Business Owner Chops Down Live Oak Tree on Public Property Without Permit — Florida

A live oak tree that was on public property in Florida was cut down by a company owner who lacked the necessary authorization.

On Florida Boulevard on Wednesday morning, a resident saw a tree trimmer cutting down a living oak. He was horrified. Sam Irwin claims that the tree is on public land, which enraged and upset him.

No Permit

Irwin, who serves as the Melrose Place Civic Association President, claims he was horrified by what he witnessed in front of the Mid City Tower so he went up to the person who was felling the tree and urged them to stop.

He added that these trees belonged to the public and not to the man who cut the tree down. Irwin later called the inspector.

Irwin claimed that the city arborist had advised Mid City Tower, the property’s owners, that they could not remove this tree since it did not belong to them.

According to the city, a tree trimmer was greeted at the scene by an arborist who warned them that their activity required an arborist license from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and that it was illegal to remove trees from public property without a license.

Servitude vs. Right-of-Way

Irwin thinks it’s unfortunate to see such a scene occur on a public street.

Michael Leggett, the owner of Mid City Tower, claims it was not his plan. Leggett bought the structure in 2020 and has since made improvements to make it more desirable to potential tenants. He claims to have grand plans for the structure and its surroundings, some of which include cutting down trees.

To improve the area’s appearance compared to how it currently looks, Leggett stated that the aim was to remove them and plant new trees, as well as a green space area with a flower bed.

Although it is unclear whether the trees are in the right-of-way or the servitude, he maintains that he believed they were in the servitude.

According to Tampa Bay 10, the government was no longer allowed to control tree removal and replacement on private property since 2019.

Leggett’s goals are still the same, though. According to Leggett, the trees were sick and suffered significant damage from pruning electricity lines. He now claims to be aware that he had to get permission to remove the branches.

Leggett claims he is currently collaborating with a professional landscape architect on a proposal to present to the city to have those trees removed and replaced with healthier, more aesthetically beautiful trees.

Irwin stated that he would prefer to see the area restored with a large tree of some sort.

Also Read: Poisonous Death Cap Mushroom Clones Itself, Invades California 

Public Property and Finding the Verdict

Sage Foley, Baton Rouge Green executive director, says it is disheartening when a property owner takes this choice without giving it much thought on behalf of the entire community.

According to Oldest.Org, it takes oak trees 75 years to reach this stage of development.

In contragst, Foley said that trees constitute essential infrastructure. In less than 75 minutes, someone can cut them down, eliminating them.

Irwin wants to inform the public that it is illegal to modify the Florida Boulevard trees without their authorization. It’s unclear at the moment whether the region is under state or city-parish control.

The city claims it is determining whether to issue a ticket or infraction or whether to submit the case to another government body.

According to DOTD, a site inspection to ascertain who owns the trees will take place soon. If found in violation, offenders risk fines. A state highway’s right-of-way cannot be cut or trimmed without the state’s prior written consent, 2 On Your Side reports.

Related Article: Oldest Tree in Chicago Reaches End of Life Cycle, Slated to Come Down for Public Safety 

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