Effective 1 July 2018

Trees and their canopy are part of what makes Southport a desirable and beautiful place to live and work. They not only buffer the effects of traffic and development, they also fulfill essential ecological functions, such as improving air quality, reducing soil erosion, and moderating temperature extremes. To help manage and maintain these important benefits, the Southport Board of Aldermen approved a Tree Preservation Article in the UDO which will go into effect 1 July 2018.

How does this affect Southport residents?
In certain situations, the City will now require a Tree Removal Permit. Whether a permit is required depends on the location and size of trees to be removed, and the site where the trees are located. Tree Removal Permit requirements for private property apply only to Regulated Trees (Hardwoods > 8”DBH, Conifers >12” DBH) located in the front setback of any yard, as well as a tree determined to be a “Specimen” tree (any tree of any species that is greater than 30” DBH) located anywhere on the property. Regulations for any tree located in the Public Right of Way remain unchanged and residents should contact the city with any issues or concerns related to these trees.

If capital improvements are to be made to a property which will require a Building Permit, a tree permit and associated landscape plan will need to be submitted as part of the process, indicating trees which are to be removed regardless of location on the property and any mitigation plans as appropriate.

The Tree Preservation Article is intended to ensure that the City of Southport maintains a minimum of 40% tree canopy cover which in addition to tremendous ecological benefits, also provides significant economic benefits in the form of increased property values and reduced power consumption; every Southport resident benefits from being good stewards of our urban forest.

The entire Tree Preservation article can be viewed on the City of Southport web site on the Planning and Inspections page, or a copy can be obtained from the City Planning Department.

Specific questions can be directed to the Planning Department at 910-457-7925. In addition, all Southport citizens are invited and encouraged to attend meetings of the Southport Forestry Committee, which are held the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 5 PM at the Nash Street Fire Substation.