South Carolina Environmental Law Project

Lawyers for the Wild Side of South Carolina

The State Newspaper covers the last day of our Angel Oak trial
Posted: April 6, 2012

"Angel Oak case ends" by Sammy Fretwell

A developer with plans to build apartments around the centuries-old Angel Oak tree near Charleston says he spent millions of dollars trying to design the project to suit environmentalists.

But Robert DeMoura couldn’t satisfy their objections, and says he needs to move on. DeMoura is hoping a judge will allow his affordable housing project to be built adjacent to the Angel Oak, an expansive tree that draws crowds from across the country.

Judge John McLeod must now decide whether to uphold state environmental permits needed to build the apartment complex. No decision is expected before mid-summer, at the earliest. More than 500 units could be constructed adjacent to the Angel Oak property. DeMoura is negotiating to sell the project to a North Carolina development company.

The Angel Oak, on Johns Island, is believed to be one of the largest and oldest live oaks in the U.S. It is at least three centuries old, but could be older – perhaps exceeding 1,000 years. The tree’s broad, long branches provide enough shade to cover a small shopping complex. Vacationers from across the country often stop by the Angel Oak. The oak and a tiny park surrounding it are owned by the city of Charleston.

Download available Angel Oak case ends