Township of Montville, NJ
Morris County
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Montville as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES

General penalty — See Ch. 1, Art. III.

Tree Protection Committee — See Ch. 8.

Environmental impact statements for tree harvesting operations — See Ch. 160.

Fee schedule — See Ch. 169.

Land use — See Ch. 230.

Christmas tree sales — See Ch. 295, Art. I.

ARTICLE I
Public Shade Trees and Shrubbery (§ 368-1 — § 368-9) 

ARTICLE II
Tree Clearing and Removal (§ 368-10 — § 368-22) 

[Adopted by Ord. No. 1308 as Ch. 12.32 of the 1998 Code]

§ 368-1
Definitions. 

§ 368-2
Prohibited acts. 

§ 368-3
Placement of sidewalks; open space around trees. 

§ 368-4
Injurious substances and equipment around trees. 

§ 368-5
Street and sidewalk construction. 

§ 368-6
Precautions. 

§ 368-7
Attachment of wires or other devices to trees; clearance for utility wires. 

§ 368-8
Procedure for Committee approval. 

§ 368-9
Violations and penalties. 

§ 368-1 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

PERSON
Every person, firm, association, partnership, corporation and individual.
SHADE TREES
Shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery now located or which may hereafter be planted in any public highway, park or parkway in the Township, except those located or planted on county highways, parks and parkways and state highways.
STREETS
All streets, roads, roadways, public highways, parks or parkways, public alleys and public places of the Township, except county parks, parkways and highways and state highways.
TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE
The Township Committee of the Township of Montville and its duly authorized representatives.

§ 368-2 Prohibited acts.

A. 

No person, firm or corporation, or individual connected with such firm or corporation, shall do or cause to be done by others to any tree, shrub or plant on a public highway or place, either purposely, carelessly or negligently, without the permission of the Township Committee any of the following acts:

(1) 

Cut, prune, climb with spikes, break, damage or remove.

(2) 

Cut, disturb or interfere in any way with any root.

(3) 

Spray with any chemical.

(4) 

Fasten any rope, wire, sign or other device.

(5) 

Remove or damage any guard or device placed to protect any tree or shrub.

B. 

Nothing herein shall prevent any governmental agency from tying a public notice upon a tree in connection with administering governmental affairs.

§ 368-3 Placement of sidewalks; open space around trees.

A. 

No person or corporation shall, without the permission of the Township Committee, place or maintain or cause to be placed or maintained upon the ground in any public highway or place any stone, cement or other sidewalks, or any stone, cement or other substance, which shall impede the free access of air and water to the roots of any tree or shrub in any public highway or place.

B. 

An open space of not less than two feet outside the trunks of trees at their bases on all sides must be maintained for all trees on public highways except where limited by curb and/or sidewalk.

§ 368-4 Injurious substances and equipment around trees.

A. 

No person shall place salt, brine, oil or other substance injurious to plant growth in any public highway or place in such a manner as to injure any tree or shrub growing thereon.

B. 

No person shall build any fire or station any tar kettle, road roller or other engine in any public highway in such a manner that the heat vapors or fumes therefrom may injure any tree or shrub growing thereon.

§ 368-5 Street and sidewalk construction.

No person, firm or corporation is permitted to lay any sidewalk or to open, construct, curb or pave any street or do any like act so as to interfere with or do injury to any highway shade tree without the consent of the Township Committee.

§ 368-6 Precautions.

A. 

In the erecting, altering or repairing of any building or structure, the owner or contractor thereof shall place such guards around all nearby trees in public highways or places as will effectually prevent injury to such trees.

B. 

No person, firm or corporation shall do any excavating within two feet of any tree or shrub without the permission of the Township Committee.

C. 

Shovels and all other implements, machines and tools shall be used or operated in such a manner as not to damage or destroy any tree, shrub or plant in any public highway or place.

D. 

Where in the case of authorized excavations it becomes necessary to expose or cut roots more than one inch in diameter, it shall be the duty of the contractor to protect such roots under advice from the Township Committee.

§ 368-7 Attachment of wires or other devices to trees; clearance for utility wires.

A. 

No person, firm or corporation shall, without permission of the Township Committee, attach or fasten any wire, insulator or other device for holding any wire to any tree or shrub in any public highway or place.

B. 

Any utility company or its agents may, with prior permission from the Township Committee, prune and remove trees for line clearance of utility wires.

§ 368-8 Procedure for Committee approval.

