Sullivan's Island tree mystery still unsolved

Authorities are still trying to figure out who illegally cut down 21 trees on Sullivan's Island back in February, and the public got a chance Tuesday to share their thoughts with Town Council. (They weren't happy.)

The town has cited Arborscape Tree Preservation for using heavy equipment on sand dunes after investigation of the tree cuttings found evidence of that, but employees of the company deny they had anything to do with the missing trees. Coincidentally enough, though, Arborscape was hired by three property owners (who are also town officials) to trim shrubs and bushes near their homes around the same time the trees were cut down.

From The Post and Courier:

According to the violation, Arborscape employees drove a tracked vehicle onto the dunes to remove the debris, which isn't legal.

The three public officials (who hired Arborscape), Jerry Kaynard, town councilman; Nicky Bluestein, planning commission member; and Pat Ilderton, design review board chairman, told investigators that they didn't realize that several 20- to 30-foot cedar and willow trees had disappeared from the protected land, between their Atlantic Avenue homes and the ocean.

The town allows property owners to hire licensed contractors to trim wax myrtle, eastern baccharis shrubs and the popcorn trees to 5 feet with a permit.

Arborscape is set to appear in court on August 12. You think the issue of the hardwood trees will come up during that little get together?

In the company's defense, The Post and Courier also reports: "Randy Robinson, a Sullivan's Island building official, and the island's tree consultant, Jeff Jackson, agreed that the cuts to the cedars and willows were not similar to those on legally cut shrubs, according to a letter written to Town Administrator Andy Benke."

Meanwhile, residents are less than happy about the whole thing. They got the chance to speak out at a Town Council meeting Tuesday night, and what they want is answers.

From ABC News 4:

They want council to replace the trees and do a more thorough investigation into how this could have happened.


"The trees were cut illegally and we don't know who did it and we want to know who did that," Sullivans Island resident Norman Khouri says.

ABC News 4 also has video coverage.

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