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Zimmer Development Company fined for removing trees from development site without a permit

Three significant trees were removed without permits from a new development site behind Mayfaire in Wilmington. In addition to paying fines, Zimmer will have to plant new trees.

A "significant tree" is determined by type, height, and diameter, and requires a different permit process than a general tree removal permit. These three trees were deemed significant by the City of Wilmington.

An 18-inch-diameter maple, a 24-inch-diameter oak, and a 12-inch-diameter oak were all designated to be retained on the property as it was being redeveloped, however that didn't happen.

Wilmington's code of ordinances states that:

  • The removal of any tree four inches in diameter [measured at] breast height or greater shall require a tree removal permit.
  • A permit is required for any tree removed on public property and in accordance with the city of Wilmington Code of Ordinance.

When submitting plans for development, Zimmer was informed which trees were to be retained and given permits for the removal of significant trees that would be in the way of required utilities. The three trees in question were not a part of that permit but were removed anyway.

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Zimmer Development Company paid a civil penalty of $150.00 per inch, which totaled $8,100 dollars for the removal of the trees. The company is also required to mitigate the downed trees by planting 26 trees on the property by July 31. Those trees do not need to be the same species that were cut down — although the city does have a rating system for trees that determines what species may be used for mitigation.

Megan McDeavitt is a filmmaker from Boone, NC. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Filmmaking at UNCW, and her AAS in Marine Technology at CFCC. She's worked in local journalism throughout North Carolina before returning to school, where she focuses on strengthening her creative storytelling and looking at environmental issues within the community.