A Group Of Jacksonville City Council Members Oppose State Tree Regulation Legislation

Dec 1, 2017

Jacksonville City Council member John Crescimbeni says a state measure taking some local control away regarding tree regulation is an insult and he’s introduced a city resolution opposing it.

Identical state bills introduced by Plantation Democratic Rep. Katie Edwards (D-Plantation), and Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota), say local governments wouldn’t be allowed to prohibit landowners from trimming or removing trees on their own property. Local governments also couldn’t require landowners to plant new trees or pay fees for removing trees.

Certain trees in Jacksonville are currently protected (see the city charter here) from improper trimming or removal. Crescimbeni wants fellow council members to join him in his opposition.

“We have a long history of being very interested in tree protection in Duval County and for the state of Florida to suggest that they know better is rather insulting to me,” he said.

He said take for instance year 2000 when 76 percent of Duval voters updated the city’s charter to establish minimum standards for tree protection. Among the changes was a mitigation requirement for the loss of protected trees, like live oaks, during development. There’s also a permitting process for tree removal.

Related: Jacksonville Environmental Group: City Settlement A Win For Tree Canopy

A recent update to city law created a tree commission. “It strengthens the ordinance code with regard to penalties for the removal of trees without permit or penalties on different specific premium specimen trees, that kind of stuff,” Crescimbeni said.

Councilmembers Anna Lopez Brosche, Matt Schellenberg, Jim Love and Tommy Hazouri are co-sponsoring Crescimbeni’s newly-introduced resolution opposing the proposed state law.

Crescimbeni said he plans to soon give the resolution to local state lawmakers in hopes they’ll fight against the measure in Tallahassee.

Photo used under Creative Commons.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride