The new shade tree law -- and accompanying fines -- set to take effect this month will instead be delayed until the start of the new year.
The Montclair Township Council decided to shelve the shade tree law on Tuesday night due to unprecedented damage to town trees during Hurricane Sandy. The original ordinance was adopted on June 12 and was to take effect on Nov. 1.
"[The] recovery efforts to restore the Township are considerable," read Councilor William Hurlock from the ordinance on Tuesday, "and require all of the Township’s resources, preventing implementation of the Preservation of Shade Trees Ordinance at the present time ...."
The law will now begin on Jan. 1, 2013.
Under the new law, residents will need a $15 permit to cut down any tree greater than 8 inches in diameter. However, the fee will be waived if the tree is deemed either diseased or a hazard, or if the resident is under “financial hardships,” according to the ordinance.
A licensed contractor must now remove all trees, who must register with the township at a cost of $75.
When a tree is taken down for whatever reason, residents will still have to replace the lost foliage with a native species or one “suited to urban environments,” according to the ordinance.
Of course, a resident can choose not to replace the tree and instead pay a $250 fine to the town Tree Fund.