Panama City, FL –
SEAGROVE, Fla. (WMBB) – A small seaside town known for its live oak trees may soon be known for its lack of shade. Seagrove, located off 30A, is a quiet place now facing environmental controversy. Residents speak out after a real estate developer felled several trees without a permit.
“It’s Seagrove. When you think about how Seagrove got its name, that’s what it’s known for, ”said Molly Caplenor, a Runsup employee.
All but one oak tree was felled Monday in the Seagrove shopping district near Gardenia Street.
“It was devastating to see that it was all gone in the blink of an eye,” said Caplenor.
A Walton County developer recently acquired the land with the intention of dismantling businesses and building houses. But Caplenor says the work wasn’t supposed to start right away.
“We continue to do business all summer until the end of August, so we had no idea the trees were going to be the first to go,” said Caplenor.
Tree clearing also had residual effects.
“A water line was hit, the Internet lines were cut,” Caplenor said.
After the water disappeared, Caplenor says the nearby barbershop had to send customers home with product still in their hair, which impacted their operations.
Seagrove residents and business owners have contacted Walton County. They later learned that the developer did not have a permit to remove the trees in the first place. He did, however, have a building permit.
“The application of the code was handed over to the planning department, checked the permits and once they understood what it was about, they put a stop work order on it,” said Louis Svehla, director of public information for Walton County.
Svehla says that if the developer wants to continue removing trees, they must acquire a permit to do so. He also says code enforcement will continue to keep tabs on the situation.
But the locals say the damage is done.
“They bring a beautiful canopy to the whole area and the thought of someone tearing it down just to build houses is crazy to me,” said Theressa Johnson, a Cowgirl Kitchen employee at Seagrove.
Neighbors in the region say they are not against new development, but want to ensure that the region’s environment is preserved.
Seagrove Beach residents upset over removal of live oak trees Source link Seagrove Beach residents upset over removal of live oak trees