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Palm Coast’s Disappearing Canopy

| March 29, 2019

Development’s maw. (© FlaglerLive)

The windows in my favorite room of the house overlook our front yard and a long row of undeveloped lots. I was getting ready to read a few pages in there with a barrel of coffee before dawn the other morning when I heard strange clanking noises. A huge flatbed truck was depositing a portable toilet on the other side of the street. I was groggy. I may have been hallucinating. Then  the recent life of that lot flashed before my eyes: the for-sale sign going up. The sign showing it was sold. A visit by surveyors. The obliteration of the lot could not be far behind. Portable toilets are the scouts of construction crews.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive Days later another flatbed truck dropped the excavator. The excavator dropped all the trees in two days. A bulldozer flattened the lot and truckloads of fill. It was shocking how quickly the character of the street changed. Eleven years we’d loved those wooded lots, thinking they’d always be there the way someone with a view on a mountain or the ocean thinks they’ll always be there. At heart we knew it couldn’t last. Developers can move mountains.

And they have been moving them in Palm Coast at a pace not seen since before the Great Recession. In January alone the city issued 79 single-family construction permits, more by far than in any month in at least 10 years except for last October, when it issued 81. It issued 800 last year, or nearly as many as were issued in the six years between 2008 and 2013 combined. That’s the equivalent of nearly 9 million square feet of woods, gone. One of those permits was for the lot across the street. I tried buying the lot myself to keep it green, but the seller wanted a couple of thousand dollars more than I was ready to pay. Now I regret it..

I’m not begrudging SeaGate Homes, the builder putting up what will be somebody’s dreamhouse as much as our own was to us. Ours once obliterated its quarter-acre the exact same way, and was followed by the same parade of laborers we’re now seeing across the street every morning, each crew in turn like a different song to itself: “The floor-men are laying the floor, the tinners are tinning the roof, the masons are calling for mortar.” The Realtors are counting their chickens. There is beauty in construction, too, in the spaces being created, the hearths to come. I have no right to object. That doesn’t mean I can’t mourn what we’re losing.

We find our Walden ponds where we can even when there is no pond. Ours was across the street in that thick cosmos of green, its immense trees swaying worrisomely on wuthering days, its underbrush and canopy the marketplace of deer and turtles and snakes and a thousand birds, or the stage on muggy nights of a thousand frogs putting on their impressions of a thousand Kissingers. We don’t realize the breadth of our neighborhood symphonies until they’re gone. There are still several untouched lots next to the razed one, but now it’s as if the entire woodwind section was silenced.

Click On:

Our street suddenly feels naked, ourselves and the row of houses on the other side of the woods both exposed to each other by the obliteration. My impulse is to cover my windows as I never would have before, trees being the most discreet neighbors. For 11 years I’d never let myself imagine that there were actual houses so near. I knew they were there, our neighborhood is no different than any other, our houses are all arranged like barracks on an army base but for those wooded lots, those intrusions of a disappearing nature. But as long as those trees were there I could imagine them as endless as our own corner of the Amazon. Of course the Amazon is getting leveled too, so it was a matter of time before our corner should be.

There’s an obvious difference between Palm Coast neighborhoods that have been fully leveled and developed, where trees are like fugitives and a weird, sun-baked stillness prevails, as in Vegas suburbs, and those like ours where a quarter of the lots are still untouched, where the wind whistles through a million pine needles, where there’s shade on every street and an ecosystem on every block. It’s nature’s living history. That’s what’s being lost, and with it a sense of place that’s more rooted than concrete. I can understand why they panic in the Hammock every time someone wants to build something. Replacement is not preservation, and preservation is not luxury or exclusion, though it’s often made to seem that way. It’s the last buffer between balance with our surroundings–and in no small way within ourselves–and outright subjugation of our environment to our more immediate, grasping impulses.

So it’s not the development I begrudge. It’s the the carpet-bombing that precedes it, that unsparing leveling of 11,000 square feet to make room for a 2,000 square foot house. It seems wasteful, more for the sake of builders’ convenience than dwellers’ necessity. It doesn’t have to be a choice between a kill zone and a Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. But right now, in this place that calls itself Tree City year after year, our codes still favor carpet-bombing first, planting later. It seems to me those codes are out of date, out of step with our ecological needs, if not with the city’s own image of itself. I don’t think we have to destroy the woods to save them.

