Cutting down trees costs North Charleston man $20,000

NORTH CHARLESTON,SC (WCSC) - Carlton Walker is still furious over having to pay $20,000 in fines for illegally cutting down trees and having grass grow too high on his property.

Walker says his family has owned the Deerwood Mobile Park since 1946 and never knew of the tree cutting ordinance. He says he cut the trees in 2008 before tropical storm Hanna.

Walker's attorney, Joe Good, feels it was an honest mistake gone terribly wrong.

"It just brings about the issue of excessive code violations and fines," Good said.

Derk Van Raalte, the deputy city attorney of North Charleston, said Walker could have made things easier on himself had he paid the reduced fine amount of $50 instead of the almost $1,100 per tree.

Van Raalte says the city has tried to work out a deal with Walker, but he never followed through with the conditions they set.

Walker says he paid the $20,000 in fines, but is looking at filing a motion to reopen the case in an effort to try and get some of the money back.

Van Raalte says the city of North Charleston as well as many local governments have a tree protection ordinance in place. Citizens should consult with their local planning and zoning department before ever cutting a tree.

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