Destin, Fla. - Some Okaloosa County residents are being warned to be careful with what they cut. A new tree ordinance in Destin prevents tree cutting without a permit or else, get slapped with a fine of up to $20,000 per tree.
Destin's new tree ordinance provides regulations on the removal of trees. To remove a tree, residents are required to apply for a tree removal permit from the City's Community Development.
As development continues, the Destin City Council realized it was time to protect and preserve a major part of the environment. Residents are still allowed to clear-cut their own property but, at a certain price.
There are two options. One is to mitigate by planting new trees or option two, pay into a trust fund for impact fees. Those funds are earmarked specifically for the City to then go and plant more trees. This will preserve the aesthetics of Destin and prevent the area from becoming a concrete jungle.
"Trees increase the property values not just of the individual lots but, they help keep property values high for the entire neighborhoods. So, when you clear cut your lots, you are not just impacting your own property. You are impacting the property of the entire neighborhood. And, the argument is, you are not just decreasing property values, you are changing the entire character," said Chatham Morgan, Destin City Councilman.
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