Township of Freehold, NJ
Monmouth County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Freehold as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fees — See Ch. 150.
Right to farm — See Ch. 265.
Shade trees — See Ch. 400.
[Adopted 12-12-1962 (§§ 2-21.5 to 2-21.7 of the Revised General Ordinances), as amended through Ord. No. O-81-24]

§ 336-1 Responsibility for costs.

Except as hereinafter provided, the initial cost of all trees planted by the Shade Tree Commission, the cost of planting same, the cost of items used for their protection and the cost of removal of any tree or part thereof, dangerous to public safety, shall, if the Commission so determines, be a charge upon the real estate in front of which the tree shall have been planted or removed. The cost, if it is so determined that it is to be paid by the owner, shall, unless paid directly to the Commission, be certified to the Collector of Taxes and shall thereupon be a lien upon the real estate and shall be included in the next tax bill rendered to the owner and collected in the same manner as other taxes against the property. The provisions of this article shall not apply to a planting to replace a tree planted by the Commission or a planting in connection with Arbor Day exercises or other educational demonstration.

§ 336-2 Responsibility for tree trimming; failure to comply.

[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
The owner of real estate in front of which a tree or trees have been planted shall trim the branches from any such trees overhanging in the streets and highways so that the light from streetlights is not obstructed and so that there shall be a clear height of 15 feet above the surface of the street and 10 feet above any sidewalk. Failure or refusal to trim any tree as set forth in this section following written notice by the Shade Tree Commission shall entitle the Commission to perform the work, the cost of which shall be certified to the Collector of Taxes, and shall thereupon be a lien upon the real estate and shall be included in the next tax bill rendered to the owner and collected in the same manner as other taxes against the property.

§ 336-3 Notice and hearing.

[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
In every case where the owner will be charged with the cost of planting any shade tree, the Shade Tree Commission shall give notice of the meeting at which it is proposed to consider the planting by publishing the notice at least once, not less than 45 days before the meeting, in a newspaper circulating in the Township, or by personal service of a copy of the notice upon the closest owner or owners to which the tree is to be planted at least 10 days before the meeting. The notice shall specify the street or portions thereof on which the planting is proposed and require all persons who may object to present their objections in writing at the office of the Commission at or before the meeting. Before final action is 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.

§ 336-4 Consent of Commission required for work near trees.

No statute giving any person, state, county or municipal board, body or official power or authority to lay 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 the tree is located. In all cases, the Commission shall reasonably cooperate with the person, board, body or official for the general public good.

§ 336-5 Powers of other boards and authorities.

Nothing in this article shall be held to take away or diminish any of the powers or authority of any county park commission over the trees or shrubbery in any county park or parkway within its jurisdiction, or to give any other commission or board any power or authority with respect to such trees or shrubbery.
[Adopted by Ord. No. O-87-10 (§ 6-16 of the Revised General Ordinances)]

§ 336-6 Title.

This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Tree Preservation Ordinance of the Township of Freehold."

§ 336-7 Intent and purpose.

A. 
The intent of this article is, through the preservation and protection of trees to aid in the stabilization of soil by the prevention of erosion and sedimentation; reduce stormwater runoff and the costs associated therewith and replenish groundwater supplies; aid in the removal of carbon dioxide and generation of oxygen in the atmosphere; provide a buffer and screen against noise pollution; provide protection against severe weather; aid in the control of drainage and restoration of denuded soil subsequent to construction or grading; provide a haven for birds which in turn assist in the control of insects; provide a haven for wildlife; protect and increase property values; conserve and enhance the Township's physical and aesthetic environment; and generally protect and enhance the quality of life and the general welfare of the Township and its residents.
B. 
The purpose of the provisions relating to heritage/historic trees within this article is to require the preservation of those trees which are identified as mature (fully developed) trees of a specific size and species and those trees involved in documented historic events. Permission to remove such trees from any property, other than a modified home site as hereinafter defined, within the Township, except in the most compelling and extraordinary circumstances, shall be prohibited. Removal shall take place only after a thorough investigation and recommendation by a New Jersey board-licensed tree expert and the agreement of the Township Forester.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10; 4-23-2013 by Ord. No. O-13-13]