Let there be houses. But let’s not completely lose what attracted us here in the first place. Palm Coast’s canopy rules could use a little re-greening.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam. A version of this piece aired on WNZF.

FlaglerLive doesn’t grow on trees, these days least of all. Help preserve your community’s independent, non-profit journalism. Make a tax-deductible contribution today.

A room with a view. (© FlaglerLive)

A room with a view. (© FlaglerLive)

71 Responses for “Palm Coast’s Disappearing Canopy”

  1. Ritchie says:

    It is happening every where. I am in the W section and was looking at trees for 17 years. They’re gone.
    There is a house where they used to be.

    And thinking about it, there used to be some magnificent trees where my house is now.
    And trees are going down on every street and road.
    What’s your cure?

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      As noted in the piece, the kill ratio is out of kilter. Don’t level every tree on an 11,000 square foot lot to make room for a 2,000 square foot footprint. Empty backyards may be great. But put the burden on the homeowner to justify and uproot what’s left, within stricter tree-preserving rules. It’s not either or, but clear-cutting should no longer be the way.

  2. Dave says:

    If you like clean air and good oxygen levels, then leave the trees

  3. Kendall says:

    My neighborhood is suffering a similar fate. Two homes under construction and another lot cleared this week and I’m sad too.

  4. Doug A says:

    The house we bought had an oak tree planted right by the power pole, Realtor said city would have to ok removal. City employee came out said we would have to plant 3 trees. Gave us a list of trees and told us the diameter at the base and they had to be a minimum of 7 feet tall. That cost us over $600. Builders are allowed to clear cut lots and plant 1 or 2 four foot tall $20 twigs from Home Depot and get away with it.

  5. HayRide says:

    Remember you need a good distance between the eoods snd a structure, if there were every another firestorm, its a shame but it got to be cleared.

  6. Percy's mother says:

    I feel your pain (and remorse for not coughing up a bit more $$ to buy that lot so as to keep it the way it was).

    There are those in this world who value such simple things as trees, the different sounds the wind creates as it blows through the trees, the wildlife that inhabits the trees and the underbrush, and the buffer created by an undeveloped piece of land. These people (including me) are the minority in this world (aka “sensitives”). We are not understood by those who prefer to just bulldoze everything in sight and trample on the pristine without a thought. It can be very painful to be a “sensitive”.

    My hope is that at least your new neighbors will treat their new home and land with as much honor and reverence as did the former residents (the trees and the wildlife).

    Hopefully (but I don’t think it will happen) developers will evolve to a point where it becomes commonplace to use some thought and preservation in their building practices.

  7. BILL NELSON says:

    I am a moderate Republican, but, profit above all else is poison. There leaves no room for the birds, animals, and worse, FRESH AIR. It is time that EVERYONE start being concerned about our environment, and put pressure on our elected officials to share in our concerns. Regardless of “party affiliation”, we have only ONE EARTH.

  8. Outside Looking Out says:

    Well Pierre,
    Despite our differences, your article here made me kind of sad and I agree that there should be more of a balance. The same thing happened to me and to add insult to injury, I got terrible neighbors. Eventually I moved and have a small oasis in the rear of my yard but I’m sure it’s days are numbered.
    I hope you get good neighbors and also I want to tell you that the wildlife that was there must go somewhere so you and yours keep a close eye out, especially for pygmy rattlers!

  9. Check again says:

    I think you should look at what builders can actually plant. Call the building department, check city codes. It is clear what they can plant and how many. Just check is all I’m saying.

  10. Paul C Pritchard says:

    This editorial and the replies represent the lament of such a waste. I bought a home and tried to buy adjacent property, but the owners knew I wanted to preserve my viewshed, my memory of why I moved to Palm Coast. The city has no plans and doesn’t enforce our codes. And soon we will look like Ft. Lauderdale or every other place, exactly why we move here and not there..
    The solution? Other cities have solved it, with developers/homeowners paying a fee to have trees planted, with citizens working to get more trees in the ground for every tree lost. The elected officials should put forth a plan. This is our home and our community. Why else are “elected officials” put in positions of trust and foresight?

  11. PeachesMcGee says:

    Palm Coast was once a planned forest. The pines we love aren’t suited for residences. They’re too tall, too thin, and don’t live long. The developer only plants the bare minimum required, which I believed is two trees per lot, approved trees of course.

    See a new house and neighbors? Go visit, introduce yourself, and give them some nice saplings to plant.

    These are the recommended trees:

    Florida Red Maple
    Shumard Oak
    Live Oak
    Red Bay
    Red Cedar
    Date Palms
    Sabal Palms* (groups of 3)
    River Birch

  12. Bobby says:

    I think there isn’t a problem with the home builders. The problem is with the Palm Coast Code enforcement. We wanted to build a house and save the trees on the lot, but the Palm Coast city code enforcement told us that we must clear the whole lot (including cutting all trees). The people of Palm Coast must force the City of Palm Coast to prohibit tree cutting.

  13. Old Guy says:

    After Hurricane Matthew a lot of power outages were caused by pine trees on undeveloped lots. My next door neighbor had a pine from the undeveloped lot behind my house tall on theirs and it caused significant damage. I had a lot of fence damage from another pine on the same lot as it shed some large branches. I removed all the pines from my lot after the 2004 hurricanes and I’m glad I did. I’ve thought about buying that lot but it’s too expensive. I’ll be glad to see it cleared.

  14. Tony Romano says:

    Where was the concern when they were building your house, or everybody elses for that mater. seems it only became a problem when it disturbed your little Waldon’s pond. Now suddenly the town has to change the rules for everyone else.LOL

  15. Catherine says:

    “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot”

  16. Mark says:

    I thought you said nobody could afford to own a house in Palm Coast.

  17. John Kent says:

    Funny to read such an amateur piece. Every sentence screams of poor understanding of things.

    First of all, stop demanding government come and do something! So ridiculous. Still need mother and father? You want trees? Plant them. Builders are required to plant 4 trees. Half of them won’t even survive. But STOP enforcing your minute ideas on everyone else. Some like trees while other enjoy clean cut grass, yet others like gardening with raised beds and so on. We don’t need government to tell us what and when to do things and fine us for all those stupid things. None of YOUR business! What is not a crime should not be forbidden. So tell me Pierre, how many trees have you planted? None? Still waiting on Code Enforcement to tell you to do it!

    Second, when you root rake those 2000 sq ft of house footprint the roots of other trees will be damaged and within 2-4 years new homeowner will have to deal with dead trees on the property and, come high winds, damaged house. Liability anyone? That’s why they require the whole lot cleared. If property was larger that would not be an issue.

    And as a bonus, here is an very decent idea for an article….Please write about how City of Palm Coast don’t require builders to survey lots for protected wild life like gopher tortoise. Builders destroy great number of them in Palm Coast every year. What City says you ask? Oh, unless someone comes forward with the knowledge of turtle living in that particular lot they don’t bother! Good friend of mine had literally to fight to save a turtle last year. It’s the government that commits crimes.

    If somebody likes government to tell them what day of the week they could hammer nails into the walls there is Europe for that!

  18. Facts says:

    If the legislature has it there way. You may find yourself living nextdoor to a vacation rental with no regulations. Unlimited occupancy changing daily. Go to now!

  19. JAG24 says:

    It’s very hard to save trees during construction. The finished floor elevations of the homes need to be higher than the crown of the road to prevent them from flooding. Because the preferred and best method of construction is a monolithic concrete slab, substantial fill dirt is required. Every yard needs to be designed so it drains back to front to get the storm water runoff into the front yard Swale, which means even more fill dirt. If you fill more than a few inches over the root system of a tree, it will kill it.

  20. Jimmy r says:

    I was planning on buying a lot and building a home in palm coast. But the clear cut lot rule changed my mind. The lot i had picked out had nice pines and palms, enough peaceful private retreat could have been. But i wasnt going to clear cut a beantiful lot of trees for a 1500 sq ft home! I am currently looking at lots at new symna area, much nicer where you are only required to cut the minimum amount of trees and foliage at the Owners choice! Palm coast lots are now barren and not very nice looking.

