Developer wants to move historic tree to build condos
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A historic tree is at the center of a battle between a developer and environmentalists.
"I believe, as a developer, that we have a moral and ethical responsibility to leave our environment in better shape than we found it," said developer Asi Cymbal.
Not everyone was convinced of the words of developer Cymbal at a meeting on Monday. He wants to build 1,000 units on Fort Lauderdale's New River.
"There will be a number of trees that are over 100 years old that will be preserved here on site, and that will be moved around," said tree consultant Bob Brennan.
Cymbal wants to move the large rain tree, which grows nowhere else in the United States besides in Florida. He wants to move all 900,000 pounds of the 85-year-old historic tree by trimming it's roots and using a special hydraulic machine to lift and remove it and replant it.
Reporter: "Have You Done This Before?"
Tree mover Paul Cox: "Absolutely, on bigger trees."
Tree preservationist L.Thomas Chancey spent 18 months studying the feasibility for a different developer and said the tree will suffer. "It's a historic tree," he said. "It needs to stay there. Redesign your building to build around it, like the other developer did. They didn't tell you not to build it," said Chancey.
The developer is preparing to try to persuade City Hall to give him permission to replant the tree somewhere else citing it will be worth considering the jobs and revenue he will bring to the area. "Over $100 million in revenues to the city and the county and creating over 600 jobs," said Cymbal.
A meeting is scheduled for May 14 with the planning and zoning department. The Fort Lauderdale City commission then has to decide if they will allow for the removal of the tree.
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