Wednesday, we told you about a man who climbed a 150-year-old oak tree in his yard to save it from being cut down. A day later, and he’s still there, and says he’s not coming down anytime soon.
When asked how long he planned on staying in the tree, Charlie Joyce, Jr. said, “Right now, I can’t say, I don’t know.”
With some local support, Charlie Joyce, Jr. has been up in this oak tree since Wednesday. “These people came by this morning, I’ve never met them before, they gave me granola bars, Starbucks coffee, this mom and her son came by and gave me a cinnamon roll and a Snapple iced tea, so I appreciate the support,” he said.
One by one, the Joyce family watched as chain saws brought their trees to the ground on Wednesday and continued on Thursday.
The federal aviation administration ordered the Wilmington International Airport to have the trees chopped down.
“We put in a brand new instrument landing system which the F.A.A. paid $7.5 million dollars to put in at the end of runway 2-4 and it must not have any obstructions,” said Jon Rosborough, airport director.
According to the F.A.A., the Joyce’s trees were in the way.
Authorities from the Wilmington International Airport say the trees interfered with the instrument landing system and just plain and simple were not safe to the more than 800,000 people they serve at this airport every year. They also said at least nine other properties had to have trees chopped down to the ground, and all of them have complied except for the Joyce family.”
Rosborough says simply trimming the trees was not an option, and the Joyce’s knew this day was coming. “We have an agreement that he signed back over a year ago which outlined exactly what we were doing. He was paid $44,500 for that inconvenience; he cashed the check.”
Charlie Joyce, Sr. claims he was conned into signing the easement and says he tried to give the money back.
Rosborough says the airport had no choice; safety comes first. “We’d like the young man to come out of the tree so we can complete that project.”
But Joyce hasn’t indicated he’s coming down anytime soon. “I’m not afraid to get arrested, if it comes to that point, because I’m standing up for something I believe in, but let’s hope it doesn’t come down to that.”
ILM authorities say if Charlie, Jr. refuses to come down, he could be held accountable for slowing down the construction crew, and potentially sued.