Bald Head Association has published important guidelines regarding the removal of trees damaged by Florence.  Since we know many of you are viewing this site on your mobile device, we have republished the information below. To view the official announcement, click here.

Trees & Landscape After A Hurricane

After Hurricane Florence hit Bald Head Island in September 2018 with its Category I winds and rains, many trees, limbs and understory were unfortunately affected.

All Architectural Review Committee (ARC) Design Guidelines, including guidelines for trees, limbs and understory, remain in place. However, Bald Head Association understands the need for a more immediate response to public safety issues. There are three levels of dealing with post-storm trees and landscape issues.

1. EMERGENCY LEVEL I — If a tree or limb on your property presents a safety hazard to a structure, walkway or driveway, take a photo before and after removal work is completed and email the photos, BHI address and your contact information to Karen at ARC ( When appropriate, owners of forest lots are encouraged to give much needed support to the fragile Bald Head Island eco-system by allowing felled and broken trees to remain. These trees provide essential habitat for the island’s insects, birds and wildlife.

2. SPECIAL ARC REVIEW LEVEL II — Damaged trees that are located in areas not safety critical require ARC review and approval prior to removal, but ARC will deal with storm-related issues in an expedited manner. During October and November, ARC will facilitate interim reviews to address certain storm-related changes concerning trees and landscape, where it would cause hardship to wait for the regularly scheduled ARC meeting. Call the ARC office at 910-457-4676, ext. 22 (Karen) or ext. 23 (Julie).

3. REGULAR ARC REVIEW LEVEL III — All other BHA Design Guidelines regarding trees and landscaping must be followed, including rules pertaining to vacant lots. Use the regular ARC submittal process for this level of trees and landscape issues.

Do NOT assume you own the land behind your home. A majority of homes abut Common Area, which is managed by BHA (except for Harbor area). In 2018 alone, BHA has had numerous property owners incur major fines and mitigation fees for executing unauthorized tree work on BHA Common Area. One property owner cut down 20 large trees for a golf course view without first consulting BHA and now faces significant mitigation costs.

BHA-managed Multi-family/“Drip-Edge” Communities (located in former Stage II): Homeowners do not own the land around their homes in these neighborhoods. This surrounding land is owned and managed by BHA, and all landscaping is done by landscape contractors hired by BHA. This includes all trimming, planting and tree removal. Owners or other landscapers may not trim trees, bushes, vines, grasses, etc. around their homes. If an owner feels that any vegetation needs to be trimmed or removed, contact the Bald Head Association for details. Fallen trees and limbs posing a safety hazard in these communities have already been removed as of 10/3/18, and any non-safety critical trees and limbs are in the process of being handled.

Who To Contact

ARC Coordinator
Karen Mosteller / 910-457-4676, ext. 22

ARC Associate
Julie Starcher / 910-457-4676, ext. 23

Multi-Family/Drip-Edge Neighborhoods (former Stage II)
Ann VerMeulen / 910-457-4676, ext. 24

For Reference — BHA Landscape Design Guidelines: “Canopy and Understory Trimming — The cutting of the forest canopy, or the thinning of its understory, may expose remaining vegetation to harmful salt-laden winds, resulting in damage. For this reason, cutting and thinning should be kept to an absolute minimum. In addition to the negative impacts of salt spray, removing vegetation from the understory to ‘open up’ one’s yard or landscape will also create new areas of light in the forest floor that cause vines and other plants that may not be wanted to take hold. This will also eliminate habitat that supports an interesting variety of wildlife. No canopy or understory trimming and no vegetation removal are allowed on unimproved (vacant) lots. The practice of tree topping is not permitted.”

A few additional points:

Know Your Property Lines

  • Any plans for changes to trees and landscape on your property must first be submitted and receive authorization from ARC before any work begins.
  • Do NOT assume! You may not own the property where you are looking to alter and, therefore, cannot make any changes.
  • Bald Head Association and the Village of BHI may be able to help with property line information.

Common Area

  • BHA owns and maintains all Common Areas on BHI (except for Harbor area).
  • Property owners cannot alter anything on Common Area unless prior permission from the BHA Board of Directors is received.
  • Most homes on BHI have Common Area behind and/or beside their property line.
  • Of all of the homes abutting the golf course, only five homes do not have Common Area between the property and the golf course.