Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Not so scenic highway after state clears ancient oaks | Pensacola News Journal | pnj.com

Scenic no more after FDOT acts like a bull in a china shop. What were they thinking? Click title for link to article and be sure to check out the pictures. This was the state's first designated scenic highway.
Scenic Highway is renowned for its natural beauty and majestic canopy. The roadway was the first in the state to be designated a scenic highway — in 1998.
Today, a special overlay district provides special zoning protections for the corridor.The Scenic Highway Overlay District covers the land on either side of the highway, from approximately five miles outside the Pensacola city limits to the Santa Rosa County line.
Keith Wilkins, director of Escambia County’s Department of Community and Environment, said the district had the strictest tree protections of any area in the county.
The current version of the Land Development Code, which is in the process of being amended, prohibits removing, trimming or “in any way damaging” any tree within 20 feet of the right of way along the corridor.
However, Wilkins said, the additional protections did not apply for the state.
“DOT has the ability to do basically whatever they want to do ...” Wilkins said. “Sometimes they are sensitive to local ordinances. Sometimes they are not.”