June 8, 2021 – Mayor Hatem’s Transcript
This is Dr. Joe Pat Hatem, Mayor of the City of Southport.
The beauty of Southport includes so many characteristics, the view of the Cape Fear River, our quaint village, the southern hospitality of our city and our citizens, the salubrious breeze, and always the glorious canopy of trees, especially our live oaks.
The trees of our city provide a backdrop on Mother Nature’s canvas as these trees provide protection during storms, shade on a hot summer day, and aesthetically enhance that which is Southport.
That is why Southport is a Tree City and celebrates Arbor Day every year and why our city has an active Forestry Committee that is an advisory board to our city and is project-oriented with respect to preserving and replacing our city grove of trees, especially our live oaks.
Recently, the NC House passed HB 496, entitled, “AN ACT PROVIDING THAT COUNTIES AND CITIES SHALL NOT ADOPT ORDINANCES REGULATING THE REMOVAL OF TREES FROM PRIVATE PROPERTY WITHOUT THE EXPRESS AUTHORIZATION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.”
I have received emails and read the letter to the editor in The State Port Pilot, concerning HB 496 and I want to assure our citizens that this bill does not affect Southport.
In my discussion with Representative Miller and in correspondence with his office, Southport, with its ordinance and years of promoting tree conservation, is exempt from this bill and our local government will have the ability through our tree ordinance to preserve this precious natural resource.
As stated in the bill: “Below is a list of local acts since 1975 that expressly provide certain local governments some form of authority to regulate tree removal: Southport is included on this list. I want to thank Rep. Miller and his office for their continued assistance in helping Southport preserve its trees and help promote the beauty of our city.
I want to express my appreciation to all the citizens who have shown their concern and I want you to know that our city Tree Ordinance is intact and robust. We will protect, preserve and replace our trees and this will always be a priority for our city.