Current Status Bill Number:
878Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: SenateIntroduced Date: 19980114Primary Sponsor: WilsonAll Sponsors: Wilson, Reese, Gregory, Cork and RussellDrafted Document Number: dka\4701cm.98Residing Body: SenateCurrent Committee: Transportation Committee 15 STSubject: Transportation Department not to cut down certain trees unless significant risk to motorists; Forestry, Conservation
Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ _______________________________________ _______ ____________ Senate 19980114 Introduced, read first time, 15 ST referred to Committee Senate 19971215 Prefiled, referred to Committee 15 STView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 57-3-645 SO AS TO PROHIBIT THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FROM CUTTING A TREE TWENTY-FOUR INCHES OR MORE IN DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT OR DAMAGING ITS ROOT SYSTEM UNLESS IT PRESENTS A SIGNIFICANT RISK TO MOTORISTS AND THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE AND TO PROVIDE FOR A HEARING AND AN APPEAL BEFORE ACTION IS TAKEN; AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT SHALL CONDUCT A PILOT PROJECT ALLOWING PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS TO PLANT TREES ALONG CERTAIN HIGHWAYS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 57-3-645. (A) Pursuant to the authority of the Department of Transportation to construct and maintain public highways and bridges, a tree twenty-four inches or more in diameter at breast height must not be cut nor may action be taken which may damage the tree's root system unless it presents a significant risk to motorists and no alternative reasonably reduces the risk.
(B) If the department determines that a tree presents a significant risk to motorists, and no alternative reasonably reduces the risk, the department shall hold a public hearing in accordance with the State Administrative Procedures Act in a location convenient to a person residing in the area in which the tree is located. The department shall give notice of the hearing by mail to the owners of property adjacent to the property upon which the tree is located and in a newspaper of general circulation in the area at least thirty days before the hearing. The department shall consider all information presented at the hearing, particularly alternatives to removal of the tree or modification of the root system, in making its final determination. The department's decision may be appealed pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act."
SECTION 2. The Department of Transportation shall conduct a pilot project in one county allowing private organizations to plan trees along interstate and other state highways.
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.