Despite protests, trees will come down on land near ILM

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A conclusion was reached in the debate surrounding whether or not to cut down an oak tree near Wilmington's airport.

The tree belongs to the Joyce family who signed an agreement with ILM officials saying crews could cut down the trees on the property.

The Joyce's said they were misled to sign the contract, while airport officials say they were clear with their explanation.

The Joyce family has been protesting the removal of trees on their property by sitting in the branches of one oak tree to prevent crews from taking it down.

Lawyers from both sides of the argument were in court Wednesday afternoon in hopes of reaching a compromise, but a judge decided the tree will be cut down.

The trees must be cleared to stay in compliance with FAA guidelines for a new landing system.

"Because of his closeness to the end of the runway, they wanted all the trees that needed to be cut in accordance with the regulations to be cut to the ground," say Airport Officials.

Mr. Joyce says the fight is not over.  The family still has a pending lawsuit against ILM, which they were willing to drop if the authority had agreed to keeping the tree.

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