Letters to the Editor

Airport survey shows clear-cutting not needed

    Given the controversy over clear-cutting trees at Hilton Head Island Airport, one should look at the official tree survey and see how many trees in that area are, in fact, protruding into the safety slope.

According to the 2009 survey, out of 1,390 trees, only 197 or 14.2 percent are currently above the safety slope.

In the proposed clear-cut area (7.96 acres), only seven are protruding into the safety slope, and they appear to be in a small wetland buffer area.

Approximately 190 trees within all of the remaining buffer zones, including the major wetland and the Beach City Road right-of-way, will require trimming or removal, not clear-cutting.

Forty-three trees are not on the airport property, but in the Beach City Road right of way, which will presumably require state Department of Transportation approval to be trimmed or removed, but not cut.

Why is there such a driving need to clear-cut almost eight acres when only seven trees are suspect? And they are in the protected wetlands area.

Perhaps that concern is the reason that the St. James Baptist Church has taken legal action.

Additionally, the Palmetto Hall and Port Royal property owners association boards have recommended a compromise approach to the Beaufort County and Hilton Head Island councils that includes trimming rather than clear-cutting.

Isn't it time for the county and town to seek a trimming-only solution that all can agree to?

Bob Richardson

Hilton Head Island

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