Where the permission, consent or approval of the Township Committee is required by the provisions of this article, any person, firm or corporation required to obtain such permission, consent or approval shall first make application therefor to the Township Committee, Montville Township, County of Morris.

§ 368-9 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 2-28-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-09]

Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this article shall be subject to such penalties as are provided for in Chapter 1, Article III, General Penalty.

[Adopted by Ord. No. 2004-66 (Ch. 12.36 of the 1998 Code)]

§ 368-10
Purpose. 

§ 368-11
Definitions. 

§ 368-12
Prohibited activities. 

§ 368-13
Exemptions. 

§ 368-14
Permit application. 

§ 368-15
Permit application fee. 

§ 368-16
Evaluation of application. 

§ 368-17
Time period to approve or deny application. 

§ 368-18
Replacement of protected or heritage tree and reforestation required. 

§ 368-19
Issuance of construction permit. 

§ 368-20
Appeal of Enforcement Officer's decision. 

§ 368-21
Permit Appeals Board. 

§ 368-22
Violations and penalties. 

§ 368-10 Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to control and regulate the indiscriminate or excessive removal of trees on public or conserved property, and the clearing and destruction of wooded areas and to control, regulate and prevent conditions which cause an increase in stormwater runoff, sedimentation, soil erosion, loss of wildlife habitat, air or noise pollution or inhibit aquifer recharge or impair the ambiance or physical appearance of a neighborhood.

§ 368-11 Definitions.

For the purpose of this article, unless from the context a different meaning clearly appears, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

CRITICAL FOOTPRINT AREA
An area of any principal or accessory building that includes the portions of a private residential lot reserved for the actual building footprint, septic field plus an additional 30 feet beyond the perimeter of the building footprint and additional area (other than in connection with a driveway) which is within a setback or yard required by the zoning regulations of the Township.
Editor's Note: See Chapter 230, Land Use, Part 4, Zoning.
DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT or DBH
The diameter of a tree measured at a point 4 1/2 feet above the surface of the natural grade.
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The individual appointed by the Township Administrator of the Township of Montville.
ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Areas of wetlands, floodways, areas within the one-hundred-year floodplain (but outside the floodway), and slopes exceeding 15%.
GARDEN CENTER
A retail business of which the principal sales are garden and landscaping related products.
HERITAGE TREE
Any tree which is determined by the Township to be of unique and intrinsic value to the general public because of its size, age, historic association or ecological value. The Township shall keep a record of all heritage trees so designated and their location, and the property owner will be notified accordingly.
PROTECTED TREE
Consists of the following:
A. 

A private protected tree, which means any tree with a DBH (diameter at breast height) of six inches or more located on any lot within 20 feet of a road right-of-way (including an approved private street/common driveway or other access easement) or a tree with a DBH of eight inches or more located within 10 feet of any other lot line (not along a road right-of-way) or a tree with a DBH of 12 inches or more located elsewhere on the lot.

B. 

A public protected tree, which means any tree located on lands owned by the Township or any land upon which easements are imposed for the benefit of the Township or upon which other ownership control may be exerted by the Township, including rights-of-way, parks, public areas and easements for drainage, sewer, water and other public utilities, with:

(1) 

A DBH of six inches or more located within a Township right-of-way;

(2) 

A DBH of six inches or more and located on any lot within 20 feet of a road right-of-way;

(3) 

A DBH of eight inches or more located on any lot within 10 feet of any other lot line (not along a road right-of-way); or

(4) 

A DBH of 12 inches or more located elsewhere on the lot.

A. 

Property owned by the Township, including but not limited to road rights-of-way, parks, and open space areas;

B. 

Common property owned by a homeowners, condominium or townhouse associations; or

C. 

Property that is encumbered by a conservation-purpose deed restriction or easement, whether or not the property is owned in fee by a public, private or governmental agency.

REMOVE
To destroy, cut, chop, displace, and shall also mean to perform any act of tree pruning or thinning, equipment operation, soil compaction or materials storage, soil removal, or paving that results in tree destruction.
TREE NURSERY
A tree farm and/or wholesale grower of deciduous and/or evergreen trees.

§ 368-12 Prohibited activities.

No person and/or organization, including utility companies, shall remove a protected tree or heritage tree, or any tree within an environmentally sensitive area, in the Township of Montville without having previously obtained from the Enforcement Officer a permit authorizing the removal or clearing.

§ 368-13 Exemptions.

