THE FIGHT IS ON!
Published September 27, 2019
The fight over the
actual meaning of the provisions of
HB 1159 is on. And no matter what certain people are
trying to tell you: Itís not about climate change and
environment, itís just about MONEY.
Cities and counties
hired arborists and extra inspectors to make big bucks in the
tree-business. The costly and time-consuming permit process
forced homeowners not only to pay outrageous amounts for the
necessary permits to prune, trim or remove trees, homeowners
were as well forced to replace such trees, initially planted by
developers who were forced to plant these trees by cities and
counties in order to get the building permits. Who in his right
mind would plant an oak tree between two homes with more or less
zero lot-lines? Just using common sense would tell you that itís
just a matter of time before these oak trees become a serious
hazard for homes and people. Roots will destroy foundations and
drive-ways and falling trees are the biggest dangers during
hurricanes, causing a lot more damage than the wind.
Before HB 1159 we
had cases where cities and counties demanded homeowners to
replace a tree that already had caused serious damage to
property with three new trees, claiming they have to protect the
canopy. As usual, our so-called ďelectedĒ officials used this
scheme to get lots of extra money in their coffers, money they
could then spend on their pet-projects.
HB 1159 was the
answer of the Florida Legislature to stop the financial abuse by
cities and counties that took place under the cover of
protecting our environment.
It is really nice to
see that the sponsors of HB 1159, State Representative Mike
La Rosa (R-42 Osceola/Polk County) and
(R-32 Lake County),
are willing to fight cities and counties, who are now trying
everything to keep their fat cash-cow going.
The bill is very clear and states that the certification of a
licensed arborist that a tree poses a danger to property and/or
people is sufficient to prune, trim, or remove a tree on
residential property without the local government being able to
require a property owner to get a costly permit or to replant
We sure havenít heard the last of it, because certain cities and
counties are already trying to circumvent the provisions of this
very owner-friendly bill by creating ordinances that would
continue to allow them to force owners to pay their outrageous
permit-fees. Local 10 News (Tampa) showed an interesting
report about cities and counties unwilling to follow the new law
of Florida (effective July 1, 2019): ďDefine
'dangerous': Tampaís tree removal rules at odds with new state
||Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice,
's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group.
CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in
associations. He moved to
in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the
developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues
for his own purposes. End of retirement!
CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in
- finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a
member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.
The organization has two websites to inform interested
homeowners and condo owners:
News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.
Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.
We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all
service providers surely have a different interest! We are
trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are
useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking