Borough of Mendham, NJ
Morris County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Mendham as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 4-17-2000 by Ord. No. 5-00]

§ 202-1 Purpose.

The Mayor and Council of the Borough of Mendham 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 borough desires in this article to regulate and control indiscriminate and excessive cutting of trees within the borough. In conjunction with an application for site plan approval or major or minor subdivision approval, the chapter further intends to preserve the maximum possible number of trees in the course of development of a site, to protect older specimen trees and to encourage careful site design and grading to promote the preservation of existing trees.

§ 202-2 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BOARD
The municipal agency, either the Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment.
CLEAR CUTTING
The removal of all standing trees on a lot or portion of a lot.
DIAMETER AT POINT OF MEASURE
The diameter of a tree measured 41/2 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 article as the abbreviation "DPM."
DRIP LINE
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 single-family detached dwelling or two-family detached dwelling or upon which it is proposed to construct one single-family detached dwelling or one two-family detached dwelling, and which property as a result of zoning restrictions could not be further subdivided.
SILVICULTURE
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 Bureau of Forestry.
SPECIMEN TREE
Any tree which has a DPM of 24 inches or greater.
TREE
Any tree species which has a DPM of eight inches or greater.

§ 202-3 Cutting or removal prohibited.

No person shall cut down or remove or permit, suffer or allow the cutting down or removal of any tree or specimen tree without first having complied with this article.

§ 202-4 Exceptions.

The following shall be exempt from the provisions of this article:
A. 
Commercial nurseries and fruit tree orchards.
B. 
Christmas tree plantations.
C. 
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 make them a hazard to structures or human life.
D. 
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 pipe lines.
E. 
Homestead lots.
F. 
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.
G. 
Silviculture.

§ 202-5 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 Borough Administrator. The application for a permit shall include a completed application form as prescribed by the Borough Administrator which contains:
A. 
Name, address and phone number of property owner.
B. 
Name, address and phone number of applicant if different from owner.
C. 
Consent in writing of owner if applicant is different than owner.
D. 
Street address and tax lot and block numbers of premises.
E. 
A mapped inventory of all trees and specimen trees by size and species within the area subject to tree removal and cutting and within a transition area 10 feet from the perimeter thereof. Any significant tree canopy shall be delineated at the drip line.
F. 
All review fees and escrows as established by ordinance.

§ 202-6 Tree removal standards.

When the application for a tree removal permit is submitted in conjunction with an application for major subdivision or site plan approval or minor subdivision approval, the following standards, in addition to the above application requirements, shall apply:
A. 
A diagram of lot or parcel of land specifically 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. Any significant tree canopy shall be shown and shall be delineated at the drip line.
B. 
The location of all streams, watercourses and freshwater wetlands shall be shown. No trees or specimen trees within 25 feet from the center line of a stream or watercourse shall be removed except as may be necessary to construct a driveway, roadway or utility, in which case the Board may issue a waiver of this requirement.
C. 
The location of all slopes of greater than 10%, as measured between ten-foot contour lines, where any tree removal is proposed shall be shown.
D. 
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.
E. 
In the event that the development of a property requires the removal of an excessive number of trees or specimen trees due to unique site characteristics or natural features or, in the event that there is removal of trees through error, the Board shall have the authority to require the replacement of trees in accordance with the following schedule:
Replacement of Trees
Percentage of Trees Removed
Percentage of Trees Removed to be Replaced with Replacement Trees
80% to 100%
70%
60% to 79%
50%
40% to 59%
30%
20% to 39%
20%
Less than 20%
10%
Replacement of Specimen Trees
Existing Specimen Tree to be Removed
(inches)
Number of Replacement Trees
24 to 30
5
31 to 36
6
37 to 40
9
41 or greater
10
All replacement trees shall be of No. 1 nursery grade quality, northern grown, balled and burlapped and not less than 3 inches to 31/2 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 practices. In the event that replacement of trees is required, and the tree replacement is not included in a performance bond for a subdivision or site plan, the developer shall be required to post a cash bond or letter of credit in a form approved by the Borough Attorney and in an amount which shall be 120% of the replacement cost of the trees, as determined by the Borough Engineer. The bond shall require the tree replacement to be accomplished within a certain period of time and authorize the borough to take any of the money and make the replacement should the developer fail to make the replacement within the time specified. The bond shall continue in effect for at least two years after the replacement to assure that the replacement tree(s) shall survive the initial growing season.
F. 
Prior to any site clearing, grading or disturbance for premises subject to the provisions of this section, the applicant shall delineate, with snow fence, all areas which are to remain undisturbed and shall individually flag or mark to the satisfaction of the Borough 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.
G. 
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 borough ordinances.
H. 
The applicant shall demonstrate compliance in all tree removal applications with the provisions of the Mendham Borough Code, Article XI, § 195-44H, Environmental considerations.
I. 
During major or minor subdivision review, the 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 a certificate of occupancy is issued.
[Adopted 12-6-2010 by Ord. No. 14-10]

§ 202-7 Definitions.

