A Tolerant Tree Policy

Sheila DeCiccio recently sent a city wide email struggling in over 1,000 words to explain how your city can stop you from removing trees on your property.

Some people want to believe trees on your property belong to them. These people concoct complicated rules and penalties related to tree removals in an effort to stop you from removing trees. There is a much simpler approach, tolerance.

The only objective of a local tree removal policy should be to encourage replanting when a property owner wishes to remove healthy trees.

Pete’s proposed Winter Park Tree Removal Ordinance (87 words):

  1. A permit is required to remove trees.
  2. A property owner can remove any tree on their property where 50% or more of the trunk of such tree is not within a city right of way.
  3. As compensation for lost canopy, a property owner, at their option; (1) will plant one 3 inch DBH or greater tree or (2) pay $250 to the city tree fund for each healthy tree removed having a 9 inch DBH or greater.
  4. The city arborist may wave any part of the compensation.

My basis for this simple policy is as follows:

  • Reasonable compensation encourages cooperation and supports the city wide tree canopy.
  • Residential builders and realtors understand that trees increase property values.
  • The people of Winter Park spend about $2,000,000 per year maintaining over 25,000 trees in city right of ways and on other public property because we value trees.
  • Most property owners plant trees voluntarily and most people move to Winter Park because they like trees. There are over 50,000 trees on private property in Winter Park.
  • There is no credible basis to restrict property owners who would prefer not to have a particular tree or trees on their property.

Please encourage the city commission to adopt a simple and tolerant tree removal policy.

Regards, Pete Weldon


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