Local News

Town Councilman Wants Chapel Hill To Fight Invasive Plants

Posted September 29, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— In an era when growth is a big problem, most leaders focus their attention on traffic and schools. But as the town of Chapel Hill rewrites its development ordinances, one councilman wants landscaping lumped into the plan.

Jim Ward, town councilman and curator of the North Carolina Botanical Garden, wants the town to prevent the spread of plants that can swallow up native vegetation and damage natural habitats.

He wants future public landscapes and new developments to stay away from plants like English ivy, periwinkle and Asian species of privets.

"Sometimes, it's called biological wildfire," he says.

Ward says he has no intention to become the plant police for homeowners. However, he says this is a great opportunity for the town to avoid invasive plants.

"The success of this is going to be based on education, not regulation," Ward says.

Judi Lilley backs the plan. Her Chapel Hill home is surrounded by beauty that can be a beast. Her rich English ivy adds character to her property, but it is tough to control.

She reluctantly killed a climbing ivy before it killed her pine trees.

"The pines aren't as pretty without the ivy on them, but they're prettier than if you don't have them at all," she says.

Chapel Hill town leaders will consider Ward's plant plan over the next year.