[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Wenonah 9-14-1945; amended in its entirety 2-24-2005 by Ord. No. O-05-01. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Be it ordained, by the Mayor and Borough Council of the Borough of Wenonah, in the County of Gloucester and State of New Jersey, and it is hereby enacted and ordained by the authority of same as follows:
A Shade Tree Commission shall be created in the said Borough in accordance with the 1996 Revised Statutes N.J.S.A. 40:64-1 et seq. and any amendment or supplement thereto.
The regulation, planting, care and control of shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery upon and in the streets, highways, public places of the Borough of Wenonah except State highways, unless the Department of Transportation shall assent thereto and except County highways, parks and parkways, if a County Shade Tree Commission is operative and gives assent to, shall be exercised by and under the authority of the Borough of Wenonah Shade Tree Commission, which is hereby created. The Commission shall consist of not less than five nor more than seven members, and may include not more than two alternate members. The members and alternate members shall be appointed by the Mayor, who shall be residents of this municipality and shall serve without compensation except as hereinafter provided.
The first Commissioners, shall be appointed within 60 days after the effective date of this ordinance, and their terms of office shall commence upon the date of their appointment and be for the respective periods: five members — of one, two, three, four, and five years; six members — of one, two, three, four, and five (two appointees) years; seven members — Of one, two, three, four (two appointees), and five (two appointees) years. The terms of each appointee shall be designated in his appointment. All subsequent appointments, except to fill vacancies, shall be for the full term of five years, to take effect on January 1, next succeeding such appointment. In event that the membership of any Commission is increased, the new members shall be appointed in such manner that the terms shall expire in accordance with the foregoing.
Any vacancy occurring by reason of the death, resignation or removal of any Commissioner shall be filled for the unexpired term by the Mayor or other chief executive of this municipality.
The Shade Tree Commission organized under this ordinance shall have the power to:
Exercise full and exclusive control over the regulation, planting and care of shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery now located, or which may hereafter be planted in any (1) public highway; right-of-way; or "Clear Zone" as defined in Chapter 56-3B of the Code, except such as are excluded pursuant to Section 53-1 of this ordinance including the planting, trimming, spraying, care and protection thereof;
Regulate and control the use of the ground surrounding the same, so far as may be necessary for their proper growth, care and protection;
Move or require the removal of any tree, or part thereof, dangerous to public safety;
Make, alter, amend and repeal, in the manner prescribed for the passage, alteration, amendment and repeal of ordinances by the governing body of this municipality, any and all ordinances necessary or proper for carrying out the provisions hereof;
Administer treatment to, or remove, any tree situated upon private property which is believed to harbor a disease or insects readily communicable to neighboring healthy trees in the care of this municipality and enter upon private property for that purpose, with the consent of the owner thereof, provided the suspected condition is first confirmed by certificate issued by or on behalf of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture; and
Except as hereinafter provided, the initial cost of all trees planted by the Commission, the cost of planting the same, the cost of the 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, if the Commission shall so determine, in accordance with uniform rules and regulation promulgated for this purpose, be a charge upon the real estate in front of which such tree or trees shall be planted or removed as an improvement thereof. Such cost if it is so determined that it is to be paid by the owner shall, unless paid directly to the Commission, be certified by it to the collector of taxes of this municipality, shall thereupon become and be a lien, upon said real estate, shall be included in the next tax bill rendered to the owner or owners thereof, and be collected in the same manner as other taxes against that property.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
In every case where the property of an abutting owner will be chargeable with the cost of the planting of any shade tree or trees, the Commission shall give notice of the meeting at which it is proposed to consider said planting by publishing the notice at least once, not less than 20 days before the meeting, in a newspaper circulating in the municipality, or by personal service a copy of the notice upon the abutting owner at least 10 days before the meeting. The notice shall specify the street, streets, or portions thereof, on which such planting is proposed and require all persons who may object thereto to present their objections at the office of the Commission at or before the meeting. Before final action shall be 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.