A permit shall not be required to remove a public or protected tree when:

A. 

The removal or clearing is on property subject to an approved woodland management program pursuant to the Farmland Assessment Act of 1964,

Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 54:4-23.1 et seq.
or on property used as a garden center or tree nursery, or any trees located in commercial orchards;

B. 

Clearing of trees is required in connection with construction of a new dwelling, the construction or reconstruction of an approved septic system, or the construction or reconstruction of an approved driveway and the trees are located within the critical footprint area;

C. 

The removal or clearing is on property located within the air safety zone established pursuant to the New Jersey Air Safety and Zoning Act of 1983;

Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 6:1-80 et seq.

D. 

A public or protected tree is in such condition to pose imminent danger to the public health, safety, and welfare or to existing structures;

E. 

A public or protected tree is diseased, dead or dying as a result of natural causes, such as storms; provided, however, that:

(1) 

The person desiring the removal or clearing is the owner of the property on which the public or protected tree is located; and

(2) 

Said person either provides prior notification of the proposed removal or clearing to the Enforcement Officer and the Enforcement Officer verifies the diseased, dead or dying condition or provides the Enforcement Officer with a certificate from a qualified forester or landscape architect that the tree was diseased, dead or dying as a result of natural causes, and its removal therefore was appropriate.

F. 

The tree is growing on property actively operated as a farm under the state's Right to Farm Act,

Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 4:1C-1 et seq.
which is removed to create fields for crops and pastures, or to construct a farm building;

G. 

The trees to be removed are in accordance with a subdivision or site plan finally approved by the Township Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment or, if on Township-owned property, is pursuant to a site development plan submitted to the Township Planning Board for comment;

Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

H. 

The tree is in a public road right-of-way or sight easement and is required to be cut or removed to facilitate public safety as determined by the Township's Public Works Department.

§ 368-14 Permit application.

Any person desiring to remove a public or protected tree shall make application to the Enforcement Officer for a permit to do so. The application shall be on a form supplied by the Township and shall contain:

A. 

An application for the removal of five or less public or protected trees shall require the following:

(1) 

Name and address of property owner.

(2) 

Name and address of applicant, if other than owner, together with the owner's signed consent to the application.

(3) 

Identification by street address and tax lot and block number of the property to which the application applies.

(4) 

The location, species and caliper of all trees to be removed on a survey, if available, or a copy of the Tax Map. The trees to be removed shall be marked with ribbon or other marking so that the Enforcement Officer can conduct a visual inspection.

B. 

An application for the removal of greater than five public or protected trees shall require the following, unless waived by the Enforcement Officer:

(1) 

Name and address of the property owner.

(2) 

Name and address of the applicant, if other than the owner, together with owner's signed consent to the application.

(3) 

Identification by street address and tax lot and block number of the property to which the application applies.

(4) 

A tree reservation plan that depicts:

(a) 

The location, species and caliper of all trees to be removed on a surveyed drawing.

(b) 

The location of existing and proposed structures, driveways, etc.

(c) 

Existing contours and proposed grading.

(d) 

Proposed preservation/protection measures of trees to remain.

(e) 

The location of replacement trees, including a replacement schedule indicating species, quantities and size in accordance with the standards set forth in Chapter 230, Land Use, insofar as it is applicable. Unless otherwise determined by the Enforcement Officer or his designee, the replacement shall be at a one-to-one ratio.

(f) 

If known to the applicant, the location of any wetlands, flood hazard areas, and streams on the property.

(5) 

The purpose of the removal or clearing.

(6) 

Signature of applicant.

§ 368-15 Permit application fee.

A. 

The application for removal of a public or protected tree shall be accompanied by a fee payable to Montville Township determined as set forth in Chapter 169, Fees.

Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

B. 

No application shall be considered complete without payment of the required fee.

§ 368-16 Evaluation of application.

By the filing of the application, the owner consents to an inspection of the property by the Enforcement Officer or his or her designee. Following an inspection of the property on which the removal is proposed, the Enforcement Officer shall approve or deny the application, in whole or in part, with or without conditions. In his or her evaluation of the application, which shall be reasonable, the following factors shall be considered by the Enforcement Officer:

A. 

Factors weighing against approval of the application include:

(1) 

Adverse impact of the proposed removal or clearing upon quality and quantity of stormwater runoff.

(2) 

Increase in air or noise pollution from proposed removal or clearing.

(3) 

Loss of wildlife habitat from proposed removal or clearing.

