(WSVN) - A man wanting to build a house is getting some tree trouble from Miami-Dade County. Officials say the trees have got to go if they’re going to give the go ahead to constructing the home. But do they have to? They called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to find out.
When you talk about family histories in South Florida, most don’t go back very far. Most…
Wayne Eason, family gave land for road: “Four generations. My great grandfather bought it in 1937.”
Wayne’s great grandparents bought these 10 acres in South Dade back in 1937 for just $1 an acre.
Wayne Eason: “He was a teacher at Redland Senior High at that time.”
They built a house out of Dade Pine, and for 82 years, their descendants have owned the property.
Wayne Eason: “It’s an honor, basically. Not too many people can say that down here.”
Wayne’s great grandparents were generous. When Miami-Dade needed property to build a road in 1960, his ancestors gave the county 35 feet of land for it, and it was built.
Wayne Eason: “They wanted to see a nice road put in.”
Decades then passed. Wayne moved away, and the old Dade Pine house burned down, then Wayne decided to return to South Florida.
Wayne Eason: “I am trying to get it back in shape, and I have plans to build a house.”
But when Wayne applied for permits to build on the property, he did not get a “welcome back home” greeting.
Wayne Eason: “So if I am going to get any permits to build, I have to get rid of these trees.”
When the county built the road, it was right beside the family’s 20 plum trees.
Wayne Eason: “They are at least five feet or more in diameter. Over 50 feet tall.”
The 100-year-old trees are on this half of the property.
Wayne wants to build down here on the other half, where the plum trees are not beside the road. They still have to go, the county said.
Wayne Eason: “They are beautiful trees. They provide shade, and I don’t see the point.”
But some of Wayne’s family remembers being told the county promised their great grandfather his plum trees could stay when the road was built.
Wayne Eason: “As far as any paperwork that shows what the county promised when he gave them the land…”
Wayne shakes his head no. His family history is in these yellowed records.
Wayne Eason: “I guess this is the death certificate.”
But any promise from Miami-Dade County was not written down, lost or was never made, which could mean the end of his great grandparents’ 100-year-old trees.
Wayne Eason: “They have been beaten around from hurricanes.”
Patrick Fraser: “They won those battles.”
Wayne Eason: “They won those battles, correct. Now, they just gotta win this next fight.”
Well Howard, do these trees stand a chance to survive against Miami-Dade County?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News Legal Expert: “Legally, Miami-Dade County has the right to force the property owner to cut the trees down if they want to build, but the county also has the power to allow the trees to stay. It’s Miami-Dade County’s choice.”
A county spokesperson wrote, “They reviewed the landscape plan again to see if something could be done to save the trees, but they have to be 14 feet from the road because it’s a safety issue to prevent a motorist that veers off the paved road from hitting a tree.”
As for why the trees have to be removed from here if the house is being built down here, 7News was told, “When reviewing plans, the entire site is reviewed for compliance with the code.”
But one bit of hopeful news: 7News was told the county’s public works department is still reviewing the issue to see if there is a way to save the trees.
Wayne Eason: “Which is a shame. It’s a shame, yeah.”
If the county says no to the trees, Wayne says he has no choice.
Wayne Eason: “Well, I guess I will have to tear them down. I want to get my house built.”
Tear them down unless Miami-Dade County can come through.
Will public works find a way to allow the trees to stay near the road Wayne’s family gave to the county? Let’s see what they decide.
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