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Amid Residents' Concerns, New Tree Rules Adopted By Cherry Hill

Patch logo Patch 6/16/2022 Janel Miller
Other residents expressed concerns about the level of fines and enforcement associated with the new ordinance. © Shutterstock Other residents expressed concerns about the level of fines and enforcement associated with the new ordinance.

CHERRY HILL, NJ — Cherry Hill Township Council unanimously approved a new tree ordinance at its meeting Wednesday night.

The new ordinance will help preserve the township's beauty and open space, some residents and council members have said. However, another group of residents have expressed concerns about the ordinance, claiming it puts the responsibility of tree preservation on residents, charges fines that are too low and fails to adequately enforcement of the new ordinance.

Also, the new ordinance "takes into account our residents' concerns and provided flexibility for them," Council Member Michele Golkow said at Cherry Hill Township's June 15 council meeting.

Not all residents lauded the new ordinance.

Cherry Hill resident Greg Bruno, one such resident, expressed concerns about the fines associated with the new ordinance at the June 15 council meeting.

"I propose that the offending contractors who participate in unauthorized removal also be penalized but with greater fines than the homeowners and on a rising scale for repeat offenders," he said.

The township is limited by statute on how much of a fine it can levy in these instances; thus, the fines cannot be increased, responded Cherry Hill's Director of Community Development Cosmas Diamanti.

Another Cherry Hill resident, Martha Wright, said corporations may not follow the ordinance without being penalized.

"I see a language in the ordinance that encourages tree trimming plans [from corporations] to be submitted to the township," she said. "I would like to see that [language] be stronger and I realize that's not going to happen."

Corporations tend to work with municipalities on their ordinances, responded Diamanti.

There are also plans to educate some of the larger corporations the township conducts business with regarding the new ordinance, according to the township.

Bruno also questioned how seriously the new ordinance will be enforced.

"One just needs to drive around the west side of town to see incorrect and unapproved lighting and signage, building use violations, abandoned cars, neglected properties and illegal storage, all of which have the effect of reducing our property values," he said. "Unless and until we have

more inspector feet on the street. The ordinance will just be another well-intended ordinance which lacks actionable remedies."

Property maintenance issues, even before the tree ordinance became an item on the council's radar, are "of great concern to the township," responded Council President David Fleischer. "We'll be seeing what we can do [about that] in this year's budget."

The new ordinance will take effect in about 20 days, according to Fleischer.

Got a news tip? Story idea? Send me an email with the details at janel.miller@patch.com.

The article Amid Residents' Concerns, New Tree Rules Adopted By Cherry Hill appeared first on Cherry Hill Patch.

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