By: Matt Galka
September 18, 2013
Tallahasse, FL - Call it tree trouble. The Canopy Road Citizens Committee, as well as a packed room full of members of the public, listened to Tallahassee's Office of Growth Management tell them what they already knew: properties are in violation of canopy roads protection ordinances.
But it's the protections that folks like Paden Woodruff and his wife don't want to see changed.
"We want to make sure that canopy roads, which we think are a cornerstone of Tallahassee, aren't plowed down to be turned into mini interstates," said Woodruff.
Many others shared the same fears, although no plan like that has been proposed. Right now, ordinances state that canopy roads are protected with a 100 foot buffer zone, but that was put into place in 1992. It was 50 feet before that, and properties had already been developed.
"We're really committed to protecting our canopy roads in the city, they're something that we value very much, we just have to find a way to deal with some policy conflicts that we have in the code right now," said Karen Jumonville with the Office of Growth Management.
That's little comfort to many of the folks fighting for their foliage who think this study is just a prelude to allowing urban development near the trees.
"Why else would you commission this study? I think it has to do with development goals," said Woodruff.
City officials will present the study's finding to the Long Range Planning Committee next week. Public meetings on the canopy road protections will be held in October and November.
By: Bailey Myers
Tallahassee, FL - "The canopy road attracted me to this neighborhood and the house."
Jacqueline Beck has lived in this house off Centerville Road for almost thirty nine years and says the conopy roads in the Big Bend are what makes this area so different.
Dr. Jacqueline Beck, Tallahassee resident: "The trees the moss on the trees, the pine trees the brick houses all go together to make North Florida."
Since 1970, Tallahassee has worked to protect the canopy's and over the years a canopy ordinance has grown. A study was conducted and the city discovered there are conflicting regulations and now have to take a close look at what to do about it.
Angeline Taylor, Growth Management Department Public Information: "The meeting basically serves as a first step towards a six month community dialogue we are interested in getting feed back and input on the data we present tonight."
Parts of five different canopy roads have been the focus of the study including Centerville, Meridian, St. Augustine, Old Bainbridge, and Miccosukee roads. The hope is that they will find solutions to both protect them and work with other ordinances.
The canopy roads citizen committee plan on hosting many more meetings like this one in the future. After six months they will then present their suggestions to the city commission.