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To enhance, protect and preserve the visual environment of Florida as mandated by the Scenic Beauty clause of the Florida Constitution.
Jacksonville: "Jax Digs Trees"
Photo: Previous event, Jacksonville.com
"On Wednesday, November 4, Scenic Jacksonville and Greenscape of Jacksonville will cohost an event at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the Tree Charter Amendment.
Fifteen years ago, Scenic Jacksonville (then known as Citizens for Tree Preservation) led a successful citizens' initiative to conserve and protect Jacksonville's tree canopy. The measure amended the City Charter to establish minimum standards for tree mitigation during development, and passed in all 268 precincts with a landslide 76% voter approval on November 7, 2000.
During the celebratory event on November 4, the two organizations will also announce a new tree challenge campaign, JAX DIGS TREES. The year-long tree campaign will encourage citizens, schools, neighborhood organizations, businesses and civic groups to plant, protect and promote trees.
JAX DIGS TREES is a citywide initiative to increase scenic beauty, create a healthier community by increasing Jacksonville’s tree canopy and ensure the continuation of a vibrant, urban tree cover. The new trees will add oxygen, clean the air, decrease the urban heat island effect, slow rain water runoff, provide wildlife habitats, and add aesthetic benefits to improve quality of life and increase property values.
Scenic Jacksonville Board President, Susan Caven, said, “We are thrilled to join Greenscape and be a part of this exciting tree campaign. We look forward to working with individuals and organizations all across Jacksonville to enhance the natural landscape and streetscapes of our beautiful city for the enjoyment and benefit of our citizens, visitors and future generations.”
Anna Dooley, Greenscape Executive Director said, “This is a wonderful opportunity to work together as a city and promote tree planting in every corner of Jacksonville with interested neighborhood and community groups...”
Grand Jury Releases Findings On Billboard Company's Illegal Tree Cutting Permits
In June 2009, Citizens for a Scenic Florida received an anonymous letter reporting that acres of trees were being cut down along I-10 and other state roads in the Panhandle without approved vegetation management plans or associated mitigation fees. As it turned out, more than 2000 trees were "illegally removed" from state right-of-way along I-10 and other roads in the Panhandle. The letter indicated that the trees were removed by Bill Salter Advertising Co. in order to create view zones for the company's billboards. The letter also suggested that Salter Advertising had used the influence of then State Representative Greg Evers to broker a deal with FDOT leadership and that an FDOT employee had been ordered by the FDOT District Director of Operations James Rodgers to let Salter Advertising "do whatever they want." In response to public records requests by Citizens for a Scenic Florida and the St. Pete Times, no documents provided by FDOT confirmed any communications on the subject between then Representative Evers, then FDOT Secretary Stephanie Kopelousos, and then FDOT Deputy Secretary Kevin Thibault. In response to a public records request made in 2010 (by a citizen in St. Petersburg) for all emails to and from Secretary Kopelousos for a given period, among the thousands of documents provided by FDOT were emails revealing such communication between Evers, Kopelousos and Thibault. Other emails turned up later when the original records requests were repeated verbatim in 2011. This information was forwarded to the State Attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit and subsequently reviewed by a Grand Jury. The Grand Jury called it a debacle.
* Grand Jury Presentment (report)
* Grand Jury Presentment Attachments
* Citizens for a Scenic Florida Press Release
* Citizens for a Scenic Florida letter to Governor Scott
* Citizens for a Scenic Florida letter to FDOT Secretary
* FDOT letter (dated 2-22-2012) to Bill Salter Advertising, Inc.