Shade Tree Law Delayed Until New Year

The damage done to Montclair trees during Hurricane Sandy motivated the township council to push back the law.


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. 

The full law can be seen here. 

John B November 29, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Just makes me want to take all the trees down now there’s a large amount on our property and most are disgusting we only put it off because of the price to take them down I’d rather pay a tree company to do that work that this town for doing nothing expect spending my money While I appreciate the green effort this just seems like another shake down - they'll want to charge for montclair air next
Debbie Villarreal November 29, 2012 at 05:24 PM
If the town is collecting fines for trees they should also make the town arborist available to advise citizens about how to keep our trees healthy and when they are at risk. I had a huge tree come down on the border of my property, but it happened very early on in the storm before the winds picked up. A friend who is also an arborist surmised that the tree came down because its roots were damaged by neighbors who installed a patio adjacent to my property this summer. We need the town to use the money they collect to educate the public about how to maintain our shade trees and the town arborist to intervene when called upon to help assess potential risk.
chris November 29, 2012 at 07:04 PM
You hit the nail on the head Victoria -- I truly believe all these beautiful trees fell because their root systems were developed upon. You aren't supposed to build on the footprints of the branch length, so what's to say re-planting trees it won't happen again and again. I love shade trees and do think they beautify the town, but you have to be realistic.
DG November 30, 2012 at 01:39 PM
What's left to extract more money from residents - perhaps parking permits for our driveways? This just makes me want to move.
Kevin Reagan Ryan December 01, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Leaf blowers or trees - it is over reach of local government that is not effectively addressing the town's real issues. These policy are based on ideology not sound governing. Protect our power grid - For public safety and health PSE&G and government should remove trees that are too close to power lines.


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