CHATHAM, NJ - The new tree management ordinance adopted last April by the Chatham Township Committee works, according to Robert Hoffmann, the township administrator.

Hoffmann reported at the regular meeting of the committee on Thursday night that a $10,000 fine and the planting of new trees had been ordered in municipal court to Chatham Township homeowners who had been hit with 29 violations for clearing too many trees from their property.

"Our property maintenance ordinances do work," Hoffmann said. "We had a resident who had taken down more trees than they had a permit to take down. The judge on Tuesday night at municipal court agreed to impose a fine of $10,000 on that property owner for that and to approve the replanting of four-inch caliber mature trees at a cost of $1,000 per tree. 

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"It took five months from the beginning to end, but justice was served in this particular matter and it also sends a message that our enforcement is fair, our enforcement is firm and our enforcement has teeth."

Hoffmann also credited John Ruschke, township engineer, for helping with the prosecution of the case.

Last May, the residents of Mountainview Road were charged with 29 violations for clearing more trees than allowed from their property.

Robert Hoffmann reports on the $10,000 fine handed down in municipal court