Lee County residents battle to save royal palms

Published: Updated:

LEE COUNTY, Fla. – Tension over trees; the county could remove some royal palms because they’re a danger to drivers, but residents feel the exact opposite is true.

The trees line Gateway Boulevard near the Stoneybrook community.

“These trees have been here for 10 to 12 years,” said Margaret Fineberg.

Some Stoneybrook residents voiced their concern to Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass on Friday.

The county has been asked to take over maintenance of the road after the community developer used to be in charge.

“We contend that the county approved the road with the trees already planted,” said Fineberg.

But the Department of Transportation said in order for the county to take over, they had to cut down 20 or more trees because they’re a safety hazard.

“I don’t want to lose the palms, but I want the trees to be in the proper right of way so I don’t have to pay legal bills for people striking trees and I don’t want the county exposed to the legal fees also,” said Pendergrass.

Even though one commissioner agrees the trees are a danger, another said they should stay.

“It’s a 35 mile speed zone, there haven’t been any accidents out here. It’s an absurd, stupid, bureaucrat rule that they’re using and holding a gun to our head and saying we won’t help you maintain the road unless you cut these trees down,” said commissioner Frank Mann.

Residents said the trees make the road safer because they slow drivers down. DOT disagrees, saying there are marks on a number of trees where drivers have hit them.

Residents placed blue and pink ribbons around each tree to raise awareness that they’re in jeopardy of being taken down. They also have a petition going around and have collected more than 300 signatures in the past couple days.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.