How important are trees to a city’s landscape? When you see the glorious oak trees in Carolina Heights in Wilmington, do you wonder how long it took them to grow? Do you worry about the safety of those old trees and heavy limbs falling on roadways? Do you think tree preservation gets in the way of development and economic growth in what is an urban area?
As Wilmington enjoys a development boom – with hundreds of new apartment units, single-family homes, and commercial properties going up – what’s happening to the area’s trees?
Some local activists in Wilmington and Southport are working to help municipalities do more to protect trees by advocating for rules that are clearer, more consistent, and more enforceable.
City officials admit that Wilmington’s current development ordinance is a bit long in the tooth -- last updated in the 1980s. And there is work underway to bring it up-to-date.
On this edition of CoastLine, we learn about the particular challenges builders and developers face when building within city limits. We also hear from advocates who are focused on the urgency of protecting trees in Wilmington and Southport.
Bill Jayne served on the Wilmington Tree Commission, a twelve-member body, nine of them appointed by members of City Council, for six years. He chaired the commission for two. He is now a member of a relatively new local nonprofit Alliance for Cape Fear Trees.
Scott Len chairs the Southport Forestry Committee and is a member of the North Carolina Urban Forest Council.
Brian Chambers, Associate Planner, City of Wilmington
Cameron Moore, Executive Officer, Wilmington Cape Fear Home Builders Association
Wilmington Tree Commission: