Commission Meeting Agenda Item
Consideration of the mitigation proposal for irreparable harm to a historic tree at the 7-Eleven construction site located at 995 N. Highway 27/441, identified by Alternate Key Number 1237998.
Staff Recommended Motion
Staff’s recommendation would be to impose a $4,000 fine; that would be a $100 per inch fine as would have been required for the variance, along with a replanting proposal that the Town Commission is satisfied with.
On Monday, June 7, 2021, the Town Commission was presented with Resolution 2021-104, a variance request which was filed by M & L Lady Lake, LLC to remove a historic tree being 40 inches in diameter in accordance with the Provisions of Chapter 10, Section 10-5. C). 3). A)., of the Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations. The tree was requested to be removed to allow for the construction of a 7-Eleven convenience store, a gas canopy, and a car wash to be built at 995 North Highway 27/441. At that meeting, the variance request was denied by a vote of 3-2.
Following the meeting, Jessie Heiny, P.E. of Florida Engineering and Surveying made a modification to the design of the site as a result of not being granted the variance to remove the tree. A revision to the site plan was submitted to the Growth Management Department and on October 4, 2021, the Town Commission approved MJSP 03/21-001 to allow for the development of the property. As part of the development proposal, existing structures on the property needed to be demolished. On January 20, 2022, the contractor for the project obtained a demolition permit to begin work on the property. In error, the demolition plans that were provided to the contractor were not the updated plans that were approved to save the historic tree. As a result, the contractor damaged the tree to a degree in which the tree would not recover if left to grow on the property. In a letter dated January 27, 2022, ISA Certified Arborist William Needham, Jr., which stated his findings regarding the trees condition. His conclusion was that the tree should be removed.
If the variance to remove the tree would have been granted in June of 2021, the mitigation fee required would have been $4,000. The amount is derived from requiring $100 per inch for the diameter of the tree at breast height.
Staff’s recommendation would be to impose a $4,000 fine; that would be a $100 per inch fine as would have been required for the variance. In addition, based upon the determination of a landscape architect, options should be provided as to what replacement specie or species should be planted. The Land Development Regulations state that 3 trees should be provided for the replacement of a tree removed of 36” or greater. Replacement in accordance with the code could be met by planting three canopy trees, or replacement with a larger caliper in lieu of three separate trees may be the preference of the Town Commission. Town code requires that Trees shall have a minimum height of fifteen (15) feet at time of planting or shall have a minimum caliper of four (4) inches and be no less than twelve (12) feet at time of planting.
Due to the fact that the tree’s removal was not deliberate in nature, and the applicant has already expended additional money to redesign the site to save the tree, staff feels that the $4,000 fee should suffice as an appropriate penalty in addition to a replanting proposal that the Town Commission is satisfied with.
Source of Funding