CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham Township Committee took what was described as a "balanced" approach when it voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance that will help preserve tree street-scapes and address complaints of quaint neighborhood streets being disrupted by builders at its regular meeting held last Thursday.

The "Tree Management Ordinance" will be up for adoption when the public hearing is held April 26. Among the highlights outlined by committee member Kevin Sullivan, who also serves on the planning board, are steps to protect tree density. 

"One of the major points of this ordinance is the fact that we have a conceptual lot plan pre-application," Sullivan said. "Before someone comes in to do any work, if they are going to do major demolition work, they have to submit a pre-application plan to show us exactly what they are going to do with the entire lot with the perspective of the trees." 

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Committee member Kevin Sullivan, who also serves on the planning board, explains some of the highlights of the tree ordinance 

In January, Woodlawn Drive residents came before the township committee asking for relief from the "aesthetic" changes builders were doing to their neighborhood. Chief among the complaints was the unfettered way trees were cleared from properties to make way for a much larger home.

Tony Vivona, chair of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, talks about how his board handles variances asked for by builders

Former mayor Nicole Hagner, chair of the planning board, says her board is open to looking at modifications to land-use standards