After months of collaboration between the Livingston Environmental Commission, the Planning Board and the Town Council; it appears that the township finally has an updated tree ordinance in place.
On Monday night, members of the council voted to introduce an updated tree ordinance, which in some cases will require residents to obtain a permit before they remove a tree on their property. The purpose of the ordinance is to control the number of trees that are removed and ensure that the trees that are taken down are indeed replaced.
Property owners, who wish to remove a tree, will be subject to a $150.00 tree removal fee for a developed lot, as well as a $500 escrow deposit to ensure that the tree is replaced. Also, if the tree is located within five feet of the property line, the homeowner must receive their neighbor's written consent before removing the tree.
There are exemptions to the ordinance, however. Property owners will be allowed to remove up to three trees on their property without a permit, although only one tree can come from the front-yard of the property under this clause. Trees whose trunks are located within five feet of a residence or building can also be removed without a permit.
Residents are also exempt from the ordinance if the tree in question is dead, terminally diseased or poses a hazard. Trees located within the right of way or those near wirelines that are removed or pruned by utility companies also fall under the exemption.
While the updated ordinance will help protect the greenscape of the township, the council is not blind to the fact that the new rules may draw the ire of some residents. "This is one of those tricky topics of balancing the good of the community versus individual rights," said Deputy Mayor Steve Santola noting that he felt the terms of the ordinance were reasonable. A complete copy of the updated ordinance is available for viewing here.
As was at last week's conference meeting, the town council voted on and passed a resolution to create the Community Outreach Committee. The group's mission is to integrate individuals, some of whom do not feel comfortable attending a public forum, into existing township groups and committees. If successful, the hope is that the group will be able to disband in the coming years.
Councilwoman Deborah Shapiro and Deputy Mayor Steve Santola will serve as council liaisons to the committee, which will be comprised of 22 residents.
Monday night's meeting also featured a number of presentations. The first was for the Cycle for Survival fundraising event, started by Jennifer Goodman Linn, a graduate of Livingston High School who recently passed away, and her husband David.
On hand for the presentation were Jennifer's parents, Leonard and Sandy Goodman, as well as Greer Gelman and Jeanne Joyce Silberman, whom were influential in bringing the Cycle for Survival event to Livingston. Last year, a small cycling event was held at the New York Sports Club and raised $35,000 for the organization, said Silberman.
Mayor Rudy Fernandez noted that the program has grown exponentially in recent years having raised millions of dollars in 2011 alone and described the organization's achievements as "an amazing, amazing accomplishment".
Plans are in the works to hold a larger cycling event next February in Jennifer's honor at the Senior/Community Center. "Our goal is to get 100 bikes in the Community Center and get four to eight riders on each bike for four hours," said Gelman, who noted that the ultimate goal is to raise $100,000 to fund cancer research.
Registration for the event is open to the public with a whopping 44 teams already signed up to participate, including one comprised entirely of former Livingston mayors. "It's like Jen always said, whether you peddle hard or hardly peddle, this is for you", said Goodman's mother.
The council also formally acknowledged Red Ribbon Week, as well as the Livingston 11 Year-Old American Little League Williamsport Team for winning both the District 8 and Section 2 championships and earning a spot in the finals this summer.
In other news....
- The council introduced an Alternative Energy ordinance to establish guidelines for property owners looking to install renewable energy sources, such as wind turbines. A complete copy of the amendments is available for viewing here.
- The township has hired the firm Nowell, Amoroso, Klein, Bierman to represent them in a legal matter with the City of East Orange and the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of East Orange. Compensation for the special counsel is set at $140/hour with the total sum of the contract not to exceed $5,000.
- The council also adopted a resolution to award a twenty-four month contract to Professional Climate Control, Inc. to perform maintenance on the heating and cooling systems in the township's buildings.
The council meets again next Monday, Oct. 24, for a Conference-only meeting beginning at 7:30 p.m.