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Some homeowners have planted a hedge to block out the preserve's growth, said Beth Bond, CDD supervisor.
East County Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015 7 years ago

Confusion stems from tree-trimming policy

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Residents in the Tara Preserve question why their properties aren't being maintained as they have in years past.
by: Jessica Salmond Staff Writer

Although it’s been two years since Tara CDD 1 switched landscaping management to West Bay Landscaping Management, the district’s tree-trimming policy continues to be a source of confusion for some residents.

James Kaluk, Tara CDD field manager, said at the Board of Supervisors meeting July 28, that he’s gotten a stack of requests from residents who have asked the CDD to trim trees around their homes.

However, each request will have to be judged on a case-by-case basis, said John Schmidt, a CDD supervisor.

Tara Preserve’s developer, Lake Lincoln LLC, turned maintenance of the community over to the CDD in 2005, but it’s only been in the last few years that the CDD has experienced confusion. When the developer owned the land, it used one landscaping company for all the Tara property — both the Preserve and the golf course. Now, Tara Golf Course and Country Club and Tara Preserve have separate landscapers.

“Some people want the CDD to manage the land behind their houses, for a manicured view, and that is not something we do.” — Beth Bond, CDD Supervisor  

Tara CDD is responsible only for property in the CDD. Legally, it can’t manage property owned by other entities, said Schmidt.

The problem is in previous years, the community’s former landscaper would maintain trees and property that were not the CDD’s responsibility. That has led some residents to believe that the CDD is responsible for trimming trees on their property, which is not the case.

Within Tara Preserve, several entities own and manage property and landscaping, including the trees. The Preserve is part of the Nonsense Creek watershed system, which empties into Braden River, putting some of Tara under control of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD). The golf course owns property bordering the Preserve, and Manatee County manages oak trees in the area.

“We are the managers of a relatively small portion of property in relationship to what the golf course owns, but because we are a government, the residents have been coming to the CDD asking what we can help and cannot help with,” Schmidt said.

But what if a tree, on CDD property, is growing into someone’s private residence or yard?

In this case, it’s the homeowner’s prerogative to hire an arborist to trim the tree up to his property line, at his own expense. Only if the tree is growing on CDD land, and has grown into a private property in a way that poses an immediate danger to the homeowner’s residence would the CDD pay to have it cut back, Schmidt said.

“I had the same problem, and I hired an arborist at my expense,” said Michael Dyer, a CDD supervisor, said at the meeting.

Now that Tara is about 12 years old, its age is starting to show in the trees, said Beth Bond, CDD supervisor.

“When we moved there, all the trees were little,” she said. “No body noticed the trees or shrubbery that comes with wetlands.”

Bond said some residents may not understand how the landscape of property facing the preserve land is not going to be as “manicured” as properties that face the golf course.

The CDD’s attorney informed the board that the CDD cannot use tax money to maintain land other than what it owns—and in some cases, is legally prohibited from touching some trees, such as oaks or those owned by other entities. Oak trees require a permit to be cut down, and sometimes a permit is required just to trim them, Bond said.

“A number of lots are adjacent to the preserve. It’s wonderfully private, but it’s not a manicured view,” she said. “Some people want the CDD to manage the land behind their houses, for a manicured view, and that is not something we do.” 

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