Township of Maplewood, NJ
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Maplewood as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Historic Preservation Commission — See Ch. 41.
Building construction — See Ch. 93.
Parks and recreation areas — See Ch. 193.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 203.
Solid waste — See Ch. 235.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 239.
Zoning and land development regulations — See Ch. 271.
[Adopted 12-3-1974 by Ord. No. 1438 as Section 3-9 of the 1974 Revised General Ordinances

§ 227-1 Permit required to cut, prune, remove or replace.

Any person desiring for any lawful purpose to cut, prune, trim or remove any tree in a public highway in the township or to replace an existing tree or plant an additional tree within the public highway shall apply to the Township Engineer for permission.
A. 
Application requirements. The applicant shall, in writing, indicate the location and type of work and the species of tree to be planted. The name of the nurseryman, and a guaranty from the nurseryman for the maintenance of the tree for a period of at least one year after planting, shall accompany the application.
B. 
Permit and guaranty. Upon the approval of the application by the Township Committee, the Township Engineer shall issue a permit. The work shall be performed or the tree planted in accordance with the instructions issued by and under the supervision of the Park Supervisor. After the maintenance period of one year has expired, the tree, if satisfactory, will be accepted and classed as other trees existing along the public highways.

§ 227-2 Planting, pruning or removal by township.

A. 
Planting. The Township Committee may cause the planting of shade trees, as it deems advisable or necessary, on the public highways and in the parks or parkways of the township. The Township Committee may also provide proper guards for the rearing and preserving of the trees.
B. 
Prunings; sprayings. The Township Committee may cause the trimming or spraying of the shade trees in the public highways and the township parks and parkways and take such other measures as it deems best for the preservation of the same.
C. 
Destruction for public safety.
(1) 
The Township Committee may cause the destruction and removal of shade trees in the public highways and in the township parks and parkways which grow into or obstruct the sanitary sewers or surface water drains of the township or which may threaten to grow into or obstruct sanitary sewers or surface water drains or any portion of the same.
(2) 
It may cause the destruction and removal of any shade trees which may by their roots have occasioned the upheaval or breaking up of a sidewalk or curb or gutter or which may threaten the upheaval or breaking up of the sidewalk, curb or gutter and of any other trees, shrubs and plants in the township parks and parkways which it may deem necessary or advisable.
(3) 
An owner shall be given at least two weeks' notice by mail at his last known post office address, if the same is ascertainable, of the intention to remove or cause the removal of any tree in any street or highway (excepting, however, any tree in any park or parkway). The owner shall have due opportunity to be heard before final action is taken for the removal of the tree. If, however, in the opinion of the Township Committee, public safety requires immediate removal, no notice shall be necessary.

§ 227-3 Permit required to pave around trees.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, except with the written permit of the Township Engineer, to be issued at the direction of the Township Committee, to place or maintain upon the ground in any public highway or township park or parkway any stone, cement or other material or substance in any manner which may obstruct the free access of air and water to the roots of any tree in any highway, township park or parkway.
B. 
Unless otherwise provided for in written permit as provided in § 227-1A, there must be maintained about the base of the trunk of each shade tree in the public highways and township parks and parkways at least six square feet of open ground for a tree of three inches in diameter, and for every two inches of increase of such diameter, there must be an increase of at least one square foot of open ground.

§ 227-4 Unlawful acts.