No statute giving any person or State, County or municipal board, body or official, 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 highway shade tree without the consent of the Shade Tree Commission within whose jurisdiction such tree shall be located. In all cases such Commission shall reasonably cooperate with such person, board, body or official for the general public good. Nothing contained in this ordinance shall be held to take away or diminish any of the powers or authority of the Gloucester County Park Commission over the trees or shrubbery in any Gloucester 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.
No person shall do any of the following acts to any trees on a street without a prior permit from Shade Tree Commission:
Cut, prune, climb with spikes, break, damage, remove or kill.
Cut, disturb or interfere in any way with any root.
Spray with any chemical.
Fasten any rope, wire, sign or other device. (Nothing herein shall prevent any governmental agency from affixing, in a manner approved by the Shade Tree Commission, a public notice upon a tree in connection with administering government affairs.)
Remove or damage any guard or device placed to protect any tree or shrub.
Conduct razing, removal or renovation of any structure if deemed by the Commission to be damaging to neighboring street trees.
Place or distribute chemicals, including, but not limited to, salt, deleterious to tree health.
Maintain a stationary fire or device, which vaporizes noxious fumes deleterious to tree health.
Remove soil, either for trenching or otherwise.
Construct new sidewalks and/or driveways with any material whatsoever within three feet of a tree.
Plant any tree or shrub within the designated area under the control of the Commission.
Requests for permits required by the provisions of this chapter for the performance of work should be directed to the Shade Tree Commission, Borough of Wenonah, Gloucester County, New Jersey.
During the month of December in each year, the Shade Tree Commission shall certify to the governing body of this municipality the estimated sum necessary for the proper conduct of its work during 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; namely
Payment of waters and salaries of employees, if any;
Expenses of Commission members in discharging official duties including expenses incident to attendance at professional meetings;
Removal, pruning and purchase of trees and shrubbery; and
Purchase of necessary equipment and materials and the cost of services for the prudent promotion of the work.
The governing body of this municipality shall annually appropriate such sum as it may deem necessary for said purpose.
The Judge of the Municipal Court may prescribe a fine for violation of this chapter in an amount not exceeding $10,000 for each violation, and the Municipal Court of Wenonah shall have jurisdiction over actions for the violation of such ordinances, and its ordinances shall be enforced by like proceedings and process as that provided by law for the enforcement of ordinances of this municipality. The officers authorized by law to serve and execute process for the Municipal Court of this municipality shall be the officers to serve and execute any process issued out of the Municipal Court for violations of the ordinances of the commission.
[Amended 9-26-2019 by Ord. No. 2019-14]
A copy of any ordinance of the Commission, certified to under the hand of its Secretary, or Chairman 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 the ordaining, publishing and making of the same, so as to make it legal and binding, have been complied with, unless the contrary be shown.
In addition to the penalties authorized by subsection A of this section, the Commission 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 Commission for that purpose. In lieu of an appraisal, the Commission 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 4.5 feet above ground level. The Commission shall modify the value of the tree upon its species variety, location and its condition at the time of removal or destruction.
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 a Commission pursuant to subsections A or B of this section. This subsection shall not exempt any public utility or cable television company from any penalty or replacement assessment imposed for negligent actions.
All moneys collected, either as fines or penalties, for any violation of a rule or regulation of a Shade Tree Commission enacted by ordinance, or as a charge against real estate, under any provision of this ordinance shall be forthwith paid over to the Treasurer of the Borough.
The Shade Tree Commission is hereby authorized and empowered to promulgate such regulations as may be necessary, pursuant to statute, and for the proper interpretation, administration and enforcement of this basic ordinance, provided that such ordinances do not conflict with this ordinance and conform to the general standards prescribed by this ordinance.
All regulations adopted by the Shade Tree Commission shall be filed with the Municipal Clerk for inspection by the public during regular business hours.
All prior ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent with this ordinance be and the same are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistencies.
If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause, phrase or word contained in this Code shall be declared invalid for any reason whatsoever, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this ordinance which shall remain in full force and effect and to this end the provisions of this ordinance are hereby declared to be severable.
Nothing in this ordinance shall prevent the appropriate municipal body from enforcing any other ordinance of this Code of the Borough of Wenonah dealing with property maintenance, which may include maintenance of trees on private property or public sidewalks adjacent to private property.
This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon final passage and publication in accordance with law.