River Edge Gives Voice to Shade Trees After Five Year Process

After numerous rewrites and delays, the Borough Council unanimously approved a Shade Tree Ordinance

It may have taken five years to complete a Shade Tree Ordinance, but the River Edge Mayor and Council unanimously approved the new legislation this week which ties the removal of a tree with that of acquiring a building permit.

"We've gone through multiple revisions, heard from our Shade Tree, the borough attorney, members on the dais and from the Paramus Shade Tree Commission," Mayor Sandy Moscaritolo said. "I think we've tweaked this just about as much as it can be tweaked. I would like to thank Liz Stewart and the Shade Tree Commission for all their hard work."

The ordinance was initially introduced in May after five years of rewrites and delays but then defeated in early June over concerns of property rights infringement. The previously proposed legislation would have given the Shade Tree Commission jurisidiction over the removal and protection of any trees located on both private and public property except for when a homeowner removes a tree on their property for maintenance or in case of an emergency.

Later that month, the council began discussing the ordinance again but with the goal of removing any oversight of trees on private property while retaining the requirement that any tree removal be tied with a building permit application. It would then place a greater emphasis on larger home construction and that of redevelopment projects over smaller construction projects by homeowners. A final consensus was reached in October to move the ordinance forward prior to the end of the year.

The ordinance was unanimously approved 5-0 with Councilman Edward Mignone absent from the vote.

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