[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Bordentown 3-13-1995 by Ord. No. 1995-6. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee shall be constituted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:64-1 et seq. and shall advise and assist the Board of Commissioners and Clerk of the City of Bordentown with respect to the relocation, planting, care, culture, trimming and development of shade trees in the City. It shall develop and recommend to the Board a suitable shade tree program and Master Plan for the City and shall have the authority to promulgate rules and regulations, subject to the review and approval of the City Commissioners, as necessary, for the operation of the Committee.
Editor's Note: Ord. No. 2013-13, adopted 8-26-2013, changed the name of the Shade Tree Committee to the “City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee.” References to the Committee throughout the Code have been changed accordingly.
The first City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee members shall consist of seven members who shall be appointed by the Board of Commissioners within 60 days after the ordinance providing for the Committee shall become effective, and their terms of office shall commence upon the day of their appointment and be for the respective periods of one, two, three, four and five years, beginning on January 1 next succeeding such appointment. The terms of two members shall be for five years and two members shall be appointed for four years. The term of each appointee shall be designated in his appointment. All subsequent appointments, except to fill vacancies, shall be for the full terms of five years, to take effect on January 1.
The Committee shall organize within 30 days after the appointment of its total membership for the remainder of the then calender year and thereafter annually by the election of one of its members as Chairman. It shall choose its own officers, make its own rules and regulations and keep a record of its proceedings. A majority of the members shall be a quorum for the transaction of business. The Committee shall have the functions and powers set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:64-1 et seq. except where inconsistent with this chapter, in which case the chapter controls. The Board of Commissioners shall provide the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee with a secretary to record the minutes of meetings and assist in ministerial and administrative functions. The salary of the secretary shall be fixed by the governing body of the municipality.
Any vacancy occurring by reason of the death, resignation or removal of any City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee member shall be filled for the unexpired term by appointment of the Board of Commissioners.
A City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee organized under this chapter shall study, investigate, develop, administer and update as necessary a Shade Tree Master Plan for the regulation, planting, care and repair of shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery and curbing and sidewalk as may be necessitated by the regulation, planting and care of said trees and shrubs now located, or which may hereafter be planted in any public highway, park or parkway, including the planting, trimming, spraying, care and protection thereof. Such Master Plan shall be presented annually to the Board of Commissioners and, upon its acceptance and approval by the Board, shall constitute the official Shade Tree Master Plan for the City. Said Master Plan shall be adhered to by the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee, the City, its agents and employees and shall be followed in the exercise of the following functions:
To regulate and control the use of the ground surrounding shade trees, ornamental trees and shrubbery so far as may be necessary for their proper growth, care and protection.
To move or require the removal of any tree, or part thereof, dangerous to public safety.
To care for and control such parks and parkways, encourage arboriculture and recommend the alteration, amendment and repeal, in the manner prescribed for the passage of ordinances by the governing body of the municipality, any and all ordinances necessary or proper for carrying out the provisions hereof.
To remove and repair sidewalk and curbing as may be necessitated by the regulation, location, planting, care, removal, treatment or root removal of any trees and shrubs, be they either in the public way or on private property adjacent to the public way.
To administer treatment to or remove any tree situate upon private property which is believed to harbor a disease or insects readily communicable to neighboring healthy trees in the care of the municipality and enter upon private property for that purpose, with the consent of the owner thereof, provided that the suspected condition is first confirmed by certificate issued by or on behalf of the Department of Agriculture.
Except as hereinafter provided, the cost of all trees planted by the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee, the cost of planting the same, the cost of any posts and boxes or guards used for the protection thereof and the cost of the removal of any tree or part thereof dangerous to public safety shall be borne by the City, which shall review and approve an annual budget submitted by the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee for such purpose.
No species other than those recommended by the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee may be planted as street trees, i.e., trees, shrubs and bushes lying between property lines on either side of all streets, avenues or other public ways within the City, without approval of the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee.
Bordentown City, in accordance with the approved City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee Master Plan, shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within the lines of all public streets, alleys, easements, avenues, land, squares and public grounds as may be necessary to ensure public safety or to preserve or enhance the symmetry and beauty of such public grounds. Further, the City, in accord with the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee Master Plan, may remove or order to be removed any tree or part thereof which is in an unsafe condition or which by reason of its nature is injurious to sewers, electric power lines, gas lines, waterlines or other public improvements or is affected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest.
It shall be unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm or City department to top any street tree, park tree or other tree on public property. "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 as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree. Trees severely damaged by storms or other causes or certain trees under utility wires or other obstructions where other pruning practices are impractical may be exempted from this provision by the City upon the recommendation of the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee. In such case, either the City or an independent contractor retained by the City shall conduct this work.
Every owner of any tree overhanging any public street or right-of-way within Bordentown City shall 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 12 feet above the roadway and eight feet above the walkway. 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. Bordentown City 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 visibility of any traffic control device or sign if, after notice to the property owner and an opportunity to respond, the owner takes no action. In such case, the cost of such work shall be chargeable to the owner of the tree or shrub and, if unpaid, shall become a lien on the property.
