By Alexandra Lajoux
April 18, 2022

 

Praise for Our Local Government,  with a Call for Citizen Action

“Trees” Photo courtesy of Stephen Mintz

The governments of Florida, Nassau County, and the City of Fernandina Beach have all instituted measures to protect our trees, namely Florida Statute Title XI, Section 163.045; the Unincorporated Amelia Island Tree Ordinance; and the City of Fernandina Beach Tree Ordinance. To summarize, under Florida law, as supported by local codes, a property owner may not remove a tree unless a certified arborist or licensed landscaper opines and documents that it poses a danger.

When there are complaints about violations of these laws and codes, our local government and law enforcement do what they can to respond. The problem is that many of the homeowners on Amelia Island are unaware of these legal restrictions.

There have been cases where a company knocks on doors giving homeowners a special on-the-spot rate for tree removal—even if the trees are healthy and located a safe distance from the home, posing no danger. Homeowners wanting larger lawns, unaware that such tree removal is illegal, then pay them to remove trees. There are recent reports from neighborhoods all over the Island about this high-pressure sales practice and its sad results—the loss of mature oaks and the diminution of our tree canopy. Our excellent local police have been responsive to complaints, but by the time they arrive, the trees are gone. This is not only bad for our Island, but also bad for the reputations of the many legitimate tree removal companies here locally that do operate by the law.

On Friday, April 15, 2022, at the start of a holy weekend for major faiths, I wrote our City and County Commission about this problem. Amazingly, many responded immediately with concern. We are truly blessed to have such a responsive local government.

But there is a limit to what government can do. We as citizens need to take action. I appeal to all who are reading this post to learn more about the value of our trees, and the laws protecting them, before removing trees from your property.

 

 

 

 

 Editor’s Note: Alexandra Reed Lajoux, is a member of the Amelia Tree Conservancy.

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Linda Bryant
Linda Bryant
2 months ago

This is just a bunch of people who have nothing better to do than get up in everyone’s business. I was one of the tree murders, First and foremost everyone that was all up in arms about this, had no idea what they were complaining to everyone in town about these precious trees. First I had a Sycamore Tree that I planted 30 years ago and it’s roots were going under my house, cut down. Second I had an elm tree again that I planted about 20 years ago it’s root destroyed my drive way. Thirdly, yes I have 1 oak tree which I had trimmed back off my roof, which is fairly new! One used Google Earth to look in our yards, that’s rather creepy rude. I’m not speaking for the others that had trees removed, that is their business, not mine. No one was so worried when they cut down all the trees to build all these housing developments. Wetlands destroyed, built over the old landfill. I am really disappointed that this article was published without even any facts. We didn’t have murders, robberies and all the other things going on like we do today. They need to worry about being a victim of a crime instead of worrying about trees that were never worried about getting cut down so they can live in their new homes, that once was all trees.

Lyn Pannone
2 months ago

In addition to the environmental benefits of trees such as absorbing water from rainfall, cooling temperatures with their shade and removing carbon from the air, mature trees increase the value of homes. We must stop destroying the trees that make this a beautiful and desirable place to live.

Linda Bryant
Linda Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  Lyn Pannone

This was a desirable place to live before they decided to make it like Jacksonville, if you were never in a hurricane count your blessings because I have been in many and these precious trees will snap like twigs. I could care less about your environmental theory when it affects the house I have to live in. The tree murderer decided that my house was more important than those two trees. The Spanish Moss is going to eventually kill them anyway.

Perry Anthony
2 months ago
Reply to  Lyn Pannone

I couldn’t agree with you more Lyn, and Linda certainly hasn’t got a clue.

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes
2 months ago

The city and county tree protection laws are quite weak and rarely enforced. We need to replace the commissioners who value personal desires over community good so that better laws are enacted.

Linda Bryant
Linda Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

This is the most ridiculous statement I have read. If I was a county commissioner I would certainly be offended by that remark, and I’m not part of the “woke” crowd.

Perry Anthony
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

Your absolutely correct. I’ve complained to the several WORTHLESS City Arborist we’ve had about cutting down numerous illegal trees in a vacant lot next door to my house in the downtown historic district and they’ve done NOTHING, because the owner is a business partner with City Commissioner Sturgess, and the land owner is Todd Ericksen of Amelia Sunrise Realty WHO IS VERY AWARE OF THE LOCAL TREE PROTECTION LAWS.

Rich Polk
Rich Polk
2 months ago

Men with chainsaws and trucks can be intimidating to older citizens, women and, children. When they use deceptive means to coerce people out of money it’s criminal behavior. Please report any suspicious tree removal activity in your local community to the authorities.

Linda Bryant
Linda Bryant
2 months ago
Reply to  Rich Polk

Once again another person who has no idea what he is talking about. They did not coerce anyone, they were contracted to do the job. You do know what ASSUME means. I am not senile and men with chainsaws do not intimidate me.

Rich Polk
Rich Polk
2 months ago
Reply to  Linda Bryant

Linda, sorry about your hard feelings about this. I believe that you trusted the tree cutters you hired. But, I was the victim of a high pressure tree cutting scam a few years back at my last home. This is a not unusual stuff. There really are some pretty crazy men with chainsaws that see money instead of trees.

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr.
2 months ago
Reply to  Linda Bryant

Sometimes people take advantage of their neighbors with chainsaws.

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