  21. The Giving Tree says:

    My once quiet street has added 16 new houses over the past year. I had the same reaction as you did when last year I saw the signs go up in the lot next door. The tall pines that danced when the wind blew were gone. The sun peeping through the trees landing a golden canopy on my yard vanished in one hour. Instead now I see a plain concrete wall. And now a small standard magnolia tree is the only tree taking the space where 100s of other trees stood tall. Not to mention the wildlife misplaced. A gopher tortoise had a burrow in those woods. That turtle was a staple in our yard for 9 years. However I acted and contacted the city, who then contacted the appropriate people to excavate the turtles home. Gopher turtles are endangered and must be relocated. It didnt stop the inevitable but it delayed the building by 6 months and thankfully the turtle and her babies were safely relocated.
    The same thing that attracts people here is the same thing that is being destroyed. Palm Coast is a beautiful city. After all it was the quaint, peaceful,nature filled town that attracted me here 15 years ago. I get it. That’s why people want to move here. It’s certainly not the high paying jobs that dont exist that attract people. But keep all this up and Palm Coast is on a super fast track to being the same crappy over priced, dirty, angry city that everyone is escaping from. :(

  22. Concerned Citizen says:

    Builders seem immune to Code Enforcement. I guess when you have money to line pockets what’s a stand of trees?

    After Matthew and Irma we had trees that needed to be removed. We cut one down without permission and got a nasty gram on our door for our troubles. Keep in mind it was a pine with limbs barely hanging.

    The second time a tree was severely damaged we followed protocol. We called the City Of Palm Coast and had an arborist come out. He then determined the tree worthy of cutting and marked it. He then explained that one would have to be planted to replace it. Afterwords we received an inspection to verify.

    I have noticed that Palm Coast is a city of double standards. What’s good for the goose is not good for the gander. You can have a bright yellow house on the end of the street but I can’t bring a work vehicle with no ladder rack home during the evening to save myself a 35 min commute and to handle after hours emergencies in a 24/7 industry.

    Rules like that made me glad to move out to the country.

  23. Chris Howell says:

    I think Joni Mitchell said it best.

    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    Till it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot

  24. saddened says:

    This makes me so sad and depressed. Greed has and is destroying Florida so quickly that it takes my breath away – and not in a good way. People wonder why it’s so hot here, well cutting down every living thing so the developers don’t have to make that extra effort is one of the reasons. And all the strip malls are disgusting. They let them get away with planting little sticks in the parking lots and then don’t water or take care of them, ensuring they never get big enough to provide any shade. If by chance the poor things manage to survive and grow, they have “landscapers” trim them to death. Ever notice how people fight to park under the one tree in any of the parking lots? Palm Coast touts itself as a tree city, yet they are rapidly cutting them all down. Anyone who grew up here in the 70’s and before will remember when Palm Coast was a beautiful area with oak hammocks and beautiful forests. Now what’s left is a haven for perverts and/or homeless camps. There is no reason to clear cut a lot to build a house. It’s greed, pure and simple. God forbid we should have to rake those nasty leaves or put out any effort at all after a hurricane. Why can’t the utilities be put underground instead of continually “rebuilding” electric poles and cable lines above ground? They never learn. Money. It’s all about money.

  25. Charles Andrew Chapman says:

    Sad to hear. Clear cutting is totally not necessary. My home at 2031 S Daytona Ave in Flagler Beach is wooded. Put up a 3600 square foot building and only took out 9 trees to do it. And just in case you want the woods at the beach. It’s for sale….lol. On Zillow! Cheers and Have the Trees….!

  26. Fredrick says:

    Leave the trees and move the homeless in from Library. Pierre you can provide a soup kitchen for them. Perhaps have them mow your yard, babysit the kids as payment.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I agree 100% , every time I see a lot taken down I wonder how the wildlife is doing or where they are going. My street was quiet for 14/15 years now 8-10 vehicles in and out per minute many times where it used to be 2 or 3 , on Freneau off of Frenora it used to be many lots where u could walk your dog and look at the wooden lots and wildlife running around now I am looking st multiple duplexes which each duplex having at least two vehicles in each driveway,. The tranquility is gone , the joy of mediating walking down this area is gone. Sadly , I think it’s time to move on and spend my remaining years someplace similar to where I was spending it at the start of 15 years ago

  28. Brian says:

    WHATEVER, Rudyard Kipling Junior. Maybe they’ll build a mosque down the street so you don’t have to walk so far.

  29. Jane Kranz says:

    Beautifully written piece. I feel your sadness at the loss of those trees. Trees are nature’s truest tranquilizers and fill us with the deepest sense of who we are. If we wanted to live in an urban jungle most likely that’s where we’d live. Loss of nature is devastating our beautiful state, city and planet.

  30. Willy Boy says:

    Our pioneering forefathers didn’t instill tree hugging in the generations that followed. It was kill all the buffalo and every last passenger pigeon. They clear-cut the mountains around Lake Tahoe to shore-up the Comstock mines. It’s the ‘merican way. Wagons Ho!

  31. Violet says:

    I had 26 beautiful, glorious Live Oaks on my property, and Matthew killed each and every one of them. All that’s left are the stumps. My own property has become a barren wasteland. So I feel your pain. My dream is to be out in the middle of 5 acres somewhere surrounded by trees.

  32. Agkistrodon says:

    ALL ABOUT THE TAXES! And pay attention folks, you will be seeing wildlife at times you never have as they push these animals out. But hey maybe they can leave some canopy for the Homeless……………

  33. Md says:

    You are certainly welcome to spend that ” couple of thousand” you had not spent on trees which you could then donate to the city.

  34. Wayne says:

    Move out to the country where you won’t be able to throw a stone and hit your neighbors house!

  35. Chris S says:

    Yes, NIBY ( after of course I tear out the trees to build MY property).
    Anyone decrying the environmental conditions, should have stayed home.
    But wait! The core of engineers dug up canals for you folks to live on in “sailboat country”

  36. kc says:

    We wanted to buy the lot next door to leave it in it’s beautiful, natural state. We were unable to reach an agreement with the owner. Eventually, a house was built and we ended up with the nicest neighbors anyone could hope for. You never know.

  37. capt says:

    I feel your pain and its sad but at least you have some living trees left in you’re neighborhood. After Mathew over in Marineland Acres all of our hardwoods are dead, left standing like pillars of solitude as some reminder of what occurred. All that remained was palms. Some responsible home owners and lot owners cut the dead wood down. Others left these fire hazard eye sores to remain. The county will not do anything to enforce these lot owners to remove these dead trees. They are widow makers waiting for the next big blow, they are fire hazards and they devalue the properties around them.

  38. wow says:

    Does anyone look at the impact on drainage? Lots of areas flood now in Palm Coast. With development needs to come increased drainage plans.

  39. C’mon man says:

    Eventually all of Palm Coast will be delevoped and built on with homes and businesses. The cows on U.S1 will be replaced with car dealerships and and stores. It’s a matter of time so accept it. This quite little retirement town everyone wants and moves to will be gone.

  40. Brian says:

    Not just here. Drive around Lake County, look for an orange grove. They were killed in the 80’s and never replanted. Land was more valuable. Waiting for the lots around me to go. Glad I am 66 and don’t have much more time here. Salt water is nasty but we will have to figure out how to drink it.

  41. Charlie says:

    I think that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.

    A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
    Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

    A tree that looks at God all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

    A tree that may in summer wear
    A nest of robins in her hair;

    Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
    Who intimately lives with rain.

    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

  42. palmcoaster says:

    Thank you Pierre for this sad and realistic editorial looks like finally the deforestation of Palm Coast hit you also close to home. In our arrival in 1991 Palm Coast was shaded by the greenest canopy all around us that also muffler the traffic noise of I-95. Our city never intended incorporation government type we got with Netts – Landon in a demagogue way to uproot our all our towering oaks in Palm Coast parkway for which our citizen watch dog and tree preservationist took the city to court trying to stop them “unsuccesfully” : Citizen McDonald was right as usual as all our canopy of oaks is now gone in spite of the city and others lying accusation of his “false and misleading” allegations that were not false or misleading. The duo then also approved the demolition of a Palm Harbor shopping center built by ITT with shaded promenades that promoted city events and protected residents of the scorching FL sun replaced by unnatractive big box retailers and headache maze parking that we endure today., Only Publix preserved its overhang. Now also the unobstructed (for lack of tree canopy) traffic noise of I-95 can wake us up at night as far as Club House Drive. When is the city going to ask the Florida DOT to install traffic noise reduction panels like in its Jacksonville and south Florida areas in I-95 by Palm Coast around the Palm Coast Parkway corridor, so we can regain some peace and quiet? Very sad to see our urban forest and wildlife killed, removed or destroyed more by humans at the helm, than by hurricanes. My appreciation today to citizen McDonald for fighting so hard and unfortunately unsuccessfully to preserve our Oaks and also to all those residents that spend on their trees healthy trimming versus uprooting them to preserve their shade and to Pierre for this editorial. Thank you all.
    And yest to the Chris S and others here, Levitt-ITT in the late 60’s dug a swamp land acquired and build canals but that was way before most of us arrived here. So now we have the right to try and preserve what still can be saved. Negative comments about us today do not help to solve anything.

