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FPL Makes No Apologies for Shoddy Tree Trimming in the Woodlands

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By: Michael Delemma

FPL scheduled a meeting last Monday to discuss the damage and the formal complaint I made to them regarding the hacking of the trees that grow along the 64th Avenue and White Oak Lane chain link fence border.

I met with Carrie Shuster, utility arborist from FPL and Mr. Jules, foreman for the company that FPL employs to trim trees. We walked over to the area that was trimmed and I pointed out to them exactly what was wrong with the job that was performed. I told them I never in my life have seen trees damaged and cut in a way to actually make them look like a storm ripped through them: The different levels and uneven cuts of branches, the over-hanging branches along the fence line and the overall bad appearance that was left.

Shuster and Jules were very careful not to admit that the job was not done well, skirting around the fact that the trees were a mess. They said it was due to the “different varieties of trees growing within the area.”

I said that I have different varieties of shrubs growing around my property, and they are cut in a uniform manner. They both kept trying to steer me away from why the job was done that way and move on to a solution. I said that neither one of them were taking responsibility for what was done.

“You know that this job was not done right, but you refuse to admit it.” I said to Jules.

“You are an arborist and you know better,” I said to Shuster. “ What was done to these trees here as well as the hat-racking to the trees on the golf course is not right, whether you admit to it or not.”

I told them to look how poorly they were trimmed. It was obvious to me that they were cut by workers who didn’t care what kind of quality job was done. I pointed out how near one pole the trees were cut several feet shorter than the rest.

Shuster said it looked very bad, but would not admit there was any other way to avoid it. She said they needed better access to that pole. Their answer was “they will grow back quickly.” I explained that yes, they will grow back fast, but will always be at different heights.

I told Shuster, “If you went to a hair salon to get your hair trimmed, and the hairdresser gave you a bad crew cut, and after complaining their response was, ” Well it will grow back, would you be satisfied with that answer?” She responded that it would be different because that is a personal thing. I said that it is personal to me and the residents because we have to look at this travesty every day now.

Trees and bushes that were trimmed by FPL that residents view along 64th Avenue

Basically they admitted that the trees could have perhaps been cut better, but still held onto the idea that it was acceptable, which of course I disagree.

Another important issue that was mentioned was that FPL will return in a year to inspect the growth and the proximity of the trees to the wires, and then every three years if the trees are not trimmed, they will once again trim them back. I mentioned that several years ago it was stated to me by one of the trimmers that if the Woodlands would take care of maintaining and trimming these trees they wouldn’t have to get involved in the first place. If the Woodlands or the club choose to allow the trees to grow wild, then they are trimmed by FPL as they see fit.

Basically at this point there is nothing much that can be done. I suggested that they come back and try to trim them more evenly, but Shuster said that the trees are our “buffer” against the noise from 64th Avenue and if they trim the trees any more, that buffer will be further compromised.

As a peace offering, the tree trimming company will come back and remove the dead palm leaves from the strip of palm trees by the canal. They removed the dead palm fronds on the other side of the road, and admitted it looked uneven now.

Both Shuster and Jules said that ClubLink should trim the over-hanging branches on the fence that droop all the way to the grass. They also said that next time I should call them when the trimming starts and express what is taking place either good or bad. I said that I am still upset over what was done and that I do not accept their answers that they gave me, however I appreciated them taking the time to meet with me and discuss the situation. Shuster said to call her anytime and I told her that she was very professional and she thanked me.

I can’t help thinking that this situation is just not another result of the people in charge not taking their responsibilities seriously. If ClubLink, who is responsible for the maintenance of the golf course, would have trimmed those trees in the first place, then they would have perhaps been trimmed by professional trimmers, and not been hacked like they were. Where is the responsibility or pride?

There is so much neglect taking place here by different entities, and why? I don’t know, but as long as I live here I will not accept it.

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9 Responses to FPL Makes No Apologies for Shoddy Tree Trimming in the Woodlands

  1. Olligator Reply

    August 3, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    First off, I think anyone would agree that the tree trimming looks like garbage. The hat-racking disgusts me every time I drive down Bayberry. The whole key is that you cannot depend on FPL to care about asthetics when they trim, so the trees have to be trimmed proactively, as you have stated.

    Unfortunately, the city code of ordinances does allow hat-racking and aggressive pruning of trees when interfering with overhead utilities, and as the code and state law is written, FPL doesn’t have to do anything about their garbage work unless a court compels them to. Also, if any of the 64th ave trees were considered invasive species, then there is no standard for pruning them in any way, shape or form.

    HOWEVER, the fact that the trees on 64th got out of control in the first place IS the responsibility of ClubLink. That 64th ave. was not kept in check is actually a code enforcement violation that was never issued. Tamarac code DOES require pruning of trees to an arborist standard and further states that the landscaping must conform to the approved landscaping plan. The landscaping code also applies retroactively. Now, I am not old enough to have seen the Woodlands 40 years ago, but I am pretty sure that what has grown up on 64th ave. did not follow the original landscaping plan. What is left of the foliage on 64th is currently a violation of Tamarac Code. FPL did what they claimed they need to do (within their easement), but it is on ClubLink to bring what’s left into compliance with Tamarac code.

