Chatham Borough Set to Introduce Ordinance on Monday to Abolish Shade Tree Commission

Fight over this Scarlet Oak tree could lead to abolishment of Shade Tree Commission Credits: TAP Chatham
Two certified tree experts said the 175-year-old Scarlet Oak is healthy enough to live for 30 years. The mayor and council disagree. Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - The Borough of Chatham Council has put the introduction of an ordinance on its meeting agenda for Monday, Aug. 10, which will abolish the Chatham Borough Shade Tree Commission. The STC was founded in 1909,

The  mayor and council have been at odds with the Chatham Borough Shade Tree Commission over a 175-year-old Scarlet Oak located on at Lum field, near the parking lot of the train station.

A special meeting on the recommendation by the STC to treat and save the tree was held Thursday, Aug. 6, and the STC decided not to change its stance, despite threats from the mayor and council.

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The STC has obtained reports from two certified tree experts that say the tree is healthy and can live another 30 years with treatment. The mayor and council are concerned with safety and the borough's liability should the tree fall. The tree is located on borough property. Last month, a 200-year-old tree in Summit fell on two parked cars.

By law, the STC has jurisdiction over tree removal. By abolishing the STC, the council regains control over whether the tree will be removed or not.

"This is what they threatened to do if we didn't change our recommendation," Patrick Carroll, chairman of the STC, said. "It's disappointing the mayor and council have decided to go down this path. We look forward to what they have to say at the Aug. 10  meeting. 

"At the (special) meeting Alida Kass said they were going to have discussions. I don't know if there is anything we can do. I don't agree with it whatsoever."

Below is the first reading of the ordinance from the agenda. The public hearing and adoption of the ordinance would be Sept. 14.

"AN ORDINANCE OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF CHATHAM, COUNTY OF MORRIS, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, REPEALING CHAPTER 63 OF THE BOROUGH CODE AND ABOLISHING THE SHADE TREE COMMISSION OF THE BOROUGH OF CHATHAM Council Member Kass explains the purpose of the Ordinance and moves for introduction on First Reading. Council Member Kass reads: WHEREAS, the above Ordinance was introduced and read by title at this Council meeting held on August 10, 2015. __ 15 C 08-07-2015 BE IT RESOLVED, that at the Council meeting to be held on September 14, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. prevailing time, at the Borough Hall, the Chatham Borough Council will further consider this Ordinance for a second reading, public hearing and final passage; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Clerk is hereby requested to publish the proper notice thereof, including this Ordinance, post the Ordinance on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building and make copies available to members of the general public. And I do so move."


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