[Added 12-2-1998 by Ord. No. 25-98]
Purpose. The Township Committee of Morris Township has found that tree conservation will help secure safety from flood, promote a desirable visual environment, promote conservation of valuable natural resources and prevent degradation of the environment. Therefore, the Township desires in this article to regulate and control indiscriminate and excessive cutting of trees in conjunction with an application for site plan approval or major or minor subdivision approval within the Township, or otherwise, unless exempted, to protect older specimen trees and to encourage careful site design and grading to promote the preservation of existing trees.
Definitions. The following words and expressions as used in this article shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
- The Township Engineer or his or her designee.
- The municipal agency, either Planning Board or Board of Adjustment.
- The removal of all standing trees on a lot or portion of a lot.
- DIAMETER AT POINT OF MEASUREMENT
- The diameter of a tree measured 4 1/2 feet above the ground level for existing trees to be surveyed in the field. On sloped terrain, such measurement shall be made on the downhill side. Diameter at point of measurement may appear in this section as the abbreviation "DPM."
- An imaginary ground line around a tree that defines the limits of the tree canopy.
- HOMESTEAD LOT
- A preexisting lot located within a zone permitting single-family detached dwellings or two-family detached dwellings upon which is constructed a lawfully occupied single-family detached dwelling or two-family detached dwelling and which property, as a result of zoning restrictions, could not be further subdivided into two or more lots.
- The management of any wooded tract of land to ensure its continued survival and welfare, whether for commercial or noncommercial purposes, pursuant to a plan approved by the New Jersey Forestry Association.
- SPECIMEN TREE
- Any tree which has a DPM of 24 inches or greater.
- Any tree species which has a DPM of eight inches or greater.
Cutting or removal prohibited. No person shall cut down or remove any tree or specimen tree, and no landowner shall suffer or allow the cutting down or removal of any tree or specimen tree on his or her property, without first having complied with this article.
Exceptions. The following shall be exempt from the provisions of this article:
Commercial nurseries and fruit tree orchards.
Christmas tree plantations and commercial farms, except as otherwise provided in § 95-34.3.
[Amended 12-14-2011 by Ord. No. 37-11]
Removal of trees which are dead, dying or diseased, or trees or specimen trees which have suffered severe damage or any tree or specimen tree whose angle of growth or location makes it a hazard to structures or human life.
Pruning or removal of any tree or specimen tree growing on or over a public right-of-way or public property by an appropriate authority or authorized utility company for maintenance of utility wires or pipelines.
Projects which, prior to the effective date of this article, have received preliminary or final major subdivision, minor subdivision or site plan approval. Amendments to said approvals subsequent to the effective date of this article shall be subject to the provisions of this article.
Trees to be removed as part of normal, routine golf course maintenance to maintain limits of previously cleared fairways and other open areas on the course and prevent natural gradual encroachment into such areas, to maintain the playability of the course as to its turf and course architecture, provided that at least 48 hours' advanced written notice is given to the Township Engineer.
[Added 5-19-1999 by Ord. No. 13-99]
Permit required. Prior to the cutting down or removal of any tree or specimen tree which is subject to this article, a permit shall be obtained from the administrative officer. The application for a permit shall include a complete application form as prescribed by the administrative officer and shall comply with the following standards and requirements:
Name, address and phone number of the property owner.
Name, address and phone number of the applicant if different from the owner.
Consent, in writing, of the owner if the applicant is different than the owner.
Street address and tax lot and block numbers of the premises.
A mapped inventory of all trees and specimen trees by size and species located by a professional land surveyor within the area subject to tree removal and cutting and within a transition area 10 feet from the perimeter thereof.
A site plan showing the size, location and species of all trees and specimen trees within the disturbed area and a transition area 10 feet from the perimeter thereof shall be submitted to the Board. All tree locations shall be established by a professional land surveyor. In lieu of the foregoing, the Board may permit a more general identification of trees on a heavily wooded lot. Any significant tree canopy shall be shown and shall be delineated at the dripline.
The location of all streams, watercourses and freshwater wetlands shall be shown. No trees or specimen trees within 25 feet from the high-water mark of a stream or watercourse shall be removed.
The location and degree of all slopes of greater than 10% where any tree removal is proposed shall be shown.
Removal of any specimen tree shall require specific approval by the Board. All efforts shall be made by the applicant to preserve specimen trees, including, if necessary, plan changes to relocate utilities, driveways, roadways, buildings and other site improvements.
In the event that the development of a property requires the removal of trees or specimen trees, the Board shall have the authority to require the replacement of trees in accordance with the following schedule:
All replacement trees shall be of nursery-grade quality, balled and burlapped and not less than 2 1/2 inches to three inches DPM. Replacement trees shall be consistent with the type and species removed from the site and shall be planted in accordance with accepted nursery practice.
Prior to any site clearance, grading or disturbance for premises subject to the provisions of this section, the applicant shall delineate with snow fence, installed beyond the dripline of trees which are to be protected, all areas which are to remain undisturbed and shall individually flag or make and protect with snow fencing to the satisfaction of the Township Engineer all trees or specimen trees which are to remain within the area of disturbance as approved by the Board. The clear-cutting of trees is disfavored by this article and shall only be permitted if there is no practical alternative and only if such cutting is specifically approved by the Board.
The applicant shall provide evidence to the Board that the method of disposal of removed trees, stumps, toppings and slash is consistent with all applicable laws and Township ordinances.
The applicant shall demonstrate compliance in all tree removal activities with the other applicable provisions of this chapter.
During major or minor subdivision review, the Planning Board shall be authorized to require a tree removal plan for each individual lot which will result from the proposed subdivision. Any tree removal restrictions shall remain in effect until the parcel shall become a homestead lot.
Review time. The administrative officer shall review and approve, conditionally approve or reject the permit application within 30 days of the date a complete application is submitted and all necessary Board approvals have been granted.