Letter to the Editor

The Island News encourages all our readers to share their thoughts, reactions, and concerns with us about what we publish or the larger world around us and we will share the appropriate ones with you.        

– Molly Ingram, Editor 

I do not understand!

I thought Beaufort County had a tree ordinance!

I thought the public had demonstrated that they put a higher value on a tree than the value recovered by cutting the tree down!

I thought we had a branch of County government that was charged with protecting our trees and the environment we all came to Beaufort to live within and enjoy!

I would like to understand why we now have not one but two 10 acre tracts on North Lady’s Island that have been clear cut in the last month. Not only were they cut, but no effort was made to neither clean up the mess nor replant any trees. Just two large ugly scars in the middle of North Lady’s Island – an area of Beaufort County where one expects to see environmentally friendly residential communities. This raping of the land is not compatible with the adjacent property use nor is it compatible with what we in Beaufort County have been lead to believe would be allowed to occur. These fly-by-night logging companies come into our community and exploit the land and then leave before they can be held responsible for their actions.

I do not understand why we make it impossible for a residential developer to randomly remove trees from a property that is destined to be converted into a residential community and then allow a logger to have free reign? The residential developer is required to complete a detailed tree survey and is forbidden from removing trees above a certain size without special permission and to clean up and replant following a clearing operation with specific attention directed towards rain water runoff. Even private land owners are required to use judicious restraint when they want to open up their lot. I do not understand that if we cloak the activity behind an agricultural forest harvest, anything goes and there are no guiding restrictions on what can be done. Should we not have some consistency in setting the priorities and conditions when we consider cutting our forest and green spaces?

I do not understand why I have seen a shift in the county efforts to protect our green spaces. A recent example of this can be found at the site where the new Publix supermarket has been built. Ninety nine percent of the tree cover was removed from this once densely forested area including a large mature magnolia so as to have an open parking lot. This was not in the interest of those who live here in Beaufort County but rather instead in the interest of Publix and their builder. What a difference time has made in the efforts Beaufort County administrators make today compared to when the first Publix market was required to save the large oaks at their previous location. I fear that the proposed new Walmart on Lady’s Island will look just like the huge treeless parking lot in front of the Walmart across town. This should not be called progress. This should be called caving to the pressures brought by the developers so as to make their site preparation easier and cheaper. It is certainly not in the interest of the public.

I just do not understand where the priorities of our County government officials lie when it comes to what Beaufort County will look like in the future.

Gordon Fritz

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