Celebrate freedom by planting a tree on your residential property!
The Florida State Legislature passed and the Governor signed a bill effective July 1, 2019 requiring that:
(1) A local government may not require a notice, application, approval,
permit, fee, or mitigation for the pruning, trimming, or removal of a tree on residential property if the property owner obtains documentation from an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture or a Florida licensed landscape architect that the tree presents a danger to persons or property.
(2) A local government may not require a property owner to replant a
tree that was pruned, trimmed, or removed in accordance with this section.
As a practical matter, this means you no longer need a City of Winter Park permit to prune or remove a tree on your residential property, and you can no longer be required to replant when you remove trees.
I studied and expended considerable energy over the past twelve years devising, implementing, and monitoring a city tree removal policy that was both fair to property owners and that sought to maintain the tree canopy on private property. I also expended considerable energy defending Home Rule authority for our city in the face of attempts by the State to pre-empt such authority. This new State law silences much of those efforts.
But I am not particularly disappointed, and here’s why.
Tree policy has always been cast in extremes; it’s the “irrational tree huggers” against the “evil, selfish tree killers.” But, the reality is that no one chooses to live in Winter Park because they dislike trees. They live in Winter Park because they enjoy the natural aspects of the environment we have nurtured and planned over more than 100 years.
This State law frees us from argument and sets each of us free to set an example rather than impose a law.
Fran and Pete Weldon have planted 3 live oaks and 1 magnolia at 700 Via Lombardy over 30 years of residency, as well as several under story trees.
Let this be the first entry in a voluntary registry of home owners who have planted trees. Let the registry be published each year by the city as a community reminder that the residents of Winter Park value their trees. Let the free acts of responsible citizens deliver what no law can ever assure.
We celebrate Trees for Peace each year. Let’s celebrate Trees for Freedom too.
Regards, Pete Weldon