§ 336-8 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BUSINESS DAYS
Monday through Friday, except holidays.
DISEASED TREE
A tree which is irretrievably diseased or infested with insects such that no available treatment can cure the disease or infestation.
FORESTER
The Township employee holding the position of Supervisor of Trees.
HERITAGE TREE
Any tree by reason of its diameter measured 4 1/2 feet above the ground (dbh) on the uphill side to be a mature tree of significant size. The Township Forester shall prepare and maintain the Standards for Determining Heritage Trees, for individual tree species. These standards shall set forth the size requirement for determining a heritage tree.
HISTORIC TREE
One which is associated with a documented historic event, i.e., Freehold officials met with the Native Americans under a specific tree in 1790.
HOME SITE
The area within 100 feet of a single-family residential dwelling foundation, except areas within 25 feet of the right-of-way edge.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
ISA TREE APPRAISAL
An appraisal based on standards set forth in the latest edition of the Guide for Plant Appraisal ("ISA method") published by the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers.
[Added 5-20-2008 by Ord. No. O-08-6; amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
MODIFIED HOME SITE
The area within 50 feet of a single-family residential dwelling foundation, except areas within 25 feet of the right-of-way edge.
[Added 4-23-2013 by Ord. No. O-13-13]
OWNER
Any person as defined herein having title to or lawful possession of any lot, plot or parcel of land within the Township of Freehold.
PERSON
Any individual, association, partnership, company, corporation, agency or combination thereof.
RELATED OWNERSHIP
In relation to the ownership of real property:
A. 
Owned by husband and/or wife of the owner of an adjacent parcel of real property.
B. 
Owned by a person or entity which has 10% or more interest in the entity owning the adjacent parcel of real property.
C. 
Within the last five years, the owner of a parcel of real property has conveyed title to an adjacent parcel of real property to a relative within the third degree of lineal or collateral consanguinity.
TRACT
The entire area of property involved in the site plan, subdivision, or tree removal permit application, whether or not it consists of separate lots and/or blocks, or title is held in one or more different persons or entities.
TREE
Any woody perennial plants having a four-inch diameter at breast height ("dbh") or greater, measured at a height of four feet six inches above the ground.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
TREE DELINEATION AREA
That area of the tract consisting of the tree disturbance area plus 100 feet in all directions on the tract from the tree disturbance area, excluding any areas of wetlands, as defined by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, conservation areas already dedicated and accepted or other areas where restrictions already in effect would prohibit tree disturbance.
TREE DISTURBANCE AREA
Those areas of the tract where disturbance or removal of trees shall occur, or within 100 feet of an area where tree disturbance or removal shall occur. The tree disturbance area of a tract shall be separated from the tree preservation area by map delineations.
TREE PRESERVATION AREA (NONDISTURBANCE AREA)
All those areas of the tract being outside the tree disturbance area.

§ 336-9 Acts prohibited without a tree removal permit.

[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
Unless excepted under § 336-13 hereof, the following acts are prohibited except upon issuance of a tree removal permit as hereinafter provided:
A. 
No person shall injure, girdle, remove, or destroy any tree or cause or allow same to be done.
B. 
No person shall undertake any action which results, or has the substantial likelihood to result, in the destruction or substantial harm to any tree, or cause or allow same to be done.

§ 336-10 Application procedure for tree removal.

A. 
Fees.
(1) 
Any person desiring to undertake any action prohibited by § 336-9 above shall file a written application for a tree removal permit with the Township Clerk, together with prepayment of application fee calculated as provided in § 150-31 (fees).
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
(2) 
No prepayment need be made of that portion of the fee for trees which it is claimed must be removed because they are diseased, dead or pose a significant danger to public health and/or safety. The removal of such trees does not require payment of any fee, provided that the Forester finds in fact that such trees should be removed because they are diseased, dead or pose a significant danger to public health and/or safety.
B. 
The written application shall include the following information:
(1) 
Name and address of applicant and status of legal entity.
(2) 
Status of application with respect to the land.
(3) 
Written consent of the owner of the land, if applicant is not the owner.
(4) 
Name and address of person preparing any map, drawing or diagram submitted with application.
(5) 
Location of the property, including a street number and address and lot numbers as shown on the Official Tax Map of the Township.
(6) 
Diagram of the parcel of land, specifically designating the area or areas of proposed tree removal and the proposed use of such area.
(7) 
Location of all proposed structures and driveways on the site.
(8) 
Location of all heritage/historic trees shown on a sketch or plan and identification of size and species specifically highlighting the location of each heritage/historic tree with canopy spread shown to scale and the condition rating of the tree.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
(9) 
Designation of all diseased trees.
(10) 
Designation of any trees posing significant danger to public health and/or safety.
(11) 
Any proposed grade changes that might adversely affect or endanger any trees on the site and specifications of how to maintain them.
(12) 
Designation of trees to be removed and trees to be maintained.
(13) 
Purpose of tree removal (construction, street or roadway, driveway, recreation area, patio, parking lot, etc.).
(14) 
All materials to be planted with an indication of size, species and methods of planting.
(15) 
Such other information as may be required by an official application form adopted by resolution of the Township Committee and which, if so adopted, shall be provided to the applicant by the Township Clerk.
C. 
The Township Clerk shall maintain a register of all tree removal permit applications, past and present, by lot and block designation.
D. 
The Township Clerk shall, within two days of the receipt of a completed written application and correct application fee, refer said application, together with a copy of any previous applications for removal of trees from said tract of land, to the Township Forester for consideration as detailed below.
E. 
The Forester may, in addition, require the applicant to supply any of the following documentation:
(1) 
A site plan specifying the methods to be used to preserve all remaining trees and their root systems and the means of providing water and nutrients to their root system.
(2) 
A topographical survey of the land if development or construction will result in change in elevation of more than five feet or if the parcel of land is more than two acres in area.
(3) 
An appraisal of the heritage or historic tree using the most recent ISA method.
[Added 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
F. 
Upon referral of an application from the Township Clerk, the Forester shall examine the premises referred to in the application, inspect the trees referred to therein, and the physical conditions of said lands and the vicinity thereof.
G. 
In determining whether or not a permit should be granted, the Forester may consider some or all of the following:
(1) 
The condition of the tree or trees with respect to disease, insect attack, danger of falling, proximity to existing or proposed structures and interference with utility services.
(2) 
The necessity of removing the tree or trees in order to construct the proposed improvements to allow reasonable economic use of the property.
(3) 
The effect of the removal on erosion, soil moisture retention and flow of surface waters.
(4) 
The number and density of trees in the area and the effect of tree removal on property values of the neighborhood and other existing vegetation.
(5) 
Whether any tree in question is a tree worthy of preservation.
(6) 
Impact upon the urban and natural environment, including:
(a) 
Whether tree removal would substantially alter the water table or affect the stabilization of ground- and surface water.
(b) 
Whether tree removal would affect water quality and aquifer recharge by reducing the natural assimilation of nutrients, chemical pollutants, heavy metals and other substances from ground- and surface waters during the movement of water towards an aquifer or natural stream.
(c) 
