Steube aims to chop down tree regs

State Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, is fighting tree ordinances as an infringement on property rights.

Steube’s tree bill, SB 574, would prohibit local governments from regulating the “trimming, removal, or harvesting of tree and timber on private property.” That would nullify dozens of tree ordinances across the state. Only the state Legislature would be able to regulate trees.

Sarasota’s tree ordinance requires property owners to get a permit when removing or relocating most trees beyond a certain size. Property owners must meet certain criteria to cut down a tree. Some of the accepted reasons for removing a tree: It is dead, it is threatening a structure, it is preventing development of the property and there are no reasonable alternatives. Larger “grand” trees have more protection. In many cases, when a tree is removed for development purposes there also is a requirement that mandates new trees to be planted or the property owner pay into a “replacement tree fund.”

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