It shall be unlawful for any person:
A. 
Owning or using or having control or charge of gas or other substance deleterious to tree life to allow that gas or other substance to come into contact with the soil surrounding the roots of any tree in any public highway in the township or of any tree, shrub or plant in any township park or parkway in such manner as may injure or kill or destroy the tree, shrub or plant.
B. 
To cause, authorize or procure any brine water, oil, liquid dye or other substance deleterious to tree life to lie, leak, pour, flow or drip on or into the soil about the base of a tree in any public highway or of any tree, shrub or plant in any township park or parkway or onto a sidewalk, road or pavement therein at a point whence the substance may by lying on or by flowing, dripping or seeping into the soil, or in any other manner whatever, injure the tree, shrub, or plant, or to cause or procure any lying, leaking, flowing, dripping, seeping or injuring.
C. 
To cause, authorize or procure a wire or other conductor charged with electricity to come into contact with any tree in any public highway or with any tree, shrub or plant in any township park or parkway in such manner as may injure or abuse or destroy or kill such tree, shrub or plant.
D. 
To attach or keep attached to any tree in any public highway or township park or parkway or to the guard or stake intended for the protection of a tree any rope, wire, sign or any other device whatsoever.
E. 
To tie any horse or other animal to any tree in any public highway, township park or parkway within the township or, having charge of a horse or other animal, to allow or cause or procure it to injure any tree, or for any person in charge of a horse or other animal to cause or allow it to stand so that it injures a tree.
F. 
During the erection, repair, alteration or removal of any building or structure within the township of which he is in charge, to leave any street tree in the vicinity of a building or structure without good and sufficient guards or protectors which shall prevent injury to the tree arising out of or by reason of erection, repair, alteration or removal.

§ 227-5 Violations and penalties.

Any person who shall violate or authorize or procure a violation of any provision of this article or of any permission given as aforesaid shall, upon conviction thereof, forfeit and pay a penalty not to exceed $50 for each and every offense.
[Adopted 4-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2541-08]

§ 227-6 Applicability.

The terms and provisions of this article shall apply to all privately owned trees within the Township of Maplewood. No building or demolition permit, or any application to the Planning Board or Board of Adjustment, shall be issued or approved until it is determined that the applicant is in conformance with the provisions of this article or that this article is not applicable. Applicability may be determined by the agency to which the application is being made.

§ 227-7 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CALIPER
The diameter of a tree trunk measured at four feet above the ground.
HISTORIC TREE
A tree which has been determined to be of notable historic interest and value to the Township of Maplewood because of its significant association with important history of the community and which has been so designated by the Maplewood Township Committee upon the recommendation of the Maplewood Historic Preservation Commission.
ORNAMENTAL TREE
A species of tree having prolific flowers or an unusual structure or character, which species shall be designated by the Township's Shade Tree Supervisor.
PERSON
An individual, firm, corporation, partnership, joint venture, limited-liability company, association, principal, trustee, municipal corporation, special improvement district or any other entity or any agent or representative of any of the foregoing.
RARE TREE
A tree of special character or quality and so designated by the Township's Shade Tree Supervisor.
SPECIMEN TREE
Any tree which, as determined by the Township's Shade Tree Supervisor, is in healthy condition, has a life expectancy greater than 15 years and equals or exceeds:
A. 
Twenty-four inches in caliper for deciduous trees;
B. 
Twenty-six inches in caliper for evergreen trees; or
C. 
Four inches in caliper for ornamental trees.

§ 227-8 Permit required.

