Neighbors share mixed feeling over tree removal in Collier County community

Neighbors in a Southwest Florida community are watching trees disappear. They say their homeowners association is taking them out without their permission. These people have mixed feelings about the trees being removed.

The Saturnia Lakes homeowners association in Collier County decided it’s better to pay now and cut down huge oaks trees or pay later because the roots are damaging the concrete.

“The sidewalks, the curbs, the asphalt,” Steve Perusse said. “I’ve seen the asphalt on one street where it’s up in the air about a foot.”

The tree damage could lead to someone getting hurt, but last Friday, some homeowners tried to save the trees. They parked their cars strategically, hoping to stop crews from cutting them down.

“They’re kind of a staple in our neighborhood, and they provided a lot of shade coverage, which is also nice,” Wesley Podos said.

Podos had one of the oaks in his front yard. His parents voted with the board to remove them because step two is to plant new, less harmful trees.

“If they go ahead and put in new trees that are not going to be as destructive, then, it should be fine,” Perusse said.

Perusse moved into his home, specifically because it did not have an oak tree. He told us the trees shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

“Those trees were not meant to be in a little 6-foot section, so they’re supposed to in fields,” Perusse said.

Agreement may not describe the overall feeling in Saturnia Lakes Wednesday, but acceptance might.

“My family is definitely looking forward to getting new ones,” Podos said.

Crews were not done Wednesday removing trees in Saturnia Lakes. We reached out to the HOA to ask how members reached their decision, but they declined to comment.

“I would never want to see a living thing removed, but unfortunately in this case, it was just a decision that was not made properly to begin with,” Jared Taub said. “So it’s kind of fixing something that needed to be done a long time ago.”

Reporter:Emma Heaton
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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