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Revisions to the City's Tree Ordinance

posted Apr 4, 2009, 1:15 PM by Marie Sligh   [ updated Apr 4, 2009, 1:19 PM ]
A message from the City Planning Department:

The North Charleston City Council has just adopted a major revision to the City’s Tree Protection Ordinance (to see the ordinance, click here). This Ordinance was updated in connection with the update of our Comprehensive Plan and also responded to concerns from our City Council. The major changes are outlined below.

  1. Expands protection from 10” dbh to 8” dbh.
  2. Lowers the threshold for Grand trees from 25” dbh to 24” dbh.
  3. Introduces the terms Protected Trees (any tree 8” dbh or greater), Significant Trees (8” dbh to 23” dbh) and Grand Trees (24” dbh and greater).
  4. Specifies requirements for tree replacement plans and call out various forms of possible replacement such a s new planting, existing on-site mitigation trees, relocated trees, and tree bank contributions.
  5. Specifies requirements for tree protection plan detail as an element of the site plan submittal.
  6. Addresses the cutting and replacement of Significant Trees and adds trees falling in the footprint of drainage ponds to list of types of cutting that do not require replacement for Significant Trees.
  7. Addresses the cutting and replacement of Grand Trees, excludes Pine from definition of Grand Trees.
  8. Addresses the need for tree protection, specifies minimum standards, and establishes administrative authority to allow drip-line encroachment equivalent to one quarter the distance from the trunk to the drip-line contingent upon confirmation from an Arborist that the proposed encroachment would not adversely impact the tree.
  9. Establishes an administrative bonding procedure that would allow up to $50,000 in landscaping improvements to be bonded. The funds or bond instruments would be handled by the Finance Director.
  10. Provides an exemption for cutting associated with Utility Company easement maintenance.
  11. Addresses cutting without a permit with inch for inch replacement, a potential fine per tree cut and/or up to 30 days in jail.

I would like to invite you to review this Ordinance at your leisure and keep it in mind whenever doing work in the City of North Charleston. Please feel free to contact me should you have any comments or concerns regarding this Ordinance.

William B. Gore
Zoning Administrator