Grand trees causing concerns for drivers on Wadmalaw Island

Grand trees causing concerns for drivers on Wadmalaw Island

WADMALAW ISLAND, SC (WCSC) – Some residents say several trees are blocking drivers' vision and creating a potentially dangerous situation on the island. A local pastor wants three grand oak trees removed from near his church property, in front of the Saint James Bethel AME church.

"Can we get some sort of permit to get it cut down or do something about it or slow down the traffic? On Sunday, they don't slow down when they come out here," Rev. William Jones said.

There are more than 300 church-goers who leave his church parking lot each Sunday, and he says the trees are a problem.

Rev. Jones says if people are trying to take a left turn onto Maybank Highway, it could be dangerous because the trees block a driver's view of oncoming traffic.

"We've been talking about cutting that tree down for over a year, but they have an ordinance that they don't want you to cut down the grand oaks, but when does a tree become more important than a person's life?"

Rev. Jones says he's contacted both Charleston County and the State Department of Transportation about removing the trees, but has gotten no answers about getting a permit to cut down the trees so far.

Residents say they want to see changes too.

"I have to usually stop, make a complete stop and look very good, before I come out. If the trees are removed, it will make a big change. It will really help," nearby resident Lavinia Frasier said.

Until Rev. Jones works out a solution with the county or state about the trees, he's asking for the public's help.

"For all the people that are driving on Sunday by Saint James Bethel, you're on a curve, it's a blind side, so you need to slow down, pay attention to the speed limit, so that we all can be safe out here," Rev. Jones said.

According to the Charleston County Tree Protection Ordinance, you need a permit to remove grand trees that are 24 inches around or larger, and if it's a healthy tree, they must prove that the tree presents a hardship.

Rev. Jones says he'd be glad to plant new trees in place of the ones he wants removed, in an area that does not block drivers' view of the road.

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