Tree Preserves and Restrictive Buffers

The Imagery Community is comprised of multiple tree preserves and restrictive buffers that are governed by more than one municipality, in addition to the Association. The existing buffers that surround Imagery are critical to protect and maintain in accordance with the governing restrictions set forth herein. A healthy buffer provides for a stable land surface, which absorbs rainfall, reduces heat reflection, reduces noise and absorbs pollutants, washing across the land.

Imagery is part of the Mountain Island Lake Watershed IV Critical Watershed Overlay District. Although the State relaxed the buffer standards on the Catawba River Basin to 50 feet, the 100-foot buffer for Imagery was a condition of zoning approval. Section 4 of the attached document explains all the buffer requirements, for example, what can be cleared and not cleared. This has been an adopted ordinance, since 1996, and we believe that education is an essential part of protecting this buffer. If someone is egregiously violating the ordinance with disregard for the watershed buffer, the City reserves the right to take legal action against that person, even so far as charging the offender with a misdemeanor criminal offense. The City has also had violations whereas a condition of mitigation, the property owner has had to plant back trees that he or she removed.

Additional buffer requirements include:

1. A one hundred (100) foot vegetative buffer along the lake shoreline, measured from “full pond” level or 648-foot elevation
2. A fifty (50) foot vegetative buffer along each bank of all perennial streams
3. No permanent structures and or improvements shall be allowed in the buffers
4. Buffers shall be left in a natural state and no clearing or grading in the buffer will be allowed, except on a limited conditional basis as approved by the Association and required permitting.
5. The removal of some native vines, shrubs, ground covers and small trees to facilitate a better view or a more aesthetically pleasing natural landscape may be allowed as approved by the Association. These thinning operations must be done with hand tools and/or minimal use of approved herbicides and must be approved by the Association in advance of work occurring.
6. No grubbing of tree stumps allowed; however, their removal with a stump grinding machine, which causes minimal soil disturbance, is allowed with the required permitting and as approved by the Association. Natural leaf litters, hummus and soil should remain.
7. No trees larger than two (2) inch caliper are to be removed unless dead or diseased and only by permit and as approved by the Association.

Duke Energy advised that buffer preservation is an important component of the Imagery residential marina application, so any disturbance has the potential to impact it.

Over the last several weeks we have received several inquiries and concerns relative to buffer disturbance that is occurring or may occur within the Imagery Community. Please be advised that disturbance of the buffers in accordance with the restrictions and regulations provided herein is prohibited.

If disturbance is reported, the responsible party may be subject to fines and penalties as determined by local municipality, Duke Energy as well as the Association. Please aid the Association and all residents in ensuring that everyone is adhering to these rules and regulations to continue to protect and preserve the protective buffers that surround the Imagery Community.

If you have a question about a particular area or are unsure about a particular improvement you are considering as to whether it would impact or disturb these restrictive areas, please contact CAMS Management. The management team will aid you in addressing any questions that you may have to ensure proper guidance is provided.
Please see the documents below for the full set of buffer requirements.