the proper conduct of its work during the ensuing fiscal year, which shall include the sums estimated to be expended for such of the following items as it is anticipated expenditure will be made for; namely:
Payment of wages and salaries of any employees;
Expenses of Commission members in discharging official duties, including expenses incident to attendance at professional meetings;
Purchase of trees and shrubbery; and
Purchase of necessary equipment and materials and the cost of services for the prudent promotion of the work.
The Mayor and Council of the Borough of Closter shall annually appropriate such sum as it may deem necessary for said purposes.
The Commission may prescribe a fine for the violation of each of its ordinances in an amount not exceeding $1,500 for each violation (each tree is a separate violation) or a maximum amount determined by subsequent amendments to the state statute, N.J.S.A. 40:64-1. The ordinances shall be enforced by the Borough Code Enforcement Officer who shall serve and execute any process issued out of any court under this article.
In addition to the penalties outlined in the above subsection, the Borough may require a person who removes or otherwise destroys a tree in violation of this chapter to pay a replacement assessment to the municipality. The replacement assessment shall be the value of the tree as determined by the Borough's Code Enforcement Official – Trees. In lieu of an appraisal, the Borough may use the formula based upon the number of square inches contained in a cross section of the trunk of the tree multiplied by a predetermined value per square inch, not to exceed $27 per square inch. The square inch cross section shall be calculated from the diameter at 4 1/2 feet above ground level and, if there is a multiple stem tree, then each trunk shall be measured and the largest trunk shall be used to determine the fine for the tree. The Borough shall modify the value of the tree based on its species, variety, location and its condition at the time of removal or destruction.
[Amended 9-10-2014 by Ord. No. 2014:1173]
All moneys collected in the municipality, either as fines or penalties, for any violation of a rule or regulation of the Shade Tree Commission, or as a charge against real estate, under any provision of this article, shall be forthwith paid over to the municipal officer empowered to be custodian of the funds of the municipality. Such funds shall be spent in fulfillment of the goals of the Shade Tree Commission, with the consent and approval of the Mayor and Council.
If any sentence, section, clause or other portion of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance shall, for any reason, be adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or repeal the remainder of this chapter. All ordinances or parts thereof inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.
This chapter shall become effective immediately upon final passage and publication as required by law.