The tree ordinace information was provided to me. I have not had a chance to review the document for accuracy, so please use it just for rough information at this time.
AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE DORCHESTER COUNTY ZONING AND DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS
ORDINANCE 90-19, to provide the tools and enforcement guidance for TREE PROTECTION ORDINANCE
WHEREAS, it is the desire of COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY,
to promote the public
health, safety, economy, good order, appearance, convenience, morals, and general welfare.
This will require the harmonious, orderly, and progressive development of land within the
unincorporated areas of Dorchester County.
AND WHEREAS, it is the intent of COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, to
development of economically sound and stable projects, to assure the timely provision of infrastructure
and services to new land developments, to provide adequate provisions of safe and efficient routes for
pedestrians and vehicles in and through new developments, to provide for public open spaces and public
building sites through dedication or reservation of land for recreation, education, transportation, and
other public purposes, and the wise and timely development of new areas, and the redevelopment of
previously developed areas in harmony with the adopted comprehensive plan.
AND WHEREAS, it is the intent of SC Code of Law Title 6, Section 6-29-340,
(B) 2. (d) that each Planning Board
prepare and recommend for adoption to the appropriate governing authority, a Landscape Ordinance as a means for
implementing plans and programs in its area.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY,
that the following amendment to the referenced Ordinance of Dorchester County be adopted.
Add the following text to the County Zoning and Development Standards Ordinance
90-19, ARTICLE VIII,
ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE STANDARDS, as a new Section 8.4.
Purpose: Tree protection standards are hereby established to emphasize the
importance of trees in noise, heat
and glare reduction, prevention of soil erosion, the lessening of air pollution, and the beautification and enhancement
of property in Dorchester County. The intent of this Ordinance is to encourage the protection and replanting of trees
consistent with the economic and healthful enjoyment of private property. This Ordinance is not intended to prohibit
agriculture, silviculture, horticulture or nursery operations within the County.
The regulations set forth herein shall apply to all real property in the
unincorporated areas of Dorchester
County, subject to the following exceptions:
A. Commercial Timber Operations: Commercial Timber Operations conducted pursuant to normal
silvicultural activities with due consideration to prevent soil erosion and protect water quality.
B. Commercial Tree Farms and Nurseries: Trees grown specifically for sale by commercial nurseries
are exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance.
C. Agricultural: Removal of trees for the purpose of establishing agricultural use for any bona fide
agricultural operation shall be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance.
D. Wetlands Mitigation: The mitigation of wetlands pursuant to a development
order or approved plan from,
and the requirements of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control - Ocean
and Coastal Resources Management (DHEC-OCRM) or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shall be exempt
from the provisions of this Ordinance.
E: Airports: Removal of trees for the purpose of maintaining, safe clearances
for aircraft as required by
federal, state and local rules, or the establishment of facilities exclusively dedicated to aviation operations
by the Dorchester County Aeronautics Board, will be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance.
F. Utility Companies. Electric Suppliers. and the Dorchester County Public
Works Department: Utility
Companies, Electrical Suppliers, and- governmental agencies constructing or maintaining easements for
water, sewer, electricity, gas, drainage, telephone, or television transmission, or the clearing of rights-of-way
shall be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance, if the applicable company, suppliers or agency has
executed an agreement with the Dorchester County Zoning Department which, at a minimum:
1) Recognizes the need to minimize the cutting and/or trimming of Grand Trees which do not frustrate or
substantially interfere with the intended purpose of construction or maintenance.
2) Establishes, to the extent possible, design guidelines for construction
and maintenance which identifies the
savings of Grand Trees as a factor to be considered in the design process, and
3) Allows for the consultation process with the County prior to the commencement of major construction
or maintenance or the removal of Grand Trees, and
4) Provides that a breach of such Agreement constitutes a violation of this
Ordinance and a loss of
exemption from the requirements of this Ordinance.
G. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to prevent the ordinary cutting,
trimming and maintenance
of a tree nor shall anything in this Section be construed to prevent the cutting or removal of any tree,
which the authorized County offices shall certify as required for public safety.
A. Protection of Grand Trees: The removal, relocation, destruction or abuse
in any manner of any Grand
Tree (24" or greater, DBH [diameter, breast high], excluding pine trees) is prohibited. Clearing a property for
future development using one of the exemptions stated above is authorized, however, a (1) year period is
required between the time of tree harvest and development of the property. A development of property shall
follow the established procedures established in the County Subdivision Ordinance 79-26: i.e. A Preliminary
Plat must first be approved by the Planning Board before any land-clearing operation can commence. The
design of new subdivisions shall take into consideration the location of all Grand Trees. No lot will be authorized
where the placement of a Grand Tree is at, or near the center of a lot, or in a location fiat
will require the removal of the Grand Tree for construction of a dwelling unit.
