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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TreeWatch appeals tree removal on Florida Avenue

Coconut Grove TreeWatch has put in an appeal to save the trees on Florida Avenue, The Historic Preservation Board has received the appeal. As you know, many trees are slated to removal in the name of progress and sidewalk improvement. We feel it is all about the money involved in some sort of scheme called the Silva Cell method. Each Silva Cell will cost $7500 and the more trees that are removed, the more Silva Cells will be placed under the sidewalks. Plus there is the cost of the new trees, which are additional. Cha Ching!

Now it is up to the Capital Improvement Department (the ones who applied for the tree removal permit on behalf of the Coconut Grove BID) to either hear the appeal at an upcoming HEP Board meeting or revise the plans and resubmit them for a new tree permit application.

An interesting thing came up at last week's Village Council meeting. It seems that David Collins, Village Council member, is co-chair of TreeWatch along with Liliana Dones, this is a sub-committee of the Village Council. Liliana was concerned about the fact that David is also head of the Coconut Grove BID, the very entity that wants the trees on Florida Avenue and other areas of the Grove removed (he calls it replacing them). And therein lies the issue: Who is right? Who is wrong?

It was decided that David should remain as co-chair of TreeWatch because he believes he is doing the correct thing by replacing the trees, which he feels are damaged or sick, Liliana feels that the trees should remain until they die on their own, which honestly could or could not happen and if it does happen, it could take 100 years, who knows?

The real issue of course is the sidewalks. The BID feels that they need to be fixed because errant bricks are being pushed up by tree roots and the almighty Silva Cells will fix this.

Donna Milo, who is running for Commission 2 Commission seat, brought up the topic of "sloping sidewalks" when asked about the tree removal method at the candidates forum last week. She felt it was crazy and wrong to remove the trees and thought that in order to fix the sidewalks in the areas where the tree roots are coming up through the brick sidewalks, a gentle sloping method, which is quite common is the answer. This would allow room for the roots to grow and protect the sidewalks from root intrusion.

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