The Hammonton Gazette 05/15/24 Edition | Page 3

DiMeglio Septic , Inc .
HEC From Page 1 listed as allowed species to be planted to replace trees that were removed and that they were proposing to require only trees over 24 inches in diameter to need approval before removal . The current diameter is trees over 20 inches .
The commission also discussed application fees for tree removals because of the relevance to the tree protection ordinance .
Commission member Michael Hozik was adamant about removing fees for single-family properties .
“ I think having an application fee of $ 50 for a tree on a developed lot is unreasonable . When we did the original tree ordinance we deliberately had no fee ,” Hozik said .
Hozik made it clear that he believed if the prices were lower , people or entities would be incentivized to apply rather than disregard the ordinance . Hozik also recommended lowering fees on street trees as well .
Although they did discuss the fees at length , that doesn ’ t mean that any changes to the price of fees of tree removals will be changing anytime soon .
Commission alternate Ryan Niedoba voiced his concern about being able to have the commission ’ s goals achieved with the tree protection ordinance . Niedoba suggested that the council should seek to solely focus on pointing out alterations they think should be made to the draft that the commission received from the town solicitor rather than trying to get the draft that the Environmental Commission has been working on adopted .
Bachalis seemed to disagree . Bachalis said he believes that the draft the commission has been working on is very thorough . He wants the ordinance to
Wednesday , May 15 , 2024 • The Hammonton Gazette • Page 3

Environmental Commission discusses tree fees

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“ I expressed to Mayor [ Stephen ] DiDonato that we want to have a final product that stands in good stead for the next 10 years ,” Bachalis said .
Along with the tree protection ordinance draft the commission also spoke about the Green Building Environmental Sustainability Master Plan , which is another draft that the commission has been working on completing . Bachalis said the commission has been working on this draft for years , with the pandemic being a major factor in the delay of completion .
The Community Forest Management Plan has to be revised and updated as well . Bachalis said this draft will be worked on after the commission deals with the tree protection ordinance .
During the committee reports , commission member Amy Menzel gave an update on the Green Committee . She informed the commission that all spaces at the community garden have been rented out for the season .
She stated as well that some garden space will be used to grow food for the community food bank . Menzel made it clear that signage will be posted at the garden this year to try and minimize theft in the garden . Last year thievery was becoming an issue for the garden .
Bachalis mentioned that the second annual Arbor Day poster competition is underway . Bachalis said that he and Menzel will be returning as judges of the posters . On May 29 , they will look over the posters and have an award ceremony at the Hammonton branch of the County Library . Bachalis said he is looking forward to really good work .
Seven tree removal applications were approved at the May meeting . Approved removals were located on Prince Street , 11th Street , Peach Street , Woodlawn Avenue , North First Road , Forest Drive and Kay Drive .
The next Environmental Commission meeting will be held at 7 p . m . on June 12 at town hall . As always , these meetings are open to the public .
This article was produced in collaboration with New Jersey Civic Information Consortium and Rowan University .

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