Whether tree removal would have an adverse impact upon existing biological and ecological systems.
(d) 
Whether tree removal would affect noise pollution by increasing source noise levels to such a degree that a public nuisance may be anticipated or a violation of Chapter 217, Noise, will occur.
(e) 
Whether tree removal will affect air movement by significantly reducing the ability of existing vegetation to reduce wind velocities.
(f) 
Whether tree removal will affect air quality by significantly affecting the natural cleansing of the atmosphere by vegetation.
(g) 
Whether tree removal will affect wildlife habitat by significantly reducing the habitat available for wildlife existence and reproduction or causing the emigration of wildlife from adjacent or associated ecosystems.
(7) 
The ease with which the applicant can alter or revise the proposed development or improvement to accommodate existing trees.
(8) 
The economic hardship that would be imposed upon the applicant were the permit denied.
(9) 
The heightened desirability of preserving tree cover in densely developed or densely populated areas.
(10) 
The need for visual screening in transition zones or relief from glare, blight, commercial or industrial ugliness or any other visual affront.
(11) 
Whether the continued presence of the tree or trees is likely to cause danger to a person or property.
(12) 
Whether the topography of the area in which the tree is located is of such a nature to be damaging or injurious to trees.
(13) 
Whether the removal of the trees is for the purpose of thinning a heavily wooded area where some trees will remain.
(14) 
A specific finding as to which of the trees slated for removal are diseased, dead or pose a significant danger to public health and/or safety and are therefore exempt from the fee requirements set forth in § 336-10A.
(15) 
Removal of heritage/historic trees.
[Amended 7-22-2003 by Ord. No. O-03-18]
(a) 
Except when located on a modified home site, it is presumed that heritage/historic trees should only be removed in the most compelling and extraordinary circumstances. Removals can be done only after a thorough investigation by a New Jersey board-licensed tree expert with a filing of a written report of findings with recommendations and the agreement of the Township Forester. The loss of lot yield, building area or profitability of development layout shall be deemed neither compelling nor extraordinary.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10; 4-23-2013 by Ord. No. O-13-13]
(b) 
Compelling and extraordinary circumstances may be found if all of the following factors exist:
[1] 
The lot(s) containing the heritage/historic tree(s) has existing realty improvements; and
[2] 
Some or all of the realty improvements are in a state of significant disrepair and/are derelict as to condition; and
[3] 
The lot(s) owner/applicant proposes costly improvements to the lot(s) which would:
[a] 
Correct all disrepair and derelict conditions; and
[b] 
Construct or reconstruct realty improvements which will transform the property into one having a positive impact on the neighborhood and the public good.
[4] 
Removal of one or more heritage/historic trees is reasonably necessary to accomplish the action described in Subsection G(15)(b)[3] above; and
[5] 
The owner agrees to pay a fee for the value of the tree or trees to be removed, based on a certified ISA tree appraisal method performed by a New Jersey board-licensed tree expert for each heritage/historic tree necessary to be removed, such payment to be deposited into the Reserve for Shade Tree account to be utilized by the Township for the planting, preservation and maintenance of trees within the Township.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
H. 
After visiting the site and considering the relevant conditions of the foregoing section, the Forester shall grant or deny the application by setting forth in writing his relevant observations and the reasons for the issuance or refusal to issue the tree removal permit. Said action shall be taken by the Forester within 30 days from the date of receipt of a completed written application, correct application fee and receipt of any additional information which the Forester may require pursuant to § 336-10E hereof.
I. 
A copy of application and the Forester's written decision to grant or deny the application shall be forwarded to the Township Clerk and to the Township's Shade Tree Commission.
J. 
The Forester is empowered to prepare and require the use of such application and submittal forms, checklists, and decision forms consistent with this article and which are not inconsistent with such forms, if any, which may be adopted by the Township Committee.
K. 
By making application pursuant to this article, the applicant has implied consent to the Forester, members of the Shade Tree Commission, Township officials and other consultants hired by the Township entering upon and performing such inspections and testing as may be necessary to make a determination as required.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]

