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Tampa's tree ordinance could be wiped out by state law

Posted at 4:54 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 17:41:12-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa's tree ordinance could be wiped out by a proposed state law if Governor DeSantis signs it.

Chelsea Johnson is part of that group and worked for months with builders to rewrite Tampa’s tree code.

It's called Tree Something, Say Something.

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Last month city leaders passed the revised ordinance.

“We had a celebratory dinner, and popped the Champagne and felt like our work was done," said Johnson.

But now a new bill in Tallahassee could wipe out the city’s authority when it comes to how and when trees are removed.

“It’s bad policy. It’s politics. It’s bad for our trees," said Johnson.

The state property rights bill includes a section barring local governments from regulating tree removal and replanting on private property if those trees are determined to be a danger by a licensed arborist.

But Chelsea says those licensed arborist aren’t always legitimate.

“In Tampa, not just South Tampa, but East Tampa, West Tampa, North Tampa. We need our trees to purify our air, soak up rain water," she said.

Chelsea says they have about two weeks before the Governor might sign the bill.

She’s hoping when he hears more about its effects. He will veto it.