Findings & Establishment of Ordinance
- There is hereby established the County of Union Tree Protection Ordinance.
- The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders (“the Board”) recognizes the numerous ways in which trees throughout Union County provide an essential benefit to the residents of Union County. Some examples of the benefits provided by trees include producing oxygen, cleaning our air, providing shade, protecting our streams and rivers, reducing soil erosion, and conserving energy resources. The Board is committed to sustaining the amount of tree cover on lands owned or maintained by the County of Union and ensuring their continued vitality. The Board desires to continue the maintenance of County trees in a healthy and safe condition through good forestry and arboriculture practices. This ordinance establishes policies, regulations, and standards necessary to ensure that the residents of the County of Union will continue to realize the benefits provided by our trees.
The following acts shall be considered a violation of this ordinance and subject to the penalties provided herein:
- The abuse, destruction, mutilation, cutting, or trimming of any County-owned tree or shrub; or
- The removal of any tree from County property; or
- Attaching any rope, wire, signs, posters or any similar objects to County-owned trees; or
- Causing or permitting any substance that is harmful to trees or shrubs to come into contact with its roots, trunk or foliage; or
- Installing any concrete or pavement over tree or shrub root zones; or
- Grading, trenching, or compacting within the root zone or drip line of any county-owned tree.
It is a separate violation of this section for an action proscribed above as to each tree or shrub affected. It is also a separate violation of this section each day that a condition proscribed in section (a), (c), (d), (e) and (f) occurs or continues.
A person who violates any provision of this ordinance, for a first offense, shall be fined a sum not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each violation; for a second and subsequent offense shall be fined a sum not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) and/or imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding ninety (90) days for each violation. In lieu of imprisonment, the Court should consider requiring community service related to horticultural restoration and maintenance. Nothing contained herein shall prevent the County from seeking restitution, in a civil action, for the cost of repair or replacement, as appropriate, for any damaged trees or shrubs.
The County of Union’s Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation is hereby charged with the responsibility for the enforcement of this ordinance and may serve notice to any person in violation thereof; however, such notice shall not be a prerequisite for the issuance of a summons. The Director will notify the Union County Police Department (“County Police”) of any violation(s), who shall investigate said violation(s). The County Police is independently authorized to issue any summons for violations of this ordinance, as appropriate. The County Counsel and/or municipal prosecutors are hereby authorized to prosecute violators in any legal proceedings as may be required.