§ 336-11 Appeal procedure for heritage/historic tree determinations.

A. 
Those who may take appeal. As to all determinations of the Forester relating to heritage/historic trees, made pursuant to § 336-10G(15), the applicant may appeal the Forester's denial of the application for a tree removal permit.
B. 
Time and manner in which to appeal.
[Amended 8-26-2003 by Ord. No. O-03-18; 7-27-2004 by Ord. No. O-04-25]
(1) 
A written appeal of the Forester's decision must be filed with the Township Clerk, the Shade Tree Commission ("Commission") and the Forester within 180 calendar days from the date of the Forester's decision. An appeal from § 336-10G(15)(a) or (b) shall be perfected by submitting each of the following:
(a) 
Written notice of appeal setting forth each of the following:
[1] 
Lot(s) and block(s) designation of the subject property as it appears on the Official Tax Map of the Township.
[2] 
Name, address and telephone number of subject property owner.
[3] 
Name, address and telephone number of other parties interested in the property, i.e. prospective tenants, etc.
(2) 
In addition to the written notice of appeal, the appellant shall submit each of the following:
(a) 
A plan depicting the proposed use of the subject property.
(b) 
The plan as described in Subsection B(2)(a) above, except that it shall include by separate colored symbols the location of each heritage/historic tree, superimposed upon the plan which would include tree trunk and canopy-spread measurements in scale.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
(c) 
A plan which would allow for the utilization of the subject property for a permitted use in the zone within which it is located which results in the minimum number of heritage/historic trees being removed.
(d) 
A tree appraisal utilizing the latest ISA method, performed by a New Jersey board-licensed tree expert, setting forth an appraisal value for each historic/heritage tree proposed to be removed. The appraisal must set forth individual appraisal data and a value for each such tree, keyed to the tree symbols set forth on the plan described in Subsection B(2)(b) above.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
(e) 
A copy of the Forester's determination being appealed.
C. 
Appeal tribunal. The Commission shall hold a hearing and decide the appeal de novo. The Commission shall consider the written decision of the Forester, additional evidence which the Forester may present, the reports of the appellant's experts, the testimony of the appellant's experts, the testimony or other evidence desired to be submitted by the appellant. The Commission shall have the right, if it deems it necessary, to employ an outside expert or experts to review the matter and present evidence and opinions on the appeal. The Commission shall also have the right to visit the site and vicinity to assist it in deciding the appeal. The rules of evidence shall not apply to the appeal hearing, but due process and a reasonable opportunity to be heard should be accorded to all interested parties.
D. 
Fee on appeal. The appellant shall, at the time of filing the appeal, submit an appeal fee plus an escrow amount as provided in Chapter 150, Fees, to the Township Clerk. The escrow amount shall be used by the Township to offset direct expenses of the appeal, including cost of stenographer, attorney and any outside experts employed by the Commission for the appeal. In the event the initial escrow amount shall be exhausted, the escrow shall be replenished within five business days after notification to the appellant from the Commission or the Township Clerk. Any balance of the escrow amount shall be refunded to the appellant.
E. 
Time and form of decision. The Commission shall, within two weeks of the date upon which a complete appeal application has been received, set an initial date for the hearing. The initial hearing date shall be set for not more than 45 days from the date upon which a complete application of appeal was received unless the next regularly scheduled meeting is later, in which case the hearing shall be set for that meeting. If more than one date is required for the appeal, the Commission shall schedule successive hearing dates as expeditiously as possible, giving consideration to other business and demands upon its time which must be accommodated. Within 60 days of the conclusion of the hearing(s), the Commission shall render a decision, orally or in writing. The Commission may affirm, reverse or modify the decision of the Forester. The Commission's decision may be rendered orally or by written resolution setting forth findings and reasons therefor. If the Commission's decision is initially rendered orally, a written resolution of memorialization setting forth findings and reasons must be adopted within 45 days from the date of the oral decision. Only those members of the Commission voting in favor of the oral decision may vote on the resolution of memorialization.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
F. 
Mitigation requirements. In the event the Commission's decision on appeal shall modify or reverse the decision of the Forester, any heritage/historic trees which shall be allowed to be removed as a result of the Commission's decision shall be subject to the mitigation requirements which shall be detailed in the written decision of the Commission. Representative mitigation techniques which may be required include but are not limited to one or more of the following, depending upon the particular circumstances as revealed during the hearing process:
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
(1) 
A monetary contribution for each removed heritage/historic tree to be paid to the Township and used for purposes of maintaining existing trees under the jurisdiction of the Shade Tree Commission or for other purposes under the jurisdiction of the Commission. The Commission shall use its expertise in arriving at the amount of the contribution. The ISA method of appraisal shall serve as the basis for determining the value of each tree. The Commission shall consider, but is not bound by, the appraisal submitted pursuant to Subsection B(2)(d) above; and/or
(2) 
Planting a minimum of five new trees, preferably the same type as the heritage/historic tree being removed, if available, nursery quality shade trees of no less than three to 3 1/2 inches in caliper or evergreens at eight feet to 10 feet of height, on the subject property or other designated property within the Township, for each heritage/historic tree removed.

§ 336-12 Appeal procedure for all other determinations.

As to all determinations of the Forester, other than those relating to heritage/historic trees made pursuant to § 336-10G(15), the applicant may appeal the Forester's denial of the application for a tree removal permit. Any resident of the Township may appeal the Forester's issuance of a tree removal permit.

§ 336-13 Exceptions from requirement to secure tree removal permit or for abbreviated procedures.

