By B.C. Manion
News of a plan to cut down trees in the median on US 41 in Lutz created such a stir that Hillsborough County hit the brakes and arranged a community meeting to discuss the issue.
Scores of trees along US 41 have been marked with orange paint and ribbons, and that piqued the curiosity of some area residents.
When Donald Hassinger, of Cypress Cove, noticed the trees, he called the staff at Hillsborough public works to find out what was going on.
Hassinger said he learned the county planned to chop down some of the trees and to remove the vegetation in the median because the county can’t afford the maintenance.
This isn’t the first time the trees have been threatened.
They were nearly cut down a few years ago, but a private landscaper stepped forward and volunteered to maintain the trees, Hassinger said.
That arrangement has ended, and a Hillsborough staff member told Hassinger that the trees would be cut down on Jan. 14. That was before Hassinger and others questioned the county, which then decided to call a community meeting Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lutz Community Center, 101 First Ave. N.E. in Lutz.
The county’s public works staff will discuss the state-recommended maintenance needs of the trees and will explain what the tree markings mean, according to a county release. County staff will also listen to public comments and answer questions.
Representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Planning Organization have been invited to attend.
For additional information, call (813) 272-5275.
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