§ 156.224  EXCEPTIONS.
   (A)   Tree conditions. In the event that any tree is determined to be severely damaged, of inferior quality, or in a hazardous condition or location posing a danger to private property, written authorization may be given by the Zoning Administrator, or his or her designee, for tree removal with replacement as specified in this tree protection division. To assist in making the above-mentioned determination, the Zoning Administrator may require that a written assessment by a certified arborist or registered engineer, or both, as applicable, describing the condition of the tree and/or other relevant factors in justification of removal.
Should the Zoning Administrator or designee disagree with the written assessments, he or she may solicit a second opinion from a certified arborist or registered engineer. The administrative decision of the Zoning Administrator or designee is final, subject to appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals in accordance with the applicable provisions of this chapter.
   (B)   Emergencies. During the period of an emergency, such as a tornado, hurricane, ice storm, flood, or any other act of nature, the requirements of this chapter may be waived by Town Council or its assignee. In such case, the cutting and removal of fallen and severely damaged trees shall be permitted until such time as Town Council deems it necessary.
   (C)   Utility, public service, and transportation projects provided for the public good, such as water, sewer, stormwater, roadways, and power installations.
      (1)   Historic Trees. In all instances, attempts should be made to preserve good quality Historic Trees. If their removal is unavoidable due to the requirements of the particular project, Historic Trees may be removed in accordance with the provisions of this section.
      (2)   Transportation projects. Tree removal or relocation for transportation projects, including the removal or relocation of infrastructure resulting from said transportation projects, sponsored by the town, Charleston County, or the South Carolina Department of Transportation in contravention to the provisions of this tree protection division is allowed, provided they are identified on plans approved by Town Council with the tree removal determined to be necessary to protect the health safety and welfare of the public. Replacement is required, based upon the tree protection provisions of this chapter.
      (3)   Aerial transmission power line/buffer impacts; danger trees.
         (a)   Where protected trees located in a required natural buffer or planted landscaped buffer, or otherwise are mutually considered danger trees, as defined in § 156.221 of this chapter, by the power provider and the Zoning Administrator, their removal request shall be submitted in plan form, and may be granted with replacement being required, as provided in the tree protection ordinance, to be planted on the site of the requested tree removal. Where buffer configuration, aerial power line conditions or other circumstances or conditions do not permit canopy tree replacement, mitigation may be achieved with one of the following methods: the largest size tree or tall shrubs may be permitted, with replacement calculations based upon nursery standards; or an equivalent donation made to the Tree Bank, as determined by Town Council; or as may be approved in accordance with § 156.224(C)(5).
         (b)   Where protected trees are mutually considered danger trees, as defined in § 156.221 of this chapter, by the power provider and the Zoning Administrator, such trees may be pruned only in accordance with the pruning standards provided in § 156.228.
         (c)   Where power line maintenance operations cause violation of the tree protection ordinance by means such as excessive pruning, based upon pruning standards referenced in § 156.228, the tree may be considered damaged and require removal and replacement. Damage to buffer vegetation as a part of any maintenance activity shall require replacement in kind.
      (4)   Public projects, maintenance, repair, and installation by the Town of Mount Pleasant and Mount Pleasant Waterworks.
         (a)   Tree removal for approved projects including Town public infrastructure projects and Mount Pleasant Waterworks projects, including protected trees located in a required natural buffer or planted landscaped buffer, is allowed in contravention of the provisions of this section, provided the proposed trees to be removed are identified on project plans approved by the respective governing bodies and a finding is made by the applicable governing body that the tree removal is necessary to protect the health safety and welfare of the public. Replacement is required, based upon the tree protection provisions of this chapter. Where buffer configuration or other conditions or circumstances do not permit canopy tree replacement, mitigation may be achieved with one of the following methods: the largest size tree or tall shrubs may be permitted, with replacement calculations based upon nursery standards; or an equivalent donation made to the Tree Bank, as determined by Town Council; or as may be approved in accordance with § 156.224(C)(5).
         (b)   Tree removal, canopy pruning, and root pruning of trees within boundaries of existing Town or Mount Pleasant Waterworks infrastructure, easement, and right-of-ways is permitted with approval of the Zoning Administrator, upon receipt of written request the Town Director of Public Services, the Town Director of Transportation, or the General Manager of Mount Pleasant Waterworks, and providing the tree is causing damage or interference with operation, maintenance or rehabilitation of town or Mount Pleasant Waterworks infrastructure or facilities, and where no other corrective options are determined feasible to protect or access the infrastructure or facilities. The Zoning Administrator may approve removal and/or pruning with replacement required in accordance with this chapter.
      (5)   Tree replacement not otherwise specified under this paragraph. Utility infrastructure providers, including the town and Mount Pleasant Waterworks, may be entitled to a reduction or alteration of mitigation requirements by the Town Administrator should the following conditions be met:
         (a)   A request is made to the Town Administrator in a manner and format acceptable to the Town Administrator;
         (b)   The request is made by a public or private utility company, the town, or Mount Pleasant Waterworks;
         (c)   Tree removal is necessary for the installation or protection of utilities; and
         (d)   Mitigation is required; the Town Administrator may, in his or her discretion, elect to reduce or alter mitigation requirements providing said alteration or reduction is in the best interests of the public. Reduction or alteration of mitigation requirements shall be based on the value and nature of resources donated to the town by the utility company. Examples of donated resources include, but are not limited to, parks, trails, easements or storage space. The amount or degree of any reductions or alterations are within the discretion of the Town Administrator.
(Ord. 00018, passed 4-11-00; Am. Ord. 02024, passed 6-11-02; Am. Ord. 05003, passed 2-8-05; Am. Ord. 10042, passed 9-14-10; Am. Ord. 11008, passed 2-8-11; Am. Ord. 14047, passed 8-12-14; Am. Ord. 16085, passed 10-11-16; Am. Ord. 17040, passed 9-14-17; Am. Ord. 18076, passed 11-13-18; Am. Ord. 19014, passed 4-9-19)  Penalty, see § 156.231