  43. Trailer Bob says:

    Gee, I feel so bad for y’all in Palm Coast. What do you expect when you decide to live in an almost gated community and want all your streets cleaned and trees maintained and no one trespassing on your property and no one who looks shady, or black, or etc, etc, etc. Those of us who live in the country can only laugh at people like you Pierre. Remember, If you do not purchase all the lots around you, you cannot be guaranteed who you neighbors will be, or what they will or not cut down. It is called county (trees, animals, personal gun range, horses and the like). You all made your personal choices. Funny how people want the door to stay open, until they get in and then scream to shut the door. What did you expect when you bought a over-sized home on a postage stamp lot. Do you homework next time “before” you make a permanent move.

  44. Born and Raised Here says:

    Palm Coast was developed as 47 thousand acre of land and commercial development, with the purpose of lots to be sold, and homes to be built. If you don’t like the intention of that type of life style, then Palm Coast is not for you.

  45. rogerdave says:

    Seminole woods? What woods? its almost gone! Seminole waste land now thanks to all the clear cutting. This place looks like barron desert developements from Texas! Wildlife gone! shade trees gone! Beauftiful sabel palms gone! Clear a 10000 ft. Lot for a 1600 sq.ft home and ruin the environment? Most city developments would be proud of the natual environment pc has, not pc. Its a 50/50 rule is most sane cities. If you develop 10 acres, 1/2 is set aside for conservation. Homes sit beautifully in there natual enviroment with shade, nature,and privacy from neighbors.

  46. MRC says:

    Arbor Day: Free tree give away with a canned food donation. Town Center. Happens every year.

  47. Bill says:

    Just amazing ALL the people who say this is a problem NOW that they are here and have their home in PC. If you wanted to live in a place surrounded by woods you should have bought that much land. everyone knows the lot sizes in PC are NOT meant for large wooed homesteads. Others have pointed out that with the building codes to keep your home high and dry the lot needs to be cleared and raised up.

  48. justsayin says:

    Would love to know who is purchasing all these homes. Northeast high tax escapes? Blame Trump, this is what a good economy produces. Blame Desantis, this is what low taxes produce.

  49. Stab says:

    I dont see the problem with clearing the lot. Dont you want you home the way you want it just like everyone else? This includes where the trees go. The problem is wanting to remove a tree and replace it with what you want to replace it with. I shouldnt have to ask permission to take a tree down that is on the property i own and paid for, so long as i replace it with what i want in my yard. The problem with city counsil is that they dont care, they live in Grand Haven and not where we do. They are more concerned with pickleball courts and wasting city money on crap like that instead of trying to bring real business to this town.

  50. palmcoaster says:

    Charlie applause to your poem!
    I just came back from the Palm Coast Historical society museum event .in Holland Park
    Those cordial volunteers greeted us with bottle water, home made cookies and fresh fruit while reviving the unique beginnings of Palm Coast. And looking at the old photos I could see that then and like still was few years ago Levitt-ITT didn’t mow all the trees in the lots to be sold…Will be devastating to Palm Coast if true what some say that now city requires a lot to be built totally cleared from trees to build. Hard to believe.

  51. JAG24 says:

    Goodness gracious folks, it has been explained why trees are removed during construction. New landscaping grows very quickly in Florida due to the rain and warmth. If you feel the builder hasn’t planted enough, go to Home Depot and spend $75 to buy a couple trees, a shovel, some potting soil and mulch. Water regularly, and in a couple years, the trees will be 20 ft. tall and your problem will be solved!

  52. Stephen Smith says:

    Maybe the answer is to require bigger lots with room to leave
    a buffer of the existing vegetation on 3 sides. Maybe 30 40 feet.
    Zoning could do that.