The following terms, whenever used or referred to in this article, shall have the following respective meanings for the purposes of this article, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context.
STREET TREES
Trees, shrubs, bushes, and all other woody vegetation on land lying between property lines on either side of all streets, avenues, or ways within the Borough.
PARK TREES
Trees, shrubs, bushes and all other woody vegetation in public parks having individual names, and all areas owned by the Borough, or to which the public has free access as a park.
TREE TOPPING
The severe cutting back of limbs to stubs larger than three inches in diameter within the crown of a tree to such a degree so as to remove the normal canopy and disfigure the tree.

§ 202-8 Street tree species to be planted.

The type of street tree species to be planted shall only be those tree species recommended by Rutgers University in their street trees for New Jersey publication. A copy of said publication shall be on file with the Borough Clerk's office. No species other than those included in the aforesaid publication list may be planted as street trees without written permission of The Borough of Mendham Shade Tree Advisory Committee.

§ 202-9 Spacing.

The spacing of street trees shall be in accordance with the three species as listed in the most current "Trees for N.J. Streets Manual" published by Rutgers University and the New Jersey Shade Tree Foundation, presently the Fifth Revision, 2007, which is on file with the Borough Clerk; or in the alternative, special plantings approved by the Shade Tree Advisory Committee or Superintendent of Public Works.

§ 202-10 Distance from curbs and sidewalks.

The distance trees may be planted from curbs or curb lines and sidewalks will be in accordance with the three species size classes referred to in § 202-9, and no trees may be planted closer to any curb or sidewalk than the following:
A. 
Small trees: two feet.
B. 
Medium trees: three feet.
C. 
Large trees: four feet.

§ 202-11 Distance from street corners and fireplugs.

No street tree may be planted closer than 35 feet to any street corner, measured from the point of nearest intersecting curbs or curb lines. No street tree shall be planted closer than 10 feet of any fireplug.

§ 202-12 Distance from utilities.

No street trees other than those species listed as small trees in § 202-8 of this article may be planted under or within 10 lateral feet of any overhead utility wire, or over or within five lateral feet of any underground water line, sewer line, transmission line or other utility. Other size trees may be planted providing the expressed consent of the DPW and Shade Tree Advisory Committee along with conditions required for such trees.

§ 202-13 Public tree care.

A. 
The Borough shall have the right to plant, prune, maintain and remove trees, plants and shrubs within the lines of all streets, alleys, avenues, lanes, 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.
B. 
The Borough of Mendham Shade Tree Advisory Committee may remove or cause 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, water lines, or other public improvements, or which is affected with any injurious fungus, insect or other pest. This section does not prohibit the planting of street trees by adjacent property owners providing that the selection and location of said trees is in accordance with this article.

§ 202-14 Tree topping.

It is unlawful as a normal practice for any person, firm, or Borough department to top any street tree, park tree, or other tree on public property, as defined in § 202-7 of this article. 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 article by a determination of the Borough of Mendham Shade Tree Advisory Committee.

§ 202-15 Pruning and corner clearance.

A. 
Every owner of any tree which overhangs any street or right-of-way within the Borough shall prune the branches so that such branches do 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.
B. 
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 street light or interferes with visibility of any traffic control device or sign or if it interferes with essential snow plowing.

§ 202-16 Dead or diseased tree removal on private property.

A. 
The Borough shall have the right to remove any dead or diseased tree on private property within the Borough if said tree constitutes a hazard to life and/or property, and/or harbors insects or diseases which constitute a potential threat to other trees within the Borough.
B. 
The Borough of Mendham Shade Tree Advisory Committee will notify in writing 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 or sooner if there is an immediate threat to public health and safety. In the event of failure of owners to comply with such provisions, the Borough shall have the authority to remove such trees and include the cost of said removal on the owner's property tax notice.

§ 202-17 Removal of stumps.

All stumps of street and park 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.

§ 202-18 Interference with Shade Tree Advisory Committee.

It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, delay or interfere with the Borough of Mendham Shade Tree Advisory Committee, or any of its agents, while engaging in the planting, cultivating, mulching, pruning, spraying, or removing of any street trees, park trees, or trees on private grounds, as authorized in this article.

§ 202-19 Arborist's license and bond.

It shall be unlawful for any person or firm to design or plan for pruning, treating, or removing street or park trees within the Borough without maintaining a state arborist license or approval by the DPW Superintendent providing it is consistent with the "Trees for New Jersey Streets Manual."

§ 202-20 Review by Mayor and Council.

The Borough Mayor and Council shall have the right to review the conduct, acts and decisions of the Borough of Mendham Shade Tree Advisory Committee. Any person may appeal from any ruling or order of The Borough of Mendham Shade Tree Advisory Committee to the Borough Mayor and Council, who may hear the matter and make final decision.

§ 202-21 Violations and penalties.

Any person violating any provision of this article shall be, upon conviction or a plea of guilty, subject to a fine not to exceed $250.