Charleston Co. neighborhood continues fight to protect Grand Oak trees

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Residents in Riverland Terrace are working to figure out their next step regarding the protection of their Grand Oak trees.

On Tuesday night, Charleston County Council discussed funding a study to see if power lines could be moved underground to save the oaks from being cut. The study would cost $26,000. That request was denied.

"I thought this was going to go over well but it didn't," Charleston County Councilman Joe Qualey said. "I'm disappointed. I wish council would have been more forward thinking because they could use this same protocol in their districts as well."

This all started in 2017 when SCE&G said they needed to cut limbs away from the power lines. That trim would have been 20 feet above, 10 feet to the side and 10 feet below wires.

That's irreversible damage and that's what I'm most concerned about is the irreversible damage," Riverland Terrace resident Rena Lasch said. "These trees have been here longer than the power lines and we have technology now that we can circumvent this problem."

Neighbors started a campaign to prevent the trees from being cut. Since then, all parties involved have been working together to figure out an alternative. But with the funding for the study denied by council, it's back to the drawing board.

"I'm still very hopeful that we have other avenues that we can go down," Lasch said.

Qualey added time is a concern.

"SCE&G is going to want to do something with these trees before hurricane season hits," Qualey said. "So time is of the essence for us."

Whenever funding for the study is found, the study can start immediately. It would take about three months to finish.

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