  53. BlueJammer says:

    I’ve never read a better and well written article from you. Thank you for planting this seed, Pierre.

  54. Traveling Rep says:

    I am disappointed in you Pierre! While you were sitting on your duff, frittering away time writing this piece, trees were losing their lives. I for one expect much more from you, captain canopy saver guy! You should’ve tied yourself to one of those majestic oxygen givers. Insread of doing something; in true Trump fashion, you just moan about it instead. May Mueller have mercy on your soul. ;)

  55. palmcoaster says:

    Yesterday like we all do in occasions I saw my neighbor hiring a licensed crew to trim his towering oaks I sure in silence appreciated him, because he does not destroy those beautiful trees. Unfortunately I know we all can afford this expensive work. The mowing of our trees in Palm Coast Parkway to make it easier for our utilities and developers to dig, is what now makes the noise of the traffic from I-95 a permanent nuisance all the way to Club House Drive if not further. Maybe city now is to ask the FDOT to install noise barrier panels in our I-95 section like they have in Jacksonville and othe cities? I remember when our good citizen watch dog Dennis McDonald even sue the city trying to stop them from taking away our beautiful canopy shading us from the summer scorching sun in Palm Coast Parkway and around our old Palm Harbor Shopping Center and was accused of frivolous and unjustified… Just look at what we have today in that area and see that his battle was not unjustified or frivolous: Just a bunch of ugly big box stores deprived of promenades (except for good old Publix shading overhang) dotted with some twigs here and there in an undrivable in and out parking lot. Just before Landon gone he took away with him the last 15 oaks off from the northeast PC Parkway, east of Florida Park Drive because the trees were sick against best judgement of a master gardener nearby neighbor. Soon after the utilities were digging and installing fiber optic or whatever was in there.One more time our quality of life, this time shade and birds, sacrificed for the savings of an investors profiteering utility. Maybe the seed planted by Pierre here today will call the attention that is time that the growth of Palm Coast should be managed finally on a way that do not take away the trees and quality of life and services from the existing residents first in favor of more profiteering for developers and utilities!

  56. Johnnygreenbus says:

    With all these homes going up,I would like to know where all these people are going to WORK

  57. atilla says:

    There are companies who specialize in building some fancy tree houses. Can this be an alternative?????

  58. Ritchie says:

    I have not read all the responses; but here is a suggestion.

    Add a new department to to the city to strictly look after the trees and enforce some green code and help us citizens recover especially after hurricanes. The last one that visited took down my best trees, And over the years urban growth took down some beautiful trees which I had no knowledge or experience of saving.

  59. Agkistrodon says:

    Maybe someone could make some “tree-like” sculptures………….

  60. tew says:

    Great job Flagler County/City of Palm Coast. You’ve cut back lots of trees near the library. Hopefully this was done with some objective in mind. I’ve yet to figure out what the objective was. You had inmates clean up a disgusting environment made by the inhabitants of the” camp” behind the library, but as I have passed it each day returning from work, I see it is filling up with trash all over again. Great job! You’ve shown these folks that it’s acceptable to have someone else clean up their filth while they continue to stand around, pan handle and basically feel it’s their right to ask for handouts rather than do something concrete to improve their lives. This county needs to pass a law like Bunnell, St. Augustine and Daytona and get these people off the streets. I believe everyone who wants help should be able to get help, but it’s not the residents of PC job to support these people on a daily basis. It’s also not ok to hold those living in that camp exempt from cleaning up their trash. Don’t make inmates clean up after them! Hold these people responsible! Flagler County is disgraceful for the way they handled this situation. Thanks for your disappointing efforts of doing nothing for the working class in Palm Coast.

