(a)  Pursuant to G.S. 136-133.2, within 30 days following receipt of the application for a selective vegetation removal permit for a facility, including the fee set out in G.S. 136-18.7, the Division Engineer shall approve or deny the application. The applicant, as part of the application, shall state in writing the date that he or she has delivered a copy of the application with required attachments to a municipality that has previously advised the Department in writing that it seeks to provide comments regarding such applications. The applicant shall deliver the application to the municipality at least 30 days prior to submitting the application to the Department. The list of municipalities requesting to review applications shall be maintained and updated by the Department on the website www.ncdot.gov. Upon receipt of the application, the Division Engineer shall have 30 days to approve or deny the application. If written notice of approval or denial is not given to the applicant within the 30-day Department review period, then the application shall be deemed approved.  If the application is denied, the Division Engineer shall advise the applicant, in writing, of the reasons for denial.

(b)  The application shall be denied by the Division Engineer if:

(1)           the application is for the opening of view to a facility that does not meet the requirements of Rule .0601 of the Section;

(2)           it is determined by Departmental personnel that the facility is not screened from view;

(3)           the application is for the opening of view to undeveloped property or to a facility that, due to obstructions off the right of way, is screened from view from the travel way regardless of the presence or absence of trees and other vegetation on the highway right of way;

(4)           it is determined by Department personnel that removal of vegetation shall diminish a planting installed for headlight screening and affect the safety of the traveling public;

(5)           the application is solely for providing visibility to on-premise signs;

(6)           the application is for the removal of vegetation planted in accordance with a local, State, or federal beautification project. However, if a mitigation replanting plan that is related to the site for which the vegetation permit request is made (as set forth in 19A NCAC 02E .0611 except for the provisions in Paragraph (d) and Subparagraph (g)(11)) is agreed upon in writing by the applicant, the Department, and if applicable, the Federal Highway Administration, then this subsection does not apply;

(7)           on two previous occasions, the applicant has failed to meet the requirements of a selective vegetation removal permit, unless the applicant engages a landscape contractor to perform the current work;

(8)           the application is for removal of vegetation that will open views to junkyards;

(9)           the applicant fails to complete an application, as described in Rule .0602 of this Section;;

(10)         any cutting, thinning, pruning, or removal of vegetation encompassing the entirety of the maximum vegetation cutting or removal zone is prohibited due to conservation easements or conditions affecting the right of way to which the State is subjected or agrees in writing to subject itself and other restrictions agreed upon by the State in writing in the right of way; or State or Federal rules, statutes, or permits; or

(11)         an unlawful destruction or illegal cutting of vegetation has occurred within the highway right-of-way to create, increase, or improve a view to the facility from the travel way including acceleration and deceleration ramps. The Department shall not issue a selective vegetation removal permit at the requested site for a period of five years that shall begin on the date the Department resolves the "unlawful destruction" or "illegal cutting" incident by settlement agreement with responsible party or the Department administratively closes the case. For the purposes of this Section, unlawful destruction or illegal cutting is defined as the destruction or cutting of trees, shrubs, or other vegetation on the State-owned or State-maintained rights-of-way by anyone other than the Department or its authorized agents, or without written permission of the Department.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 99E-30; 136-18(5); 136-18(7); 136-18(9); 136-93; 136-93.3; 136-130;

Temporary Rule Eff. April 13, 1982 for a Period of 48 Days to Expire on June 1, 1982;

Eff. June 1, 1982;

Amended Eff. August 1, 2000; November 1, 1991; December 1, 1990; August 1, 1985; June 2, 1982;

Temporary Amendment Eff. March 1, 2012;

Amended Eff. January 1, 2015; November 1, 2012.