These two live oaks, located at 451 Hwy. 90 in Waveland, were to topic of discussion at Waveland’s regular meeting. Mayor Mike Smith said Friday, once construction begins the house behind the trees will be demolished.

The Waveland Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday discussed a request made by Palm Development to acquire two permits to remove two live oak trees at 451 Hwy. 90.

At its previous meeting, Waveland's Planning and Zoning Commission voted to deny the request to remove both trees. The purpose is to allow Palm Development to complete site plan work and construction of an urgent care clinic on the property. The commission also recommended that the site plan not be approved.

Winston Parks appeared before the board on behalf of Palm Development.

He said that the company did have an arborist inspect the property and worked with a civil engineer on the site plan to "try and protect the live oaks as much as we could."

"We were able to save two that fall into that realm," he said.

However, Parks said, there were two trees that would be located in the parking area that they would be unable to work around.

City attorney Gary Yarborough asked why a green space couldn't be made in the middle of the parking lot.

Parks said the tenant and the engineer have looked at it from many ways, and "this is the best solution we had to this point."

Alderman Jeremy Burke asked if reducing the number of parking spots would help.

"No, the tenant requires a minimum of 25," Parks said.

Burke said "they legitimately are in the middle of the property."

"If we allow them to remove them, the last thing I would want is to allow them to remove them, they get cut down and then they say we don't need this building anymore," Burke said. "Essentially, they clear the lot and put it on the market."

Parks said construction would only begin after a 12-year-lease is signed.

Waveland resident Alfred "Tiger" Harris spoke to the board about the trees. He said the board recently faced a similar issue.

"These trees are our heritage," Harris said.

Harris said the trees are healthy and "there's no reason to cut these trees, we need to stop this."

Alderman Shane LaFontaine said that the city will continue to face this issue the more the city continues to grow.

"We need to stand by what we had," Harris said. "If y'all are going to overrule these people (Planning and Zoning Commission) every time with these trees, then you might as well just disband the planning and zoning."

Harris said the "trees belong to the people."

Mayor Mike Smith said, "everyone's jumping up and down for growth in the city. I hear it every single day. In order to have that growth, there's going to have to be some sacrifices that we're going to have to make as a city."

Harris said he understood that, but "this can be avoided."

"But in the parking lot? I'm going to protest it every time," Harris said. "We can get around it. We're getting too much easier on cutting down our trees."

Planning and Zoning Chairman Jim Meggett said that when the commission turned down Palm Development's request to cut down the trees, the commission also made a suggestion.

"We suggested that he cut down one of these two trees and then put the driveway around the second tree," Meggett said. "One tree is leaning and they're so close to each other that one is inhibiting the other's growth. So we didn't have any objection to him cutting down tree #5 and then going around tree #1."

Parks said the trees are very close to each other in the drive aisle.

"It's not so much that we'll lose three to five parking spaces or more, it's they're in the drive aisle," he said. "The tenant does have a mock clinic at their base in Waynesboro, Tennessee where they train people so every clinic is the exact same. They're not going to allow us to turn the building in any way or do those things."

Waveland resident Bryan Therolf said he believes that the trees enhance the property.

"Those two trees are an impressive view from Highway 90," he said. "And the live oaks are unique and that makes this community unique."

Resident Prima Luke said that the people "who live here, grew up here, we don't want to get rid of the trees."

"Find yourself a good designer and make it something different," she said. "Let us be the first ones to have a different one instead."

Burke said he's received phone calls supporting the urgent care more than the trees.

Burke made a motion to accept the site plan and the removal of the trees. The motion also included a surety bond, in the amount of $50,000 per tree to replace the trees if the project is not completed.

LaFontaine seconded the motion. Burke voted ''yes,'' Aldermen Bobby Richardson voted ''no,'' LaFontaine voted ''yes,'' Aldermen Charles Piazza voted ''no.''

Since the vote was tied, the mayor broke the tie and voted ''yes."

The motion passed 3-2.

In other action:

Smith announced that the ribbon cutting for Waveland's Lighthouse is scheduled for Dec. 1.

The board approved two proclamations recognizing the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness and Racial Reconciliation Month.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m.

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