Bordentown City shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead or diseased trees on private property within the City when such trees constitute a hazard to life and property or harbor insects or disease which constitute a potential threat to other trees within the City. The City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee will notify, in writing by certified mail, the owners of such trees. Removal shall be done by said owners at their own expense within 60 days after the date of service of notice. In the event of failure of the owners to comply with such provisions, the City shall have the authority to remove these trees and charge the cost of removal on the owner's property tax notice.
All stumps of street trees shall be removed below the surface of the ground so that the top of the stump shall not project above the surface of the ground.
Every owner of every tree or shrub which, by its close proximity to the public way, may cause the public sidewalk to shift, crack, heave or otherwise fall into disrepair shall be responsible, at his or her own expense, for the repair of same. The City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee will notify, in writing by certified mail, the owners of such trees or shrubs, 60 days prior to having the work performed. The City shall have the authority to require the owner to effectuate such repair or to undertake the repairs and charge the cost on the owner's property tax notice.
It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee, the City or any of its agents while engaging in and about the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying or removing of any street trees, park trees or trees on private grounds as authorized in this chapter.
The City Commissioners shall have the right to review the conduct, acts and decisions of the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee. Any person may appeal from any ruling or order of the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee to the Board of Commissioners who shall hear the matter and make a final decision.
It is acknowledged that the Bordentown Sewerage Authority has jurisdiction over sewer lines within the City and that, pursuant to Bordentown Sewerage Authority regulation, the lateral line from the curb to a residence is the homeowners' responsibility for maintenance and repair. It shall be the homeowners' obligation to insure that the sewer lateral shall be maintained in appropriate condition, i.e., that is in good repair and that all joints are tight such that tree roots shall not penetrate into the sewer pipe. Any defective sewer laterals which have been damaged by tree roots or otherwise shall be repaired at the owner's obligation and expense.
[Added 11-26-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-15]
No statute giving any person or state, county or municipal board, body or official the power or authority to lay any 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 street tree without the written consent of the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee. In all cases, the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee shall reasonably cooperate with such person, board, body or official for the general public good.
During the month of December in each year, the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee shall certify to the Board of Commissioners the estimated sum necessary for the proper conduct of the work specified herein for the ensuing fiscal year, which shall include the sums estimated to be expended for such of the following items as it is anticipated expenditure will be made for:
The governing body shall annually appropriate such sum as it may deem necessary for said purposes.
Violations and penalties; enforcement; copy of ordinance as evidence.
Any person violating this chapter, in addition to being liable for any costs the City may incur in accordance with the provisions herein which may be properly chargeable to that person, shall be fined up to $500 for a first violation, with a fine of up to $1,000 for any second or subsequent violation, and/or up to 90 days' community service and/or 30 days in jail. The Municipal Court of Bordentown City shall have jurisdiction in actions for the violation of such ordinances as the Committee shall enact.
The ordinances shall be enforced by a designee of the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee of the City who shall be employed by the City Public Works Department, which designee shall issue summonses in the form of City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee ordinance violations.
A copy of any ordinance of the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee certified to under the hand of the City Clerk shall be received in any court of this state as full and legal proof of the existence of the ordinance and that all requirements of law in relation to ordaining, publishing and making of the same, so as to make it legal and binding, shall have been complied with, unless the contrary be shown.
In addition to the penalties authorized by Subsection A of this section, the Committee may require a person who removes or otherwise destroys a tree in violation of a municipal ordinance to pay a replacement assessment to the municipality. The replacement assessment shall be the value of the tree as determined by the appraisal of a trained forester or certified tree expert retained by the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee for that purpose. In lieu of an appraisal, the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee may adopt a formula and schedule based upon the number of square inches contained in a cross section of the trunk of the tree multiplied by a predetermined value per square inch, not to exceed $27 per square inch. The square inch cross section shall be calculated from the diameter at breast height and, if there is a multiple-stem tree, then each trunk shall be measured and an average shall be determined for the tree. For the purposes of this section, "diameter at breast height" shall mean the diameter of the tree taken at a point 4 1/2 feet above ground level. The City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee shall modify the value of the tree based upon its species, variety, location and its condition at the time of removal or destruction. This replacement assessment shall also include the City's costs incurred in stump removal, sidewalk repair or replacement, and any other related expenses.
Any public utility or cable television company that clears, moves, cuts or destroys any trees, shrubs or plants for the purpose of erecting, installing, moving, removing, altering or maintaining any structures or fixtures necessary for the supply of electric light, heat or power, communication or cable television services upon any lands in which it has acquired an easement or right-of-way shall not be subject to any penalty imposed by the Committee pursuant to Subsection A or B of this section. However, this subsection shall not exempt any public utility or cable television company from any penalty or replacement assessment imposed for negligent or excessive actions.
Nothing in this chapter contained shall be construed to make the City of Bordentown Shade Tree Committee or any member thereof responsible for the death or injury of any person or for an injury to any property or highway tree or shrub.