Submitted by Lyn Pannone
Member of the Amelia Island Tree Conservancy and advocate for preserving canopy trees.
The County Commission chambers were standing room only when the revised Amelia Island tree ordinance was passed unanimously on April 22, 2013. People in attendance ranged from a newcomer couple who are in the process of buying a house here to fifth generation island native, Bailey Struss.
Public comments were unanimous in support of the proposed ordinance and began by
reviewing the chronology of events leading up to the vote.
We tried to save the majestic, old oak trees in Amelia City. County staff had
suggested site modifications and I had personally appealed to the property owner.
But on Monday, January 21, the trees were destroyed. There were some that could
have been left standing but the property owner said it was their right to get rid of
them. That is true. But just because something is legal, doesn’t mean it’s right
The public was very angry and still is. Commissioner Leeper asked the
Growth Management director, Peter King to draft a revised tree ordinance so
this wouldn’t happen again. A truly collaborative process between county staff,
members of the public, arborists, attorneys, real estate professionals and the
Planning and Zoning Board began.
We need this ordinance because the trees are some of the most precious assets on
Amelia Island. Tourism depends heavily on the natural beauty of the island. Real
Estate values and sales are affected significantly by the presence of our trees. The
Nassau county tax base is dependent on both and we need to protect our tax base.
There are many environmental reasons why trees need to be preserved, as well.
Amelia Tree Conservancy, a citizens group formed as a result of the tree destruction.
Its mission is to preserve the tree canopy, increase public awareness and plant more
trees. For more information on ATC, email:[email protected].
April 23, 2013 4:00 p.m.