What are the Exemptions to the Tree Protection Regulation in Charleston, SC?

Trees and other plants are wonderful assets to every community. They have aesthetic value and are beneficial to our overall environment. For these reasons and more, trees in Charleston, SC are protected under federal rules and regulations. For example, most tree projects that require a tree to be cut, removed, injured or destroyed can only proceed with the proper permit. However, listed below are a few exceptions where a permit is not necessary.

Here at the Premiere Tree Services of Charleston, we make it a point to keep our customers informed. So aside from providing exceptional shrub removal, kudzu removal and tree spraying services, we also publish updates on current tree regulations and tree permits.

Contact the Premiere Tree Services of Charleston for all your tree service needs.

Intent

This Ordinance is intended to protect trees by regulating the cutting down, damaging, planting and replacement of trees. This Ordinance is not intended to prohibit agriculture, silviculture, horticulture or nursery operations within the city.

Exemptions

The regulations set forth herein shall apply to all real property within the city limits of Charleston, subject to the following exemptions:

  1. Residential Exemption. Lots equal to or less than one (1) acre that are zoned RR-1, SR-1, SR-2, SR-3, SR-4, SR-5, SR-6 (Single-Family Residential), SR-7, SR-8 (Single-Family Residential) or STR (Single and Two Family Residential) or used exclusively for single-family detached or duplex dwellings, shall be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance, except those relating to grand trees, provided, however, in the initial development of a lot greater than one (1) acre, subdivided or developed after the effective date of this Ordinance for use as RR-1, SR-1, SR-2, SR-3, SR-4, SR-5, SR-6 (Single-Family Residential), SR-7, SR-8 (Single-Family Residential) or STR (Single and Two Family Residential) such development shall be subject to the provisions of this Ordinance. Individual lots equal to or less than one (1) acre sold thereafter shall be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance, except those relating to grand trees. For lots zoned RR-1, SR-1, SR-2, SR-3, SR-4, SR-5, SR-6 (Single-Family Residential), SR-7, SR-8 (Single-Family Residential) or STR (Single and Two Family Residential) if a change of zoning has been requested to a zoning classification other than RR-1, SR-1, SR-2, SR-3, SR-4, SR-5, SR-6 (Single-Family Residential), SR-7, SR-8 (Single-Family Residential) or STR (Single and Two Family Residential) said lot cannot be cleared prior to the decision on the rezoning by the Planning Commission.
  2. Commercial Timber Operations. Commercial timber operations shall be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance, except that a fifty foot (50′) buffer of existing trees shall be maintained adjacent to all public rights-of-way.
  3. Wetlands Mitigation. The mitigation of wetlands pursuant to a development order or approved plan from, and the requirements of, the South Carolina DHEC-OCRM or the Army Corps of Engineers shall be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance.
  4. Commercial Tree Operation Exemption. Trees grown specifically for sale by commercial nurseries are exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance.
  5. Agricultural Exemption. Any bona fide agricultural use shall be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance.
  6. Airports. Removal of trees for the purposes of maintaining safe clearance for aircraft as required by federal law or the establishment of facilities exclusively dedicated to aviation operations by the Charleston County Aviation Authority will be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance.
  7. Utility Companies, Electric Suppliers and Governmental Agencies. Utility companies, electric suppliers and governmental agencies constructing or maintaining easements for water, sewer, electricity, gas, drainage, telephone or television transmission or rights-of-way shall be exempt from the provisions of this Ordinance if the applicable company, supplier or agency has executed an Agreement with the City which, at a minimum: 1) recognizes the need to minimize the cutting 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 feasible, design guidelines for construction and maintenance which identifies the saving of grand trees as a factor to be considered in the design process; 3) allows for a consultation process with the City 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.
  8. Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent the ordinary cutting, trimming and maintenance of a tree; nor shall anything in this article be construed to prevent the cutting or removal of any tree which the authorized municipal officers shall certify as required for public safety.

The information contained in this website has been provided for informational purposes only. It is general in nature, and should not be mistaken for specific legal advice. All information on this website is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or correctness, and without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied.

Call on the Premiere Tree Services of Charleston for a helping hand on your next tree project! You’re just a call or click away from getting started! Please contact the Premiere Tree Services of Charleston by phone at (843) 480-0333, or by email charleston@premieretreeservices.com, or visit us at 520 Folly Rd. Ste. P #113 Charleston, SC 29412.

More information on Charleston, SC Tree Regulations

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