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Community activists upset after crews remove dozens of trees on W Gandy Blvd.

Crews removed trees from a property on Gandy Blvd.
Posted at 10:46 PM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 23:18:16-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Community activists said they are disgusted to see so many trees being removed from a mobile home park on West Gandy Boulevard in Tampa.

Crews cut down and removed at least 30 trees from the property on Monday.

Community activists with Tree Something, Say Something are upset to see crews remove so many trees.

"Once these trees are gone, there's no glue that's manufactured that puts these trees back together again" said Sandra Friend Bates with Tree Something, Say Something.

City officials with the Planning and Development Department said the city received a complaint about the removal of trees on Monday.

Code enforcement went out to the property and issued a citation for removing trees without city permit. Later, city officials received a report from a certified arborist.

"I believe that this is testing the heart and spirit of what that legislation was supposed to do," said Chelsea Johnson with Tree Something, Say Something.

The governor signed a new law that bans cities from regulating the removal of a tree on private property if a license arborist determines the tree poses a danger.

"That preempts local governments from preventing people from removing trees that are documented by a certified arborist that they present a danger," said Jonathan Lee, Owner of Miller and Sons Tree Service.

Lee said his crews are removing dangerous trees from the property.

"I think the new state law gives a lot of responsibility to certified arborist to determine what could be a threat to somebody," he added.

According to the arborist report, "The trees were not well maintained within this community over the years and many of the trees are damaging some of the mobile homes already due to the aggressive leans or close proximity."

City officials said it would seek further direction from its legal department regarding the interpretation of the new law.

"Can’t put the trees back together," said Johnson.