B. This ordinance shall not restrict the ability of any public utility, any
electric provider or government agency
to maintain a safe clearance around utility poles.
C. Any applicant aggrieved by a decision of the Zoning Administrator may
request an appeal be heard by the
Zoning Board of Appeals as provided under Article XIV, of the County Zoning and Development Standards
Ordinance 90-19. A letter requesting an Appeal and the details of the case may be addressed to the Zoning
Administrator, along with a check for S100.00, (payable to Dorchester County), is needed to initiate the appeal
process. Should the applicant not receive satisfaction from the Zoning Board of Appeals, he may submit his
next appeal to the Circuit Court serving Dorchester County.
A. All persons desiring to remove any protected trees shall first apply for
a tree removal permit from the
County Zoning Administrator located in the Summerville County Services Building, located at 500 North
Main Street, Suite #3, Summerville, SC 29483. The phone # is (843) 832-0020.
Application may be made in person, or by mall.
B. All requests to remove a Grand Tree from a property shall be initiated
by the property owner or his agent,
A Tree Permit application must be filled out and presented to the Zoning Administrator or his designee.
A Tree Permit application shall be developed by the Zoning Administrator and require, as a minimum,
the following information:
1) Name and mailing address and phone number of the property owner and his designated agent.
2) a (I0) digit Tax Map Number (TIV!S#), assigned to that property
3) Identification of the property where the Grand trees are to be removed.
4) The name and address of the proposed contractor. Contractor must have a current business license
from Dorchester County.
5) A sketch of the lot (plat plan) showing the layout and the exact location of the Grand Trees to be removed.
C. The Grand Trees to be removed will be physically marked with brightly
colored Engineer Tape, or other
means devised by the owner, The property must first be inspected by the County Zoning Administrator, or his
designee, before approval can be granted. The tape on those trees approved for cutting will be left in place.
The engineer tape on those trees to be preserved (not approved for cutting) will be removed by the inspector.
Following inspection by the County inspector, the permit will be granted for full approval, limited approval,
D. Any application for a Building Permit, Site Plan Review, or Subdivision Preliminary Plat, where it is
proposed that Grand Trees be removed or relocated, shall include a plot plan (site plan) showing the
Provide a tree inventory of the exact location and size of all Grand Trees on the Plot Plan.
Designate those Grand Trees to be removed.
Designate those Grand Trees to be preserved.
Designate those areas proposed to be cleared.
Designate those areas reserved for proposed structures.
Designate those areas proposed for other improvements, easements, driveways, parking etc.
The property owner will provide a statement of how the Grand Trees designated for preservation will be
protected during development of the site.
It is the intent of this ordinance to require developers to design the tots
shown on a Preliminary Plat in a
manner that, Grand Trees will not be located at or near the center of any lot that may require its removal
prior to placement of a dwelling on that lot.
A. It is the desire of Dorchester County Council to preserve existing trees
to the greatest extent possible.
Permits for removal of Grand Trees may be approved and issued where one or more of the following
conditions are deemed to exist by the Zoning Administrator or his designee.
1) Diseased, Dead or Dying Trees: Any Grand Tree that is determined by the
Zoning Administrator, or his
designated representative, to be diseased or injured to the extent it is irreparably damaged, shall be approved
for removal. The burden of proof of the extent of the disease or injury shall rest with the applicant, who must
provide documentation from a SC Registered Forester, a SC Registered Landscape Architect or an
International Society of Arboricultural (ISA) Certified Arborist. A licensed tree service company is not
2) Unsafe Trees: Any Grand Tree may become a safety hazard to nearby structures,
utility lines or
pedestrian or vehicular traffic ways.
3) Grade Changes: There may be times when a property must be reshaped
to enhance drainage flow.
It is impractical to change the elevation of a Grand Tree root structure without major injury to the tree.
After all other conditions have been considered, it may be necessary to remove a Grand Tree
to affect reshaping of a lot.
4) Location of Structures: Only after all other configurations have been considered, a Grand Tree may be removed
to locate a new structure. The decision to remove a Grand Tree must be weighed only after consultation with the
Building Official and/or the Public Works Director to determine that this is the only practical configuration to
approve the development. The Zoning Administrator has the authority to require a developer to redesign
a project to save a Grand Tree.
5) Greater Public Need: It may .be determined that the only practical method
of completing a requirement
to fulfill a public need, is to remove a Grand Tree. An example of this would be the placement era new road or
drainage system that may require removal of certain Grand Trees.
6) Existing Improvements: Situations may occur to preserve existing structures
because of the destructive root
or limb forces created by nearby Grand Tree. Any Grand Tree that may encroach into a area within (-5) feet
of an existing improvement (structure, driveway, sidewalk, parking area, or fence) may need to be severely
pruned, or removed. The applicant must provide sufficient evidence of the damage being caused.
7) Density: A situation may occur that the existing lot is covered with Grand
Trees and it may be to everyone's
benefit to reduce the overall density to allow sunlight to penetrate the vegetation to promote new growth.
8) Legal Decision by higher Authority: There may be a situation when the Zoning Administrator must approve
the removal of a Grand Tree based solely on a Judge's legal decision, or a decision era Zoning Board of Appeals.
B. The Zoning Administrator may propose tree replacement as a condition of
approval. Such tree replacement shall
be agreed to prior to issuing a Tree Permit. As a general rule, where replacement trees are required in fulfillment of
the requirements of this section, they shall be no smaller than three quarter inch (3/4") DBH, although the Zoning
Administrator is empowered to require trees of larger DBH, or greater number of replacement trees as determined
appropriate for site specific conditions and the circumstances. Replacement trees, at a ratio of 1" of replacement for
each 1" of tree needing to be replaced may be required. Should the amount of new material exceed the site
requirements, the developer may be tasked to plant some of the new material at an off site public location.
The property owner is financially responsible to nurture any tree that is a designated requirement of the plan.
Failure to nurture these trees and replace any dying trees may be subject of a Summons to appear before the
C. The Dorchester County Zoning Board of Appeals is empowered to require
trees of larger DBH, or a greater
number of replacement trees, as determined appropriate for site specific conditions and the circumstances.
Permits. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to post the Tree
Permit on the property in a visible place
on the site throughout any tree removal activity.
A. The base, or the root system of most Grand Trees is very sensitive to
changes and must be protected. Protective
barricades shall be placed around all protected trees located in the development areas and designated vegetation
to be saved prior to the start of development activities and shall remain in place until development activities
are completed. The area with the protective barricade shall remain free of all building materials, new dirt,
or other construction debris, vehicles and/or other development activity. Barricades shall provide a diameter of
protection around the tree equal in feet to the DBH (given in inches) of the tree: e.g. A Grand Tree of 24"
diameter will require a circular barricade protection area located twenty four (24 ') foot radius from the tree trunk.
B. Changing grade or construction within any Grand Tree protected zones must
be approved by the Zoning
Administrator, or designee, prior to beginning construction. Plans must be submitted which illustrate in detail,
C. A minimum setback between impervious surfaces (asphalt parking, patio
or sidewalk.) and the bases of all
protected trees shall be twelve (12 ') feet plus one additional (1 ') foot of clearance for every three (3") inches will
DBH in excess of twenty four (24") inches. i.e. The Grand Tree DBH measures 36". Subtract 36" - 24" = 12". DBH
12" + 3: = 4. The minimum set back will be minimum 12 + 4 = 16.
A. Any person, firm, organization, society, association, corporation, or any agent or representative thereof who
commits, participates or assists in the removal, destruction, mutilation or poisoning of a Grand tree is in
violation of the County Zoning and Development Standards Ordinance 90- 19. Section 13.6.4 of that Ordinance
states: "Any person violating this ordinance shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction,
shall be punished by a fine not to exceed Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) or imprisonment for not more than
thirty days. Each day such violation shall continue shall be deemed a separate offense." An additional punishment
under this amendment provides for everything in Section 13.6.4 and in addition, each Grand Tree destroyed
without the appropriate Tree Permit shall be judged a separate offense.
B. Should violations be reported to the County, the Zoning Administrator, or his designee, will fully investigate
the matter. Should the violation be significant and legitimate, the Zoning Administrator may take one or more
of the following corrective actions:
As a minimum, immediate revocation of the tree permit;
Write a Cease and Desist Letter and require the owner or developer to replace the damaged, removed or dying
trees; at a rate of 1" of tree replacement for every 1" of tree illegally removed.
Recommend the Building Official take one of three steps:
1) issue a Stop Work on the development project or,
2) withhold issuing the Certificate of Occupancy or,
3) deny any request for electricity to the property until such time the tree problem has been satisfactorily remedied.
4) Cause a Summons be written to the or, nor and developer to appear before the Magistrate Judge
to be tried for a misdemeanor.
In the event that a tree poses a serious and imminent threat to public safety
due to death, disease or damage
resulting from emergencies, including but not limited to, fires, flooding, storms, natural disasters, or negligence,
the Zoning Administrator, or his designee, may waive the requirements of this chapter. Written "Findings of Fact"
must later be submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals (to be included in their Minutes for the record),
outlining the threat to public safety which initiated the removal of a Gland Tree. The Zoning Administrator,
or his designee, may require the replacement of Grand Tree where it is determined that death or disease
resulted from negligence.
See Section 16.2, Severability, of the primary document, the Dorchester County
Zoning and Development
Standards Ordinance 90-19.
The provisions of this amendment shall become effective upon third reading.
DORCHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL
Richard Rosebrock, Chairman
Myrtle Killion, Clerk to Council
First Reading: 06-24-97
Public Hearing: 07-14-97
Second Reading: 01-12-98
Third Reading: 03-16-98