WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County man says CFPUA illegally bulldozed hundreds of trees Monday, destroying a natural buffer between his neighborhood and River Road. Now, the city has ordered CFPUA to stop their work.
“Certainly they can’t come back and put up 50-year-old pine trees that have been put down,” said Jonathan Deputy, who has lived in the Silva Terra neighborhood near Monkey Junction for 22 years.
Deputy says when River Road was moved closer to his neighborhood to make room for the RiverLights development, there was an agreement to leave a natural buffer of trees.
“We got up and looked this morning, and we don’t have a lot of barrier between us and River Road now,” said Deputy.
Deputy says Monday, crews started removing trees. He asked who they were working for, and they said CFPUA. He called City of Wilmington Code Enforcement, which quickly came out and posted a stop work order.
“When I inquired with some city personnel, they indicated that this wasn’t the first time that they’d had issues with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority,” said Deputy.
Work has stopped for now, but Deputy says they already cleared about two thirds of trees in that buffer zone. He says this leaves him and his neighbors exposed to road noise, and has destroyed natural habitat for animals.
“The best thing for the neighborhood would be for all the involved parties to sit down and figure out now what that barrier is going to look like, because certainly we’re going to need something between us and River Road,” said Deputy.
CFPUA released a statement to us, saying: “This occurred in an easement we own while work was underway to install a water main. We’ve stopped work and are currently working with the city to resolve its concerns.”
We also reached out to the City of Wilmington, and are waiting to hear back with more information.