A proposed expansion for a self-storage facility in Pensacola, Florida, is facing opposition because it calls for the removal of a large oak tree considered a “heritage” plant. Emerald Coastkeeper, a grassroots organization that monitors four main watersheds in the Florida Panhandle, has filed an appeal with the Escambia County Board of Adjustment (BOA) to block the addition for A+ Mini-Storage on an adjacent parcel. An online petition to save the tree has garnered more than 4,800 signatures, according to the source.
The 85-inch-diameter live oak, along with 16 other protected trees, on Palafox Street would be removed to make room for a three-story, 16,000-square-foot storage building. The plans were submitted to the county by W. M. Bell Co. of Santa Rosa County LLC, which purchased the land in April. The expansion was approved by the county’s development review committee.
The county’s tree ordinance requires developers to meet criteria to remove protected plant species. If approved, they must pay a fine and plant mitigation trees. W. M. Bell Co. paid a $24,010 fee and has agreed to plant 12 new trees on the property.
The appeal, filed by attorney Will Dunaway on behalf of Emerald Coastkeeper, states the developer hasn’t met the criteria for removal of the protected trees and that county staff violated the land-development code when it gave its approval. Horace Jones, county development services director, told the county commission that the developer met the requirements, the source reported.
A+ Mini-Storage operates a second location in downtown Pensacola. Both offer climate-controlled, drive-up and vehicle storage.
Pensacola News Journal, Battle to Save 'Heritage' Tree at A+ Mini-Storage Heads to Escambia County's BOA