WUFT News

Alachua Property Owners Fined For Tree Cutting Violations

By on March 31st, 2014

A 55-acre property in Alachua, Fla., was at the center of a recent code violation. During the weekend of March 15 and 16, more than 15 trees were cut down on the property without a permit, and the city of Alachua was alerted to the violation.

unnamed

LoopNet.com/ WUFT News

The property, which is valued at $1.8 million, is located on U.S. Highway 441 and stretches to the CSX Railway. It lies between Waste Pro and the Phoenix Warehouse.

Robert Rush — the Alachua city attorney’s brother — and Tom R. Sperring and Associates own the property, which is currently on the market.

Rush said Sperring contracted with Gaston Tree Service to examine some pines on the land in question that were in poor health. These pines were recommended to be cleared as part of a forestry plan that Sperring and Associates had arranged with Forest Conservation Planning Services, LLC., and in accordance with the Florida Forest Service.

According to Rush, Gaston employees were later stranded on the property when the gate the crew originally entered through was locked. In order to get out, he said the workers cut down 15 of the old pines to access a different driveway.

A witness to the operation reported the violation to the city’s code enforcement department. When a department representative reached the property, the Gaston crew stopped cutting immediately and voluntarily.

Because of the crew’s compliance, the resulting $1,500 fine was from a failure to adhere to standard procedures more than it was a punitive action, or as Alachua’s Assistant City Manager Adam Boukari said, “putting the cart before the horse.”

Following the fine, Sperring and Associates then arranged a settlement in which they paid off the fine and, to prevent future code violations, classified the property as a a “bona fide commercial forestry operation,” Boukari said.

On March 20, less than a week after the initial violation, Alachua City Manager Tracy Cain signed the settlement exempting Sperring and Associates from section 6.2 of the city’s land development regulations.

Though the violation was resolved, Rush said he and the rest of the property’s owning group may file a suit against the person that locked the gate. Although Rush could not confirm the identity of the person that locked the gate, he said he believed it was an individual he’d had confrontations with in the past.


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Hima Layan

    Here’s an inexpensive resource, formatted for smartphones, that is useful for educating younger people on the basic ideas of Western civilization: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

 

More Stories in Environment

Bert the bluff oak resides outside the Nuclear Science Center on the University of Florida campus. Plans to construct the Innovation Nexus Building in that area for the College of Engineering have gone through several variations in order to save him and four other heritage trees in the area.

For Trees Like Bert, Special Titles Do Not Always Guarantee Special Protections

The Florida Champion Tree Register recognizes the largest tree in the state of each noninvasive species. It’s the next step of recognition up from heritage tree status, like that of Bert, the bluff oak that has affected plans for the Innovation Nexus Building at UF.


Noaa Hurr Forecast 2015

NOAA: Inactive Season Likely, Officials Aren’t Swayed

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a seasonal hurricane forecast. WUFT Meteorologist Marithza Calderon says it’s no surprise that they say we could be in for another inactive season.


Gulf Shores

Once Vilified, BP Now Getting Credit For Gulf Tourism Boom

The once vilified BP is now being commended for its efforts in helping to attract visitors back to the Gulf Coast. The oil company is spending more than $230 million in its efforts.


fruit drop

Citrus Greening Continues To Plague Florida Orange Groves

Described as one of the worst diseases to ever hit Florida orange groves, citrus greening is costing the state’s general fund $5.75 million. If the disease is not curbed it could be detrimental to Florida’s agriculture and economy.


Tri-State Group Unanimously Backs Plan For River System

Fifty-six people from Florida, Georgia and Alabama unanimously approved of a new sustainable water management plan. They issued their recommendations even as Florida sues Georgia, with Florida’s government arguing that too much water is being siphoned off upstream.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments