Palmetto trees cut down across Downtown Charleston, causing concern to local residents

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Residents on Colonial Street in Downtown Charleston are concerned about palmetto trees that are getting cut down, but the city says they are replacing them for safety reasons.

Neighbors on the street lined flyers on tree stumps, urging the community to protect the Palmetto trees. Some say they just want their voices heard.

“It was something of a circus you had people running out of their doors wondering what was happening and they quickly put their cars in front of the palmettos trying to protect them,” says Charles Hoff, a resident on Colonial Street.

170 palmetto trees across Downtown Charleston have been identified for replacement due to fire safety hazards. Dominion Energy says this is a 5-year cycle protocol they follow to ensure safety throughout the city.

“Trees that are planted directly underneath or near overhead powerlines and have grown too close to those lines are both a fire hazard and an issue of public safety,” says Paul Fischer, Senior Communications Specialist for Dominion Energy.

Strong winds and storms can contribute to those fire hazards and the City of Charleston plan on planting trees that can keep residents and their homes safe.

“Street bay magnolias, crepe myrtles, saucer magnolias, European olives and fringe trees. Those are a couple of trees that we have been utilizing so far,” says Jason Kronsberg, Director of Parks for the City of Charleston.

Dominion Energy says the 15 foot mark is where trees become unsafe to those powerlines. It can contribute to fire hazards that need to be fixed for the safety of those in downtown communities.

“Routine safeguarding of overhead lines remains critical to helping ensure a safe resilient and reliable electric system and keeps the lights on for all of our customers,” says Fischer.

The City of Charleston says they plan on planting new trees between November and March.

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