Trees in Charleston County need your help!
Charleston County Council has initiated amendments to the tree protection and preservation ordinance that would allow for protected trees to be cut down for county-led road projects without any consideration from the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). This could lead to the loss of hundreds of grand trees across all of Charleston County. We should be protecting our trees, not making it easier to cut more of them down.
WHAT TO DO
Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of these amendments on October 9th. They now go to County Council for final consideration. Please plan to attend the Public Hearing on November 14th and encourage members of County Council to DENY the proposed amendments regarding tree protections.
Charleston County Council Public Hearing
Tuesday, November 14th at 6:30PM
Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, Lonnie Hamilton, III Public Services Building
4045 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston
WHO TO CONTACT
Ahead of the meeting, please reach out to members of County Council or consider submitting a Letter to the Editor to local media
WHAT TO SAY
- I encourage members of Planning Commission to recommend DENIAL of the proposed amendments to the tree protection ordinance.
- A report from the Post & Courier in 2020 revealed that the Charleston area has lost more than 10,000 acres of tree coverage since 1992.
- Grand trees are fundamental to the culture and character of Charleston.
- Trees provide much-needed shade and wildlife habitat.
- Trees help offset carbon emissions, clean our air, and absorb stormwater. A mature tree can absorb up to 10,000 gallons of stormwater every year!
- County-led road projects should not be exempt from the county’s own tree protection ordinance.
- Requiring that tree removals for county-led road projects are reviewed by the BZA helps incentivize designing roads to minimize impacts to grand trees.
- Having an independent board evaluate proposals for protected tree removals is a productive method to help ensure we lose protected trees only when absolutely necessary.
Currently, all requests to remove protected trees must go before the Board of Zoning Appeals, who evaluate the requests based on specific criteria and determine whether to allow the removal of trees. Charleston County Council wants to eliminate the BZA consideration from this process for county-initiated road projects and make the decision themselves.
This is an egregious attempt to take authority away from the BZA and consolidate power in County Council. Democracy thrives on the voices of many people, not a chosen few. Having an independent board evaluate proposals for protected tree removals is a productive method to help ensure we lose protected trees only when absolutely necessary. We need to keep it that way.
A report from the Post & Courier in 2020 revealed that the Charleston area has lost more than 10,000 acres of tree coverage since 1992. This certainly has impacts on the character of our communities. Grand trees in particular are one of the defining features of the Lowcountry.
But the impacts go far beyond aesthetics.
Of course, trees provide much-needed shade and important habitat for wildlife. But they are also extremely effective at absorbing stormwater. A mature tree can absorb up to 10,000 gallons of stormwater every year!
As we strive to retain the essential character and quality of life here in our Lowcountry communities and seek to address growing concerns with flooding, we should be doing everything we can to protect more trees, not making it easier to cut them down to build more roads.
The trees can’t speak for themselves, so we must do it for them!