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Letters to the Editors

Tree exemptions can only hurt

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 23, 2003

Editor: Is the Citrus County Builders Association behind the times? The association is lobbying to exempt lots less than 2 acres from falling under the proposed tree preservation ordinance. Why do local builders oppose leaving mature trees on any residential lots? For lots smaller than 10,000 square feet in area, only two trees are required to be preserved according to the ordinance's provisions.

In fact, keeping mature trees on building lots puts money in the builders' pockets. Consider this: The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), in conjunction with the National Arbor Day Foundation, reports in its pamphlet Building With Trees that "43 percent of home buyers would pay up to $3,000 more for wooded lots and 30 percent would pay up to $5,000 more."

Thus, the minimal extra construction cost associated with tree protection coupled with the reduced cost of clearing and grading should result in a greater profit to builders. That would translate to at least $3,000 to $5,000 more per house where mature trees were left on the property.

"Preserving natural undeveloped lands was ranked as important or very important by 62 percent of buyers" recently surveyed for the NAHB. According to the NAHB: Having mature trees in place benefits the developer by achieving faster and better sales, generating greater profits, saving costs for clearing, grading and landscaping, and communicating positive ideas about the builder who creates an aesthetically appealing setting for his buildings.

From the NAHB Web site, under resources: "The landscaping around (the new residential property) will be very important. Trees can affect everything from your heating and cooling bills to your resale value -- some surveys have put this increased value in the range of 10 to 15 percent. Trees can produce shade, food, firewood or just a beautiful scene. They can also attract birds and other wildlife."

In addition, trees have been proven to reduce air temperature around the outside of the home, absorb carbon dioxide and air pollutants, produce oxygen, prevent erosion and runoff, provide habitat and food for wildlife, reduce noise and glare, screen unpleasant views, provide privacy, lend permanence to the landscape, and shade our cars in public parking lots and driveways at home.

Native trees and other existing native vegetation survive our climate changes, help reduce water consumption for irrigation, require less maintenance, and use less polluting pesticides and fertilizer than grass lawns.

The Planning and Development Review Board stressed that all size residential lots were to be included under the ordinance. It is up to the Citrus County Commission to make it so.
-- Carol A. Wynn, Beverly Hills

Haven't we seen these negotiations before?

Editor: As Yogi Berra said, it is deja vu all over again.

Inverness negotiators messed up with the police and now we have to witness the school negotiators mess up with our teachers.

Where do we get these people?

When I am old, I shall wear purple. But for now, I shall wear black on Tuesdays.
-- Ken LaPorte, Crystal River

Build Suncoast Parkway; it's the road to our future

Editor: I am 69 years old and over the years the complaints about where to put the (Suncoast Parkway) have been mostly the same.

What is the personal problem I would face with this road? I feel most people take a personal stand, rather than a community position: Is this best for my community and the future of my state? Nope, they don't.

What bugs me more are the animal rights people who want to put the bugs and beasts first. I am for animal protection but not over the rights of people and future growth.

The road will not help me one way or the other but it will help future growth, something we cannot stop. So, take the route that does the least damage and build the road to the future. A 16-year Citrus citizen.
-- Gerald Ruble, Inverness

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