Livingston Town Council Discusses Various Proposals for Tree Removal
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 • 7:01am
LIVINGSTON, NJ - Members of the Livingston Township Council debated Monday night the best course of action to take regarding tree removal. An ordinance currently on the books regarding the removal of trees was deemed outdated and in need of replacement.
According to information gathered by the Livingston Environmental Commission, previously, Livingston had one of the least restrictive tree ordinances in the area. Nearby municipalities have more thorough guidelines that Livingston could adopt.
The Council determined that larger trees that could be hazardous need to be dealt with in an expedient manner. Also, trees that are dead or dying also need to be dealt with quickly. Trees in this classification would need to be cut down by their owners. However, to certify that a tree is dead, a specialist needs to be hired.
“There has to be clarification of when you need permits,” said Mayor Arlene Johnson.
The qualifications for getting a proper permit were discussed. The Council determined that it wasn’t necessary to get a permit if the tree has a diameter of less than 4 inches.
Another goal of the council in formulating a tree removal ordinance is to make sure that the local environment was not too disturbed when many trees on a property are removed. When many trees are removed, the soil in the area could be loosened, which would harm other trees in the area. The neighborhood as a whole would be negatively affected.
“One of the biggest things is notifying neighbors, No one deserves to wake up and see that all of the trees in the area are gone. We must protect the tree canopy...” said Councilman Stephen Santola.
Different permits are needed depending on the size of the tree. The permit needed also depends on the size of the lot -- whether it is larger or smaller than 1 acre.
“It’s a balancing test here. There’s no magic formula on how to do this,” said Michelle Meade, the Township Manager, with regard to the various considerations posed by members of the Council.
Mayor Johnson concluded the matter by saying, “Further information is needed regarding the appeals process history for permits -- how different size trees and types are treated. We will be hearing from LEC soon.”