Trees stirring up controversy in one Venice housing development

Article Courtesy of ABC 7 News -- My Suncoast

By Rick Adams

Published February 22, 2017


VENICE - Beautiful oak trees line the streets of this 10-year old development. Some of them are big and older, some are smaller and newer.

Willow Chase's Homeowners Association says they all have to go.

"Oak trees have very heavy roots, the roots go in every direction and we've had a lot of issues," said John Singer, President of the Willow Chase Homeowners Association.

"In many places the sidewalk has been lifted up, we had a resident fall and at that point we said we really need to do something." The association suggests removing the trees.

Doug Ostrom and a group of other neighbors want the trees to stay, especially the one in front of his home. He tells us the trees aren't causing any problems and he says people who live here were not given a chance to give any input on the trees.


"It's very frustrating, you go to bed at night and you wake up in the morning, it's the first thing on your mind," said Ostrom. "Then you look at the tree that you got in front of your house and they're going to cut it down, are you kidding me?"

In a recent email, an environmental expert from Sarasota County says these tree are not in good health and pose safety concerns as well as maintenance issues in regards to utilities. Singer says the plan is to remove all the oak trees along the street over two years and replace them with three different kinds of new trees.

"The board voted to remove all the trees, it's on property that belongs to the Homeowners Association, it is common land," said Singer.

"We do have a plan drawn up for a compromise," said Ostrom. "If the board would only listen to it or read it, up to this point they haven't wanted to do that."

Some residents are still hopeful these oak trees can be saved. The trees are scheduled to start coming down in the middle of March.