  61. Keep Flagler Beautiful says:

    Pierre, what you are experiencing is sickening. Those trees can never be replaced, and you’ll feel such a painful sense of loss every time you look out front expecting to see the beautiful woods you once knew. It is so important to keep watch over what’s happening in our county, to be aware of what the commissioners are voting on, and to let them know how we feel about rampant construction all in the name of a quick buck. In the area where I live, there are six very nice, long-settled residential neighborhoods. Homeowners have been up in arms over a proposed (and currently “iced”) development of the mother of all trailer parks on an adjacent piece of eco-sensitive wooded land. Many native species live there, including eagles. The common road cannot sustain the amount of traffic such a development would bring in. Nor can the land sustain the amount of effluent from such a large number of toilets, showers, washers, etc. Nothing good would come of it, not even tax revenue, as the trailer/mobile homes/call them what you will are on wheels and aren’t taxed like permanent housing. It’s just another developer’s hustle to make a fortune at the expense of surrounding property values and the irreplaceable trees and terrain. All those metal boxes, ready to blow off in the first good wind. I hope every Flagler County resident will wake up and realize that we must make our elected officials aware that we’re the bosses, not them, and while we want carefully planned growth, we definitely don’t want them to ruin what makes this place so special. We’ve all come here to live a different kind of life, respectful of nature. If we wanted Development-Gone-Wild, we would have chosen South Florida. Thank you for continuing to fight the good fight so our children and grandchildren can enjoy the same quality of life we are enjoying — for now, anyway.

  62. Steve says:

    After 20 years of observation the damage has already been done. The die is cast forever changing this place into another strip mall, fast food, roundabout fustercluck.

  63. Anne P says:

    It is happening all over the B Section, even with several homes for sale. What hits me hardest about lot clearing during this time is the loss of new animal life. Squirrel nests with babies, bird’s nests with eggs or hatchlings, even raccoons and possums. This is the time of rebirth and a bulldozer just levels it all. A couple of years ago I found a baby skunk frantically running around on a recently cleared lot. I captured her and turned her over to a wildlife rescue center. It is painful to see the recently greening trees torn down just as they are coming out of their winter slumber. Building is inevitable but there seems to be a total lack of preserving anything natural or beautiful in Palm Coast. It is a battle that can’t be won in a growing county but it still often heartbreaking.

  64. Deb says:

    The ONLY way and I mean the ONLY way to save the tress is to stop people moving into the area. Which is stupid in itself. Its called progress people, its about the all mighty dollar and Flagler County and Palm Coast want some.. The trees are in the way of progress, so which way do you really think these county and city law makers are going to lean.

  65. Will says:

    Palm Coast was, by design, to have 40,000 one quarter acre building lots. That meant that thousands of trees were removed for roads, canals, etc. before one house was built. Periodic forest fires and hurricanes took out many more trees. In my estimation, for the housing density planned, the City still looks mighty green. Compare the greenery along our major roads with that of any major city. I think we’re quite respectable. The trees and shrubs planted by home owners in our built up neighborhoods make the area look like a park. Our town isn’t too bad after all.

  66. Happening now says:

    Thank you for this.

  67. Nancy N. says:

    We tried to preserve two trees on the interior of our wooded lot when we built in 2001. One, weakened by the lot clearing around it, was lost to a tropical storm before the foundation was even poured and had to be removed anyway. The other is still there but we are concerned is now large enough to be a threat to the house during storms and fires. Between that and its failure to ever truly thrive since it was disturbed to clear the lot, we may have to remove it in the near future. We were fortunately able to preserve some large pines on the rear of our lot but they sure make us nervous every time we have a hurricane.

    I can relate, Pierre, to having green space across the way. We have had empty lots across the way for 18 years. I look out my windows to see trees and greenery. I know someday that will be gone and it will be a sad, sad, day. The world will feel a little more claustrophobic then.

  68. Really says:

    Yeah more green zones for the homeless to sell drugs,promote prostitution, and let the hook up clubs run around at nite.

  69. anonymous says:

    I knew this was coming when they started on Colbert around the corner of my home in the old “B’ section. That’s why I got the heck out of Palm Coast and moved to West Volusia. City Commissioners living their fancy life in the Dunes don’t give a crap about preserving the rest of PC’s natural habitats. Good luck. It’ll only get worst.

  70. Nevaeh says:

    Instead of clearing all the living woods that are left, why not fill all the empty house and storefronts first. If you are unable to fill them, then tear them down and let new home owners buy those empty lots. Also, you rip out every living tree , then the city wants you to replace them with thousand dollar trees. By tearing down all these woods you destroy wildlife and natural habitat. Then the same people who bought these homes complain that there are deer or any other wildlife in their backyard.REMEMEBER it was their home first!!!! So glad I live out in the country.

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