MADISON, NJ -  The Borough of Madison has passed an ordinance protecting trees. The ordinance, called the Shade Tree Protection Ordinance, aims to protect and replenish Madison's tree canopy, to stop clear cutting and to protect trees during construction.

Homeowners can remove up to two trees (within a 24 month period) with a diameter less that 16" without a permit. If more than two trees need to be removed in that same period, a permit is required.

Homeowners who have a tree that is damaged or diseased may schedule a free consultation with the Shade Tree Arborist. If the Arborist decides the tree should come down, there is no need for a permit, pay a fee or plant a replacement, according to the ordinance.

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If a homeowner wants to cut down a large healthy tree, a replacement must be planted, according to the ordinance. If a new tree can not accommodate a replacement, the homeowner can pay $350 into the Shade Tree Fund, according to the ordinance. According to officials, the cost "reflects the cost of purchasing a tree and having it planted by a private company. The DPW will not be planting trees purchased from the Shade Tree Fund.

The Shade Tree Fund will cover the cost of purchasing and planting a replacement tree elsewhere on Borough property close to the location of the tree that was cut down.

The permit fee is $25 per tree. The fee will help pay for a part-time licensed Arborist to manage the Shade Tree Ordinance and consult with homeowners.

"We are beyond delighted and grateful to the council for passing the tree-protection ordinance tonight! This is a win for everyone!" wrote members of the Friends of Madison Shade Trees, Inc. on Facebook after the ordinance passed.


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