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Taking Down Trees On Your Property?
Release Date: November 01, 2013
Did you know that a tree permit is required in Mendham Township?
Mendham Township enacted a Tree Ordinance for developed properties about ten years ago. The goal is to preserve this precious resource consistent with reasonable accommodation to homeowners.
In addition to protecting the semi-rural character and roadscape of the Township, this effort increases groundwater recharge, reduces storm water runoff, increases soil fertility and allows for increased wildlife habitat. It also reduces drainage control costs and increases property values.
The two main elements of the ordinance are the preservation of large “heritage” trees anywhere on a property and the preservation of trees that form a visual border with streets and neighboring properties. The width of the border areas depend on the size of the property – less than one acre, one to two acres, and two acres or greater.
If you would like to remove trees from your property, a copy of the tree ordinance may be viewed here (click here). The permit process is fairly simple – fill out a short form click here and pay a fee of $10. A Tree Committee member will then visit your property to evaluate your request, and after approval, the permit is good for one year for the work specified.
After the storms of the last two years, we have developed a more liberal attitude toward the removal of trees of vulnerable species that are in proximity to homes or utility wires.
One of the other goals of the Township is to encourage new plantings of native species rather than exotics. The definition of “native species” is a moving target. Do we just look at the trees that were here when the only inhabitants were Native Americans? That is probably too restrictive. A more reasonable definition includes the many species introduced by European settlers that our great grandparents thought of as native. There is a good case not to encourage species such as bamboo, which can’t be considered “native” even with a long stretch, plus most bamboos are also invasive. That is, they spread quickly, crowding out other species, and are very difficult to remove. A Tree Committee member would welcome the opportunity to discuss new plantings.
Tree permits are required prior to construction on undeveloped lots as well click here for the form. Questions? Please call our zoning department at 973 543-4555 x 116.