Bill Summary for H 1158 (2021-2022)

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Summary date: 

May 31 2022

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 1158 (Local) Filed Friday, May 27, 2022
Intro. by Greene.

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Bill summary

Adds new Article XI to the Charter of the Town of Beech Mountain (Town), SL 1981-246, consisting of new Part 1, Tree Ordinances, providing as follows. Allows the Town to adopt tree ordinances for the six specified purposes, including preserving the Town's natural beauty, developing a viable tree management program, and promoting cooperation between the public and private sectors to effectively manage urban forests. Defines public property as: (1) any property the Town owns or eases, or any property over which the Town has an easement and (2) any property over which the Town has been authorized to enforce the provisions of this Part pursuant to an agreement between the property owner or property easement holder. Defines private property as all property except public property. Also defines injuring a tree, person, temporary service route, and tree.

Allows the town to establish a five-member Tree Board to assist the Town Manager in: (1) the creation, updating, monitoring, and management of the Town's tree ordinances and regulations; (2) preparation of an annual tree replacement, planting, and maintenance program; and (3) discussion and resolution of all other issues related to the management and care of the Town's forest. Sets out further provisions governing the Board member's appointment, compensation, and terms. Sets out requirements for meetings of the Board, including allowing limited remote participation. 

Requires a permit to perform the following for trees located on public property and for trees located on private property that exceed 6 inches in diameter measured 4 feet above the highest point of the ground: (1) to mutilate, injure, remove, or relocate any live tree located within the Town or injure or misuse any structure or device placed to protect any such tree; (2) to whitewash, paint, or, in any other way, discolor the stem base, bole, or root of any tree located within the Town; (3) to fasten or attach any sign, wire, or electrical attachment or other device in any manner to any tree located within the Town or to the guard around or about any such tree; (4) to, within 3 feet in any direction, close or obstruct any open space around or about the base or root of any tree located within the Town or, in any way, prevent the access of air, water, or fertilizer to the roots of such tree (allows attachment of birdhouses or other small ornamental attachments that do not substantially threaten the life of a tree). Sets out requirements for permit applications, permit duration, and permit display. Establishes criteria for the Town Manager to consider when determining whether a permit is to be issued for cutting of trees, with different standards applying to trees on public property and those on private property. Allows the Town to require the owner to replace trees as a condition of issuing a permit. Sets out requirements that apply to the replacement of trees. Unless approved by the Town Manager, and subject to specified provisions, prohibits clear cutting on lots with a majority of trees less than six inches in diameter at four feet above ground level at its highest point. Prohibits cutting more than 50% of the natural vegetation. Defines clear cutting as cutting or removal of all trees within an area of 400 square feet or larger. Sets out monetary penalties for violations and allows for appeals. Prohibits violations from being a misdemeanor. Sets out five exemptions from the part.

Validates the establishment of a Tree Board by the Town Council that has the powers and authority provided in this act. Allows the current serving members to continue to serve until the expiration of their terms; members are to be appointed by the City Council at the expiration of each term, for a term of three years.