[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10; 6-28-2011 by Ord. No. O-11-14; 4-23-2013 by Ord. No. O-13-13]
The following exceptions from securing a tree removal permit or for abbreviated procedures shall apply, unless under Subsection A, B or C below a heritage/historic tree will be removed or damaged, in which case securing a removal permit shall be required as to the heritage/historic tree(s) only:
A. 
This article shall not apply to normal operations in commercial orchards or tree nurseries as carried out by the owners or their employees.
B. 
Any public utility company may prune trees to obtain normal line clearance for overhead utility wires.
C. 
This article shall not apply to standard selective forestry silvericultural practices which will benefit both the owner and the intent of this article, such as pruning and trimming to enhance growth. Any such activity, however, which entails injury to or destruction of trees shall require an application and permit as provided for herein.
D. 
This article shall not apply to any tree located on a home site or on a modified home site.
E. 
Except as otherwise noted in § 336-18, the provisions of § 336-10 of this article shall not apply to those activities recognized in § 336-18 in conformance with the Farmland Assessment Act (N.J.S.A. 54:4-23.1 et seq.).
F. 
Except as otherwise noted in § 336-19, the provisions of § 336-10 of this article shall not apply to the circumstance recognized and described in § 336-19.

§ 336-14 Other prohibited acts.

The following actions are prohibited and shall be a violation of this article:
A. 
Willful injury or disfigurement of any tree growing within the Township.
B. 
No person shall:
(1) 
Attach any sign, notice or other object to any tree or fasten any wires, cables, nails or screws to any tree in a manner that could prove harmful to the tree.
(2) 
Pour any material on any tree or on nearby ground which would be harmful to the tree.
(3) 
Cause or encourage any unnecessary fire or burning near or around any tree.
(4) 
Construct a concrete, asphalt, brick or gravel sidewalk or otherwise fill up the ground within 15 feet of any tree so as to cut off air, light or water from the roots.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
(5) 
Place building material or equipment around any tree so as to cause injury thereto.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
(6) 
Alter the existing grade by removing any soil within 15 feet of the tree trunk.
[Added 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
(7) 
Change the existing drainage patterns (contour lines) around the perimeter of a tree’s dripline, which causes the movement of siltation or water into the dripline of the tree canopy.
[Added 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]

§ 336-15 Safety barrier.

In order to protect trees located on areas of the tract which are tree preservation areas, the Forester may, if warranted in his opinion, require the erection and maintenance of temporary fencing or similar barrier along the border of the tree disturbance area or at such other location which in his opinion will help to protect against intrusion into the tree preservation area. In exercising his judgment hereunder the Forester may consider the following:
A. 
Size and configuration of the tree disturbance area.
B. 
Size and number of pieces of construction equipment to be used.
C. 
Size of project.
D. 
Any past intrusions into the tree preservation area.
E. 
Lack of other demarcation to distinguish tree disturbance area from tree preservation area.
F. 
Other factors deemed relevant by the Forester.

§ 336-16 Nonliability of Township.

Nothing in this article shall be deemed to impose any liability upon the Township or upon any of its officers or employees nor to relieve the owner and occupant of any private property from the duty to keep trees and shrubs upon private property or under his control in a safe condition.

§ 336-17 Violations and penalties.

Any person found guilty of violating any provision of this article shall, upon conviction, be subject to the penalties prescribed in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty. In a prosecution under this article, each tree removed, damaged or destroyed will constitute a separate offense.

§ 336-18 Farming activities.

