Cherry Hill Headlines

Posted on: July 16, 2012

Weekly Column: Answering Property Maintenance Questions

A well maintained community helps attract business investment and improves the overall reputation of our neighborhoods. For many, homeownership is a life goal, and keeping and maintaining that home is something homeowners take pride in. We also know that well-maintained neighborhoods are safer and homes in safe communities maintain or increase in value over time.

At our most recent meeting of the Citizens Cabinet, we had an in-depth discussion about the importance of property maintenance regarding our homes and neighborhoods. Residents talked about the need to preserve the beauty of our neighborhoods by making sure homeowners continue to maintain their property.

The Township’s Department of Public Works (DPW) spends considerable time on a daily basis working to guarantee our parks and open space are kept in top condition, and our streets are kept clean. Our property maintenance inspector is responsible for enforcing regulations set forth in Cherry Hill’s Property Maintenance Code, which lays out guidelines for ensuring the welfare of our community. Each year during the spring and summer months, we see a spike in contacts to the Mayor’s office and our Property Maintenance Hotline, with our inspector following up on each complaint to ensure properties are brought back into compliance.

I wanted to take the opportunity to address some of the more frequent questions we receive at Town Hall. Residents frequently ask about lawn maintenance. Lawns should be regularly cut below ten inches high and kept free of weeds. Landscaping such as shrubs and bushes should also be kept neatly trimmed throughout the year. If residents or businesses choose to hire private landscapers to complete their regular yard maintenance, they should remember that the landscaper must independently dispose of any waste or debris they collect. Residents and businesses wishing to dispose of yard waste collected themselves should follow the Township’s trash collection guidelines found on the website at http://www.cherryhill-nj.com/index.aspx?NID=179.

It is also important to remember that grass clippings, leaves and other yard debris placed in plastic bags will not be collected. This yard waste can be placed in bio-degradable bags or containers for removal. In addition to the environmental benefits, the Township has been able to save thirty-three percent on the total cost of disposal by eliminating the use of plastic bags, which translates into a financial savings of between $80,000 and $100,000 per year.

Once residents have finished maintenance on their property, they should keep any trash, recycling and yard waste in containers located in the rear or side yard of the property until the evening before their scheduled collection day. In order to ensure proper collection, they should be put curbside no later than 7 a.m. the morning of their regular collection and then empty containers should be removed from the curbside within twelve hours of the collection.

We often also receive questions about what is required and allowed regarding trees. Trees that are located on a property – including those along the curb strip – are the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain. It is important for residents to prune and trim trees on their property so they do not present a potential hazard to neighboring properties or people. Dead and dying trees and limbs should be removed as quickly as possible to avoid posing a risk to others. Before removing any tree, Cherry Hill Township requires a permit to be obtained from DPW. There is no fee for tree permits and you can contact DPW for more information at (856) 424-4422. The Township’s Planning Board must give approval for the removal of three or more live trees. For more information on that process, residents and businesses can call the Department of Community Development at (856) 488-7870.

During this time of year we receive many questions regarding swimming pools. All above-ground and on-ground pools over the height of two feet are considered permanent pools by New Jersey Construction Code. Any outdoor pool, including above-ground, on-ground and in-ground pools must be designed to provide protection against potential drowning and near-drowning by restricting access to the pools, spa or hot tub. A construction and zoning permit is required to install the pool, which includes a building permit and an electrical permit. If the above-ground pool wall is four feet high or greater, the pool wall’s height is considered to be a barrier, but pool code type fence enclosure is still required around the area where the ladder enters/exits the pool and must include a self-closing and self-latching gate.

If you have any additional questions about the Township’s maintenance regulations or would like to report a concern, please contact our Property Maintenance Department at (856) 432-8780 or through the “Report a Concern” feature of the website at http://www.cherryhill-nj.com/forms.aspx?FID=86.

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