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Yes, a permission letter is required if you are trying to remove a curbside tree. Please contact HAMStat at 609-586-0311 to submit a service request for the permission letter.
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Hamilton does not have an ordinance requiring residents to cut back trees/shrubs that overhang onto the neighbor's property. We do however advise residents whose property is invaded by these trees/shrubs to cut back all extending vegetation from ground level straight up vertically to any height of the problem overhanging their property.
However, there is an ordinance, 362-1 Responsibilities of the owner and tenant; invasive plants; bamboo.
It shall be the duty of any owner and tenant or person in possession of any lands in the Township:
To keep such lands free of brush, weeds, dead and dying trees, stumps, roots, obnoxious growths, invasive plants, filth, garbage, trash and debris where such items are inimical to the preservation of public health, safety or general welfare of the Township or which may constitute a fire hazard.
In accordance with township ordinance, all curbside trees (tree located between the curb and sidewalk) are the homeowner's responsibility to maintain. However, if the curbside tree is dead, dying or causing sewer related problems, as a courtesy, Hamilton Township will remove the tree. The Department of Public Works will make an inspection of the curbside tree and if the tree calls for township service, the tree will be placed on a list and will be scheduled for removal according to the date of listing.
If the resident cannot wait, they have the township's approval to remove the tree themselves or have it professionally done at their own expense. The township assumes no responsibility for the location of any utilities or damage from any accident caused by the removal of the tree. It is recommended that the resident check with the utility companies for removal involving any wires or in-ground services.
Should the resident decide to remove the tree themselves or have a contractor remove it, notify Public Works so that their name can be removed from the list. If the tree is creating a hazard over the roadway, the township will trim the tree to eliminate the hazard. If the tree is interfering with the electrical lines, Public Works will make an inspection to determine if PSE&G needs to be involved. If the curbside tree is down and lying in the road, the township will remove the tree.
If the tree is located from the sidewalk back, it is the homeowner's responsibility to maintain and/or remove the tree. If the tree has caused damage to a home or any other property, the homeowner should contact their property insurance provider.
If a tree is growing into the wires, the property owner should contact a licensed private tree maintenance contractor to provide any needed tree trimming service, as by ordinance, maintenance and trimming of curbside trees is the responsibility of the property owner. As a preventative maintenance measure, PSE&G, in accordance with a self-mandated schedule, trims any tree near or along the roadside, which interferes with the high voltage power line only. The high voltage power line is defined as the wire which is the topmost line/wire that runs from telephone pole to telephone pole along the immediate road/curbside. There are normally porcelain insulators at each pole connected to this wire and also transformers at some pole locations below the power line, to reduce the voltage/power. Any electric line which connects from a pole to a common home or building is not considered high voltage (for tree trimming standards), and therefore PSE&G does not provide trimming services around these electric service lines. A licensed private tree maintenance contractor must be contacted to handle this work.
If a limb or portion of a curbside tree is broken and dangling on the utility wire, causing a roadside hazard, the tree supervisor of the Public Works Department will evaluate the situation and address appropriately. All trees, other than curbside trees, on private property are the responsibility of the property owner to contact PSE&G (which may or may not assist), or a licensed private tree maintenance contractor to remove any limbs that are broken or dangling on the wire(s).
For Your Information: If a line is down, then we should call PSE&G first to determine the situation. The lines coming into the home are not considered high voltage with relation to tree trimming standards. Any electric line rated below 750 volts, (which nearly all homes utilize), is considered lower voltage and PSE&G will not address any tree trimming around this wire.
Note: Possible exception is made to remove a broken branch or portion of tree dangling on a lower voltage wire, as an emergency service, but no other trimming service is provided. A licensed private contractor is expected and is legally permitted to handle any tree trimming work around these lower voltage electric and cable TV lines.
The Hamilton Township Public Works department is responsible for the removal and maintenance of all trees located on township property.