(4) 

Increase in soil erosion and sedimentation from proposed removal or clearing.

(5) 

Inhibition of aquifer recharge from proposed removal or clearing.

(6) 

Adverse impact upon growth and development of remaining vegetation on the property and upon neighboring properties.

(7) 

Whether the applicant's purpose in applying for tree removal or clearing can reasonably be achieved without the proposed tree removal or clearing.

(8) 

Whether there is a substantial change in character of neighborhood.

B. 

Factors weighing in favor of approval include:

(1) 

Whether a public purpose is furthered by the proposed removal or clearing.

(2) 

Proposed tree replacement or reforestation that enhances wildlife habitat, lessens air or noise pollution, promotes aquifer recharge, decreases area soil erosion and sedimentation, or improves area stormwater runoff conditions.

(3) 

Proposed promotion by the applicant of the purposes of the ordinance in Chapter 230, Land Use, or correlative provisions of its successor ordinance.

§ 368-17 Time period to approve or deny application.

The failure of the Enforcement Officer to act upon a complete application for tree removal or clearing within 20 days shall constitute an approval of the application, unless the applicant has consented to an extension of said time period.

§ 368-18 Replacement of protected or heritage tree and reforestation required.

Any person who removes a protected or heritage tree without having first obtained a permit, or does so in violation of any condition of such a permit, shall replace the removed public tree or protected or heritage tree on the property at a one-to-one ratio. As an example, if a thirty-inch caliper public tree is removed, trees having a combined diameter of 30 inches shall be planted in its place. All new trees planted shall be in accordance with the ordinance in Chapter 230, Land Use, or successor ordinance. In the event such replacement or restoration cannot reasonably be accomplished on the property where the removal or clearing occurred, with the approval of the Enforcement Officer, the person who effected the removal or clearing without a permit or in violation of any condition of the permit may deposit a sum equivalent to the value of the replacement trees required hereunder and the cost of their planting as determined by the Enforcement Officer, using the wholesale prices of a local nursery as multiplied by a factor of 2 1/2, in an account maintained and used by the Township for the purpose of tree planting and reforestation. The Township may institute a civil action to compel replacement, as herein provided, if the person who effected the tree removal or clearing does not complete the herein required tree replacement or make the herein described money deposit.

§ 368-19 Issuance of construction permit.

Whenever a construction permit is requested for a structure which will require the removal of trees as herein protected, the applicant shall submit a copy of the approved tree removal permit to the Construction Official. The Construction Official shall not issue a construction permit or certificate of occupancy for any building on any site, parcel or tract for which there is an outstanding complaint pursuant to this article or for which there is no approved tree removal permit.

§ 368-20 Appeal of Enforcement Officer's decision.

An applicant aggrieved by a condition attached to a permit or the denial of a permit application by the Enforcement Officer, or any person subject to a determination of the Enforcement Officer aggrieved thereby, may appeal to the Permit Appeals Board. An appeal shall be taken by filing a written statement with the Township Clerk and Enforcement Officer, which statement shall fully set forth the matter under appeal and the grounds for the appeal. The Permit Appeals Board shall then set a time and place for hearing the appeal, notify the applicant, conduct the hearing and affirm, modify or reverse the matter appealed. The Permit Appeals Board shall have the right, however, to refuse to hear or decide any appeal which has not been filed within 14 days after the applicant had notice of the matter as to which the appeal has been taken. The decision of the Permit Appeals Board on such a matter shall be final and conclusive as a municipal action.

§ 368-21 Permit Appeals Board.

A. 

Establishment. There is hereby established in the Township the Permit Appeals Board comprised of four members as follows: one member of the Township Environmental Commission, the Township Engineer, and two citizens.

B. 

Term of office. The appointments of all members shall be for terms of one year commencing each January 1. The Township Committee shall make all appointments.

C. 

Organization. The Permit Appeals Board shall select a Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson from among its members. The presence of two members shall constitute a quorum of the Permit Appeals Board.

D. 

Powers and duties of Permit Appeals Board. The powers of the Permit Appeals Board are as follows:

(1) 

Conduct appeals pursuant to this article on the denial or revocation of permits issued pursuant to § 368-16 of this article.

(2) 

Make recommendations to the Township Committee for modifications to this article.

§ 368-22 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 2-28-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-09]

Each tree that is removed or cleared in violation of this section shall constitute a separate violation. Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this article shall be subject to such penalties as are provided for in Chapter 1, Article III, General Penalty.