In a bid to balance individual property rights and communal ecological health, the Old Tappan Borough Council delved into the details of a new tree ordinance in their recent meeting on September 18, 2023. The proposed legislation, which advocates for the preservation of trees in specific buffer zones around properties, garnered support, although it also sparked concerns over potential misuse and its necessity given past developmental trends in the borough.
The ordinance, drafted with insights from the environmental commission and attorney Brian Giblin, seeks to strike a balance by allowing the removal of regulated trees, delineated based on specific physical parameters, within set limits sans fees, while emphasizing the sustenance of a 10-foot tree buffer on either side and at the rear of lots. The council members commended the simplified and clear language, pared down from a hefty 12-page draft to a practical five, fostering easier resident compliance. With its first reading concluded, the council members anticipate introducing the ordinance officially in the meeting scheduled for October 2, urging detailed reviews in preparation.
Councilman Cort Gwon highlighted the introduction of new fees facilitating the pickleball program through the adoption of ordinance 1239-23. Despite weather-related delays hampering the pickleball court’s readiness, the council expressed unified anticipation for the initiative, emphasizing its near-future launch to meet the community’s burgeoning interest.
At the nexus of recreation and heritage was the affirmation of the rescheduled Town day event, poised to be held at Stone Point, incorporating integral presentations by the historical committee. The council mirrored the community’s enthusiasm.
The council then addressed infrastructure concerns, notably concerns about a library leak possibly rooted in past structural damage. The issue has propelled the council to commission a structural engineer for a detailed investigation. The education sector also witnessed deliberations on necessary renovations encompassing weight room upgrades and roof repairs to facilitate better learning environments.
The council envisaged a strategy to spotlight the benefits due to the nearly one hundred veterans in the town, leveraging digital platforms to disseminate this vital information.
The council discussed modifications to the “Low SAP” award system to align better with department needs and contemplated educational measures to foster golf course etiquette. Even as they praised the borough’s robust financial health, a notable feature of the audit report discussion, the council engaged actively with future-ready measures including aligning with New Jersey DEP’s new regulations through the preliminary introduction of ordinance 1241-23.