Ocean Springs Neighbors Angered Over Fallen Trees - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/15/04

Ocean Springs Neighbors Angered Over Fallen Trees

Some Ocean Springs neighbors are concerned over what they claim is a developer's disregard for trees.

Residents of "Hidden Oaks" subdivision say they're shocked that a home builder "clear cut" several lots in their neighborhood. Ocean Springs has a tree ordinance, but it provides only limited protection.

Neighbors living in Hidden Oaks like the fact their houses blend in with the trees. Trees were a big selling point for many of the residents here.

"They're beautiful trees. And that's what we wanted," said Charlotte Brown.

"We all built our houses in here because of the trees," added Rhonda Lawson.

That's why it was so shocking when they saw a developer knocking down trees to make way for homes.

"And we came home and every tree on the lots across the street were gone. It looked like a bomb had hit. They cut everything down. Absolutely nothing is left. They didn't even try to save, save anything. If they do that to the remaining lots, our little neighborhood is going to look totally different," Lawson said.

The city's assistant planning director told WLOX News the developer did nothing wrong in cutting down the trees. Jason Swaggart says he walked the property just last week with a member of the citizens tree committee. They found six protected trees. All were sycamores, and all were dead.

 Jonathan Baum is an engineering technician for the City of Ocean Springs.

"They're well ithin their legal rights, yes sir. We try and stay on top of that to watch those things real close," he explained.

Frustrated neighbors say it may be legal, but in their opinion it's wrong.

"Seems like their took out even the tree line across the back of the lots. I don't see how that would interfere with building a house. They absolutely overdid it. They could have gone around and left something," said Christa York.

Neighbors know it's too late for those lots where the trees are already gone. They're hoping their concerns will convince the developer to spare at least a few trees on lots that haven't been cleared yet.

By Steve Phillips

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