Friday, September 3, 2010

Live oak ban would miss forest for the trees

When I took my regular morning walk in my old neighborhood, I’d pause at this live oak along Sixth Avenue West.

It’s a magnificent tree with mighty limbs draped with Spanish moss that shade the house, the front yard and the street, too.

Kids climb it. Cats, too.

I’d pause, place a hand on its thick trunk, softly say, “Brother oak,” and continue my walk.

It was an intuitive gesture of respect.

I’ve always admired live oaks, icons of Old Florida.

That’s how I feel when I drive under them heading along Manatee Avenue East every morning.

They’re gatekeepers for our community.

Which is why I couldn’t help noticing a small lot being cleared for construction a few blocks east of Manatee Memorial Hospital.

One roadside live oak was being cut down, as well as another in the back of the lot.

That’s why I’m concerned Manatee County is considering changing a land development code and ban live oaks on new single-family lots smaller than 60-feet wide.

Are we losing sight of the forest for the trees?

Read more in Sunday's Mannix About Manatee

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