Family says they wanted to remove tree that fell, but they were told no

The family says they asked the city for a permit to remove the tree 10 years ago but were told no.

DUNEDIN - A tree falling on a house during a hurricane isn’t exactly unique, however in the case of a tree in this corner of Florida, the circumstances are a bit different.

Ten years ago, Debbie Sykes said her father asked the City of Dunedin for a permit to remove an oak from his front yard, fearing it would eventually fall during a storm.

The permit was denied, Sykes said.

Thanks to Hurricane Irma, the large oak fell on Sykes’s home causing significant roof damage over the weekend.

“He knew back then that this tree could present a problem if we ever had a storm. So by not removing it, this is where I’m at,” Sykes said.

The City of Dunedin speculated when the tree was inspected 10 years ago, at a time when a different arborist was working, the tree was likely found to be safe and secure.

Records involving the permit application and denial are likely unavailable, a city spokesperson said.

Protected trees, like in other cities and municipalities in Florida, can’t be removed unless they are diseased, damaged, are in danger of falling down or if there’s a new construction project.

The story serves as a reminder residents may want to have large trees on their property inspected before every hurricane season.

 

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