OAK ISLAND –– The elected council overseeing a town named after one of the oldest hardwoods on earth is opposing a proposed state law that would curtail their ability to regulate the trees’ removal.
Tuesday, Oak Island Town Council will consider a resolution opposing House Bill 496. The bill would strip power from counties and municipalities, requiring the local governments to obtain express approval from the General Assembly before regulating tree removal within their bounds.
Under the bill, local governments could not adopt or enforce any ordinances regulating tree removal from private property without express statutory or local authority.
It passed the House early last month mostly down party lines, with local Representatives Charlie Miller, R-Brunswick, New Hanover; Frank Iler, R-Brunswick; and Ted Davis, R-New Hanover, voting in favor of the bill.
All sitting elected officials in Oak Island are registered Republicans with the exception of councilman John Bach, who is unaffiliated.
The town’s resolution states trees are an essential and integral part of the coastal environment. “The Oak Island Town Council believes that trees in our Town increase property values, help protect our island environment, provide sanctuary for local wildlife, and beautify our community,” the resolution states.
The bill was moved to the Senate Committee On Rules and Operations on May 11 and has not moved since.
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