‘Significant’ trees halt carwash development in Florida

‘Significant’ trees halt carwash development in Florida

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The company must get permission from the state to cut down these trees.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — In September, a new carwash plan from Gate Petroleum drew ire from local conservationists.

Now, according to a follow-up article from www.firstcoastnews.com, this same development, which got the needed permits to build its carwash next to conservation land, has hit a new snag in the form of protected trees.

Last year, Gate Petroleum announced its plans to build a 24-bay carwash next to the Fish Island preserve, which locals had fought to protect and keep undeveloped a few years ago.

At the end of March, St. Johns River Water Management District issued Gate an environmental resource permit for the construction of a stormwater management treatment area for the carwash.

However, now an arborist report for the City of St. Augustine notes that several trees on the Gate-owned property (as well as the state-owned property that Gate’s retention-like pond would be on) are considered “significant,” meaning they can’t be cut down until the company gets the city’s permission.

A Gate Petroleum spokesperson said that the company looks forward to reviewing the arborist’s report and figuring out the next steps.

JB Miller, a retired land resource specialist hired to manage Fish Island, said of the carwash being built next to the land, “I can live with it. Are there better uses next to it? Of course. But Gate bought the property, and they have every right to develop it as long as they meet all the rules. And they’ve met all the rules.”

Still, there are others who would rather not see the carwash next to Fish Island.

Janet Patten, one of the locals who fought to preserve Fish Island, said, “There are just so many other places you could put a carwash than right next to a nature preserve. We’ve worked so hard to protect this piece of property.”

Read the original story here.

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