CHATHAM, NJ - In response to complaints from residents about the wholesale clearing of healthy trees during new home construction, the Chatham Township Committee unanimously adopted a tree management ordinance Thursday at its regular meeting.

Woodlawn Drive residents had come before the township committee in January to complain that the "aesthetics" of their neighborhood was being destroyed by developers.

Committee member Kevin Sullivan, also a member of the planning board, led the effort to make changes that included a pre-application lot plan before any work can begin.

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"One of the highlights of this ordinance is the pre-application lot plan," Sullivan said. "Before dramatic action, before a teardown takes place, that the overall lot is assessed and managed at a variety of fronts that are spelled out in the ordinance."

Committee member Kevin Sullivan gives some highlights of the tree management ordinance before the vote to adopt was taken 

Todd Goodman of Woodlawn Drive spoke during the public hearing on the ordinance and urged oversight that would lead to better enforcement of the new tree management ordinance. His original point had been that the old ordinance had not been enforced. Thomas Ciccarone, township administrator, disagreed with Goodman's premise that laws on the books were not enforced.

John Ruschke, the township engineer, explains that the new tree management ordinance was designed with complaints from residents in mind and how the problems were addressed

Chatham Township resident Joe Basralian (see below) spoke in favor of the tree management ordinance and asked for administrative accounting to keep track of how many trees were being removed and planted in the town.

Thomas Ciccarone, the township administrator, gives his answer (see below) to the request for an administrative accounting of the number of trees being removed and replaced in town.