[Amended 3-17-2009 by Ord. No. 2580-09]
No person shall remove any tree 12 inches or more in caliper, or authorize the removal of such tree, on any land within the Township of Maplewood unless the owner of such tree or the person authorized by the owner to remove said tree shall first obtain a permit in accordance with the following:
A. 
Said person shall have submitted an application to the Shade Tree Supervisor which shall:
(1) 
Identify the property upon which the tree or trees are located;
(2) 
Disclose the name and address of the owner and any agent of the owner duly authorized for this purpose;
(3) 
Set forth the reasons for requesting a permit to cut or remove said tree or trees;
(4) 
State who owns the tree or trees;
(5) 
Have attached a diagram or other document which accurately sets forth the location of the tree or trees;
(6) 
Provide that if the removal is conducted by a tree removal contractor, that contractor shall have adequate insurance;
(7) 
Contain a representation by the contractor that it will comply with all applicable state, OSHA, and ANSI standards;
(8) 
Contain a representation by the applicant that he/she will notify the Maplewood Police Department of the date of removal so that the Maplewood Police Department may close any street required for the safe removal of the tree or trees.
B. 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection B, concerning written notice to abutting property owners, was repealed 6-15-2012 by Ord. No. 2692-12.
C. 
The Township's Shade Tree Supervisor shall have reviewed the application and shall have determined, in his/her discretion, to issue said permit, due consideration having been paid to the following:
[Amended 10-5-2010 by Ord. No. 2642-10]
(1) 
Whether the proposed removal would impair the growth and development of the remaining trees on the applicant’s property or adjacent property.
(2) 
Whether the proposed removal would adversely impact existing drainage patterns.
(3) 
Whether the proposed removal would cause soil erosion or increased dust.
(4) 
Whether the proposed removal would constitute a significant change in the screening with respect to buildings on contiguous lots.
(5) 
Whether the proposed removal would constitute a horticulturally advantageous thinning of an existing overgrown area.
(6) 
What overall effect the removal would have on the physical and aesthetic value of the property.
(7) 
Whether proposed or necessary changes in the topography of the area where such tree or trees are located will depress land configuration so as to be injurious to other trees located nearby, and whether these changes will require welling, construction of any aerification system, or other tree removal or replacement.
(8) 
Whether the continued presence of the tree or trees sought to be removed is likely to cause hardship or will endanger the public or any other adjoining property owner by reason of its being diseased or dead or for some other adequate reason within the intent of this ordinance.
(9) 
Whether the proposed removal is requested to facilitate the installation of solar panels.
(10) 
None of the above considerations shall have greater weight than any other consideration, and the request to install solar panels shall not be the sole basis for the removal of any tree.
D. 
No permit shall be issued for the removal of an historic, rare or specimen tree, as defined in this article, unless the Shade Tree Supervisor finds that the condition of the tree poses a real and significant danger to persons or property in the immediate area of such tree.
E. 
The Shade Tree Supervisor shall determine whether or not to issue a permit within 5 days from the filing of the application and, in the event of partial or complete disapproval, shall provide written reasons for such decision. Where appropriate, the Shade Tree Supervisor shall indicate guidelines and other measures which must be taken in order to preserve other trees, persons, or property from damage caused by the removal operation.
[Amended 6-15-2012 by Ord. No. 2692-12]
F. 
Any permit issued by the Shade Tree Supervisor shall require the applicant to wait 10 business days before removal of any trees.
G. 
The Shade Tree Supervisor shall notify all abutting property owners as listed in the application of his/her decision.

§ 227-9 Permit fees.

Each applicant for a permit under this article shall pay a fee of $25 upon submission of the required application if said application seeks removal of not more than three trees or a fee of $50 if the application seeks the removal of four to 10 trees or a fee of $75 if the application seeks removal of 11 or more trees.

§ 227-10 Exceptions in emergencies.

In case of emergencies such as hurricane, windstorm, ice storm, flood or other disaster, the requirements of these regulations may be waived by the Shade Tree Supervisor, in consultation with the Director of Emergency Management, upon a finding by the Supervisor that such a waiver is necessary so that public or private work to restore order in the Township will not be impeded. In the event of emergencies that pose an imminent and significant threat of severe personal injury by reason of collapse, or imminent collapse, of a tree or trees, the owner of such tree or trees, without prior approval, may take such action as is necessary to remove the threat; any person taking such action shall, within 10 days after taking such action, submit a written report to the Shade Tree Supervisor describing why such action was necessary. If the Shade Tree Supervisor approves the emergent removal, all fees shall be waived.

§ 227-11 Appeals.

Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Shade Tree Supervisor shall have the right to appeal such decision to the Environmental Subcommittee of the Maplewood Township Committee. Such appeal shall be by written notice stating the reasons upon which the appeal is based and shall be filed with the Maplewood Township Clerk within eight business days of the mailing of the decision by the Shade Tree Supervisor upon the application. The filing of an appeal by an aggrieved party shall cause an automatic stay of any permit issued by the Shade Tree Supervisor until such time as the appeal has been heard. The Environmental Subcommittee shall hear the matter, upon notice to the applicant and aggrieved party within 30 days after filing the notice of appeal. The Environmental Subcommittee may review documents and hear testimony and shall then render its decision. The decision of the Environmental Subcommittee shall be final.

§ 227-12 Violations and penalties.

Any person violating any provision of this article is subject to a penalty not to exceed $1,250 for each tree removed without a permit.