I've been privileged to serve on my local Planning & Zoning Board for three years now, and I get a real sense of contributing to my community by participating in this kind of public service. However, I do have conflicts now and again, trying to do what's right for the people and now is one of those times.
We are reviewing the plans for a redevelopment project on six acres along the Florida East Coast Railway. The project, The G Resort, is an "exclusive" hotel/time share for the gay and lesbian community. Now, I live in Wilton Manors, the No. 6 Destination within the U.S. for the LGBT market and we have no other hotel, so this would be a real boon to the City's tax revenue and to the local business community.
However. There are 21 slash pines estimated to be 60+ years old and they would have to be removed to complete the project according to the plans currently under consideration. A native specimen, slash pines are protected trees in Florida, so the developers will be required to get a permit to remove them and then they'll be required to "mitigate." You see, unlike live oaks and gumbo limbos, slash pines don't relocate well. They actually don't relocate at all. They have very sensitive root systems and don't transfer successfully.
Someone please tell me! How do you "mitigate" for 21 beautiful Florida trees? Why don't they build around them? Don't they know that these slash pines are exclusive to south Florida and are the main component of the pine flatwoods ecosystem found here? This southern variety of the slash pine is also known as the Dade County pine. The unusually dense and relatively sap free wood was commonly used by the early settlers of Dade County to build their log cabins. The 1912 Viele House in Davie was built of this wood and stands strong today, almost a hundred years later.
Would it cost any more to save some of these trees than making that silly "lazy river" that's on the plans? These trees are the epitome of "old Florida" and the developers don't seem to have given a second thought to just killing them! I just don't understand ... (scratches head)
Regardless of what your sexual orientation is, wouldn't you just love to sit on a comfortable chair beneath these tall, shady trees and sip a cool drink and listen to the sounds of finches, mockingbirds, cardinals and orioles? Wouldn't that be a lovely experience to have? Now, that would be worth something ...