October 21, 2022

Karl Puckett, The Island Packet

Settlement reached over removal of 2 landmark live oak trees in Port Royal

A dispute over cutting down two iconic live oak trees in downtown Port Royal has been settled, and now the town is developing new tree removal rules using guidance from Hilton Head.

Under the agreement, the smaller of two trees at the center of the disagreement involving a resident, the town, a contractor and the property owner will be cut down while the larger live oak will be saved.

Emily Nellermoe, an attorney with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project, said Friday her client, Elizabeth Bergmann, who fought to save the trees, and the other parties had reached a final settlement agreement ending the legal battle.

Under that agreement, the contractor and property owner agreed to pursue an alternative site design in a housing development that will save the larger tree, which has a trunk circumference of 60 inches. That tree will undergo some limb removal to accommodate the houses, Nellermoe said, but developers agreed to follow guidelines in a report by an arborist.

In exchange, Nellermoe said, Bergmann withdrew her appeal, meaning the town lifted a stop-work order.

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