Alamo Plaza Trees Have Fallen

Live Oaks are now laying on the ground and being cut up into pieces big enough to put into trucks.

After a building permit was issued this morning, developers quickly started cutting down the 19 protected trees, and with that permit went the reason the Save Our Trees campaign was appealing the project altogether.

"When the trees come down, our appeal is mute," Patricia Spinks says. "We have nothing longer anything to appeal at least on this peice of property."

Mayor Bob Short says there was nothing the city could do.

"When he told us today that we had to issue the permit then we issued the permit, against my objections but legally there's nothing I can do about it," Short says.

Spinks' group was asking a judge for a stay until their appeal of the City Council's decision could be heard. Mayor Short vetoed the project back in November because there wasn't a complete plan for the future of this property only to be overridden by the council on a 5 to 2 vote.

"The appeal cannot be heard right now, so we were looking for a stay," Spinks says. "The stay would have given us time to have our appeal heard before the trees came down."

"I just think that there would of been a way we could have worked out a different situation where some of the larger trees could have been saved," Mayor Short says.

Council members Richard Rose and Ella Holmes-Hines supported the mayor's veto.

As Patricia Spinks watched the trees fall today, she had a loud and clear message for those council members who voted against protecting the 19 trees.

"Shame, and the same message would go to the people who are taking down the trees,"Spinks says.

Patricia Spinks says that her group's appeal of the council's decision is still alive. But now, an appeal of the judge's decision to deny the stay is no longer needed with the trees coming down.

Bill Hessell with the Gulfport Planning Department told WLOX News the city could have issued the building permit as early as Wednesday, but held off to see if any more legal action might stop the developers. Hessell said the city issued the permit to the Mitchell Company this morning, when it was clear that wouldn't happen.