Last tree still standing, but with no one in it

Since last Wednesday, Charlie Joyce Jr. has been sitting in an oak tree intermittently, in an attempt to save it from the chainsaws. On Tuesday, nearly a week later, the branches were bare. Joyce climbed down to go to work, but not before airport officials filed a lawsuit.

It was a sight we haven’t seen in nearly a week; the tree, but no Charlie.

“He came down because it was the best decision to do, in the best interest of both parties,” said Alex Joyce, Charlie’s brother.

But that doesn’t mean the tree will stay empty. When asked if he was going back up, Charlie Jr. said, “If necessary.”

Airport officials have filed for an injunction against the family for interfering with the removal of the oak.

It would subject them to being arrested and held in contempt for violation.

Other properties only had their trees trimmed. Eminent domain gives the government power to obtain private property for a public purpose, this purpose being the safety of airport passengers.

Joyce family attorney Michael Davenport says Charlie Joyce Sr. could have fought it like his neighbors. “They all were given the same impression by the county airport authority, ‘one way or another we’re taking your trees’. Some said ‘okay here you go’ just like Mr. Joyce did, others said ‘over my dead body’ and they’re waiting for condemnation papers, that it’s my understanding will never come because condemnation was never going to be an issue in this case.”

The Joyce family says once they realized what they had signed, they tried to stop it but it was too late.

And that’s when Charlie started up the ladder.

Charlie Joyce Jr. spent nearly a week camped out in the last remaining giant oak tree. Today he had to climb down for a very important reason, his internship.

Now there’s talk of Charlie Joyce Sr. climbing the tree.

Airport officials say they are required by F.A.A. to remove the tree by the end of September, but for safety reasons they don’t plan on removing it as long as someone’s up in its branches.

We’re told the tree crews have this week off and aren’t scheduled to return to work on Monday. If no one interferes, they’ll likely cut the tree down next week.

Categories: New Hanover

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