[Adopted by Ord. No. 96-19]
There is established in the Borough of Chester a shade tree commission to be known as the "Shade Tree Commission of the Borough of Chester," consisting of no fewer than five nor more than seven members to be appointed by the Mayor of the Borough, who shall be residents of the Borough and serve without compensation.
The members of the Shade Tree Commission shall be appointed for the term and the Commission organized as set forth in Chapter 64 of Title 40 of the Revised Statutes of New Jersey.
The Shade Tree Commission shall have the power:
To do and perform any and all acts set forth in Chapter 64 of Title 40 of the Revised Statutes of New Jersey, as it may be modified or amended from time to time, all of which is incorporated herein by reference.
To regulate the planting, care and control of shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery upon and along the streets, highways, public places, parks and parkways of the Borough, except county parks or parkways, shall be exercised by and under the authority of the Shade Tree Commission.
To direct owners of any tree overhanging any street or right-of-way within the Borough to prune the branches so that such branches shall not obstruct the light from any street lamp or obstruct the view of any street intersection and so that there shall be a clear space of eight feet above the surface of the street or sidewalk. Said owners shall remove all dead, diseased or dangerous trees or broken or decayed limbs which constitute a menace to the safety of the public. The Borough shall have the right to prune any tree or shrub on private property when it interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a streetlight or interferes with the visibility of traffic control device or sign.
To participate in the review of development applications filed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq., and determine compliance with and enforce the provisions of § 163-47A(33) of the Code of the Borough as it may be amended and supplemented from time to time.
To appoint annually or on an ad hoc basis, from within or without the Borough, to serve without compensation, an expert or experts in the fields of landscaping and/or forestry or a related field, to assist it in the performance of its duties and to serve as an ex officio member of the Shade Tree Commission.
To encourage arboriculture.
No person shall do, or cause to be done, any of the following acts upon streets, highways, public places, parks and parkways, except county parks or parkways, within the Borough without the written permit of the Shade Tree Commission:
Cut, trim, break, climb with spikes, disturb the roots of, or otherwise injure, or spray with any injurious chemical, or remove any living tree or shrub, or injure, misuse or remove any structure or device placed to support or protect such tree or shrub.
Plant any tree or shrub.
Fasten any rope, wire, electric attachment, sign or other device to a tree or shrub or to any guard about such tree or shrub.
Close or obstruct any open space provided about the base of a tree or shrub to permit the access of air, water or fertilizer to the roots of such tree or shrub.
Pile any building material, or make any mortar or cement within six feet of a tree or shrub.
Top any street tree, park tree or other tree on public property except as may be authorized by the Shade Tree Commission. Topping is defined as the severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the tree's crown to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree, disregarding trees severely damaged by storms or other causes, or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions.
Utility operations. Every person having control over any wire for the transmission of an electric current along a public highway shall at all times guard all trees through which such wire passes against any injury from the wire or from the electric current carried by it. The device or means used shall in every case be subject to approval by the Shade Tree Commission.
Fastening animals to trees. No person shall hitch or fasten an animal to any tree or shrub upon a public highway or to any guard or support provided for the same, or shall permit an animal to bite or otherwise injure any such tree or shrub.
Injurious substances. No person shall permit any brine, gas, or injurious chemical to come in contact with the stem or roots of any tree or shrub upon a public highway.
Interference with Commission. No person shall prevent, delay, or interfere with any lawful work undertaken by the Shade Tree Commission or its authorized agents or agents.
If any person shall continue to violate any of the provisions of this article, or shall neglect or refuse to comply with a lawful order of the Shade Tree Commission, a second or subsequent notification or order shall be construed as an additional notice of violation of this article, and each such additional offense shall subject the offending party, upon conviction, to the same penalty as provided by § 9-34 of this chapter together with the reasonable cost to the Shade Tree Commission to remediate the effect of the violation.
The Borough of Chester Engineer, Zoning Officer, Public Works Superintendent and Police Department members and such other persons who may be designated by resolution of the Shade Tree Commission are hereby designated as authorized agents of the Shade Tree Commission, who are authorized to serve and execute process in the Borough on behalf of the Shade Tree Commission.