Tree removal in furtherance of farming shall be controlled hereunder. If an applicant intends to harvest woodland or intends to clear trees to establish a farm, this article shall apply, providing the activity shall qualify under the Farmland Assessment Act.
A. 
Tree harvesting. If an applicant intends to harvest trees and have such activity result in the subject property's qualifying for farmland assessment under the Farmland Assessment Act, the following procedures shall apply:
(1) 
The applicant shall file a copy of the following with the Township Forester:
(a) 
Forest management plan prepared for the state.
(b) 
Farmland assessment application.
(2) 
The Township Engineer or Forester shall inspect the property and compare it with the forest management plan. If the Township Forester notes any substantial inconsistencies, he/she shall immediately contact the State Forester assigned to the matter and request the State Forester to review the property and the plan as soon as possible.
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
(3) 
The Township Engineer or Forester shall periodically, thereafter, inspect the property to determine that the forest management plan is being adhered to. If the plan is not being followed, the Township Engineer or Forester shall:
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
(a) 
Immediately notify the State Forester for such action as he/she deems needed.
(b) 
Notify the Township Tax Assessor that the plan is not being followed and request that action be taken to disqualify the property under the Farmland Assessment Act.
(c) 
Serve notice on the applicant, and the property owner, if different from the applicant, that he/she should immediately cease the activity because it no longer qualifies under this article as an exemption to the tree removal permit procedure and that before any further tree removal is engaged in, the provisions of § 336-10 must be complied with.
(d) 
Issue summons under § 336-15.
B. 
Establishment of farm. If an applicant intends to remove trees in order to establish a farm and have the subject property qualify for farmland assessment under the Farmland Assessment Act, the following procedures shall apply:
(1) 
The owner shall notify the Township Clerk in writing of such intention and shall supply the following:
(a) 
Written information required by § 336-10B(1) through (6).
(b) 
A survey or map of the total property with the area of tree removal depicted with reasonable accuracy.
(c) 
A statement under oath that the applicant is not pursuing the tree removal hereunder to avoid the other sections of this article and that if the application is granted, the property would not be the subject of a subdivision or site plan application for 10 years after the farming activity is commenced.
(d) 
An application fee in the amount provided for in Chapter 150, Fees.
(2) 
The Township Clerk shall follow the procedures of § 336-10C and D.
(3) 
The Township Forester shall inspect the site and may require the applicant, owner and/or farmer to accompany him.
(4) 
The Township Forester shall issue a tree removal permit hereunder if:
(a) 
The Township Forester is satisfied that the application is made in good faith and with the intention to establish a farm which will qualify for farmland assessment under the Farmland Assessment Act.
(b) 
The record owner of the property executes a restriction in recordable form that the property shall not be the subject of a subdivision or site plan application for a period of 10 years after the farming activity is commenced.
(5) 
If the Township Forester concludes that the application is not made in good faith and with the intention to establish a farm which would qualify the property for farmland assessment under the Farmland Assessment Act, the Township Forester shall deny the permit and notify the applicant and owner in writing, with a copy to the Township Clerk, of the specific findings upon which the determination is made and of the fact that the applicant may appeal such determination within 10 days pursuant to § 336-11.

§ 336-19 Establishing a home site.

An abbreviated procedure shall apply to tree removal for purposes of constructing a single-family dwelling on a lot.
A. 
To qualify under this article:
(1) 
The applicant must intend to construct a single-family dwelling for which the applicant has received building permits from the Township Construction Code Official; and
[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
(2) 
The dwelling shall be intended to be constructed on a lot:
(a) 
Which is one acre or less or which is not more than two times the minimum lot area requirement of the zone in which it is located; and
(b) 
Which has not been the subject of a subdivision approval within the last three years; and
[Amended 6-28-2011 by Ord. No. O-11-14]
(c) 
Which is not in common or related ownership with an adjacent parcel of real property.
B. 
If Subsection A is applicable, the applicant shall contact the Township Forester and supply in written form the information required by § 336-10B(1) through (6). The Forester shall ascertain additional information sufficient to establish that this article is applicable and the abbreviated procedure of this article is appropriate. Upon doing so, the Forester may require the applicant to supply a survey, copy of house plans and proposed placement of the dwelling, any accessory buildings, lawn or landscape area and driveway proposed. The Forester may further require that the applicant mark the trees to be removed. If, after a review of the foregoing information, and any other information the Forester may reasonably require, including inspection of the property, the Forester is satisfied that the trees to be removed are not in excess of that required to establish the dwelling and related areas, a permit for tree removal may issue and a copy forwarded to the Township Clerk. If not so satisfied, the Forester may require the procedure established by § 336-10 be followed. In such case, the Township Forester shall notify the applicant in writing, with a copy to the Township Clerk, of the denial, the specific findings upon which the denial is made and of the fact that the applicant may either submit under § 336-10, or appeal the Township Forester's determination under § 336-11.

§ 336-20 Heritage/historic tree data collection.

[Amended 6-29-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-10]
For the purpose of establishing a database on heritage/historic trees, their size and location within Freehold Township, any property owner filing farmland assessment under woodland management shall have the New Jersey Approved Consulting Forester identify heritage/historic trees encountered during his/her annual inspection. These trees with diameter, species and location information shall be shown on the submitted scaled map and included with the annual filing of the "WD-1" form prior to August 1 to the Township Tax Assessor.