Palm Beach Gardens HOA fined $5,000 for chopping 20 pines

Article Courtesy of Palm Beach Post

By Tony Doris

Published February 23, 2014


The Mirabella at Mirasol Homeowners’ Association was fined $5,000 Tuesday for chopping down 20 pines to solve a drainage problem, but was spared a $100,000 fine after its president agreed to replace them.

Under an agreement worked out Friday between City Attorney Max Lohman and HOA President Michael Peragine, the association did not contest the violations and agreed to replace the trees according to an approved landscaping plan by March 21 or have the HOA face the maximum $100,000 fine allowed under state law.

“That’s a 95 percent reduction of what we could have been fined,” Peragine said after the hearing before Special Magistrate Kevin Wagner Tuesday afternoon. “That’s a huge win for us,” he said.

Peragine, who is a candidate for city council, had arranged to have the trees removed in January to alleviate flooding behind several homes on Via Condado Way. The roots had damaged a drainage pipeline, he said. He said he would try to have the contractor pay the fine.

The slash pines will be replaced with a mix of pines and ligustrum trees, in spots that won’t interferewith the new drainage line, he said.

Lohman said the stipulation was consistent with how the city has handled such violations in the past. “That’s all we really want,” he said. “We’re recovering costs with the fine and having them restore the area.”