    Now is anyone going to call Tamarac CE or do I have to do that one too?

  2. Michael Reply

    August 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Olligator once again you make very valid points which I totally agree with. Unless code enforcement is blind, how could they not see that the trees were not being maintained and threfore issue fines. Clublink followed in the footsteps as the old club did, neglect, ignore, and pass the buck, plain and simple. It’s the way of the Woodlands unfortunately, and the only way to get any kind of compliance is to hit them in their pocket books. As I have said many times, if it were us, the homeowners who kept our property the way the Woodlands keeps some of the common areas, we would be heavily fined. The rules seem to apply differently towards different parties in this town.

  3. steve Reply

    August 10, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Thank to all of you that are proactive about the woodlands apperance.
    Does any body know who we can call about the property on 44th and rock island .
    44th fence line looks great but the radio station property has done nothing to improve there apperance.

    MY OTHER QUESTION IS HOW DO WE GET THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY TO PUT A GUARD RAIL UP ON COMMERCIAL AND 64TH TO PROVENT CARS FROM HIT THE WALL
    ON COMMERCIAL ,IS THE ROAD OWNED BY THE COUNTY OR STATE ?

    From Sharon: I suggest you contact Broward County Commissioner and neighbor Ilene Lieberman about getting a guardrail. That is an excellent idea. Commercial Blvd is a County Road.

  4. Michael Reply

    August 12, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Steve, call code enforcement and ask for Peyton Whitfield. As far as getting anything done about the wall by 64th ave. a guard rail is a great idea. Our mayor lives on White Oak and passes that wall all the time, and see how far that has gotten us. Ilene lives here too, need I say anything more, it speaks for itself…

  5. Sharon Aron Baron Reply

    August 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I just spoke with Ilene Lieberman, she said that you should send an email to Broward County Public Works Director, Tom Hutka THUTKA@broward.org

    He can direct you to the right person.

    Sharon

  6. Michael Reply

    August 16, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I love it, all the elected officials around here know how to tell us what we, the residents, should do and who to contact, but what are they doing? Ilene and Beth are residents, what are they doing as residents? People in their positions could be be even more effective when trying to resolve these many issues. What have they done or are they doing to help us? That is the million dollar question that never gets answered around here. S.O.S.- that has two meanings…

  7. Michael Reply

    August 22, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I reported a few weeks ago about a meeting that I had with FPL’s arborist, Carrie Shuster, about the hacking of the trees along the White Oak Lane and 64th Ave. border. Since there was little that could be done to fix the mess FPL created, Carrie promised me that since they had neatly trimmed the tall palm trees along the road upon entering section 3, on the opposite of the canal, that they would trim the canal side palms to match the ones they did trim. A few weeks passed and nothing was done as far as the naked eye could see. I called Carrie last week and she said she recieved an e-mail from FPL stating the palms were trimmed. I told her that they were not and she said she would look into it and schedule them to come out Friday (8/17)to do the trimming.
    Today I called her again and asked why the palms were still not trimmed. She responded by saying they were done last Friday. I told her that the canal side palms look nothing like the west side ones, that in fact they looked like they were not touched. Carrie began saying how it was not her intention or FPL’s to match the trim job. I reminded her of her promise and she bagan to state that only dead palm leaves facing down would be trimmed off and that ones that were facing upward would not be etc. Carrie said that the palms on the west side of the road had dead leaves as well as green leaves trimmed off. The green leaves created a greater danger of snpping off and hitting the wires, but only the ones on the side of the tree facing the wires. I said that none of this was mentioned before and that she had promised to make it all look uniformed, now all of a sudden she starts in with b.s. about the leaves facing different directions, etc. The bottom line is that Carrie Shuster is not a woman of her word, FPL truly does not give a damn, and that Club link who should be fighting for this is doing nothing. So there you have it, the Woodlands is treated with no respect, because so few of us stand up for what is right. Mayor, commissioner, Section president, presient of the WHOA, where are you? I will not compromise my ethics, nor will I allow others in our community who do not stand up for it, deter me from doing what is right. Take pride in where you live. Many of us do, but many do not. Do you think Boca West or Coral Ridge Country club would put up with this? I doubt that, but here in the Woodlands they get away with this because the powers that be do not stand up for it. A great part of why our community suffers and looks the way it does is because so many do not take respnsibilty for whar goes on. Rock Island road is a mess, trash litters the perimeter of the Woodlands. 44TH ST. has broken wooden fences behind some of the homes. Club link allows the grass to grow over the curbs on commercial blvd, and doesn’t trim around the poles and trees, also allowing vines to grow over the fences and trees. Weeds growing where the newly planted shrubs were planted by the entrances. This all adds up to neglect, lack of taking responsibilty and the lack of pride. This is how communities, neighborhoods and cities start sliding downward and become slums. I Hope this never happens here, but it unfortunately is going in that direction. Let’s try and stop it before it is too late…

  8. Michael Reply

    August 25, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    In reference what I stated above, the next day Carrie Shuster ( the arborist who works for FPL) called me and said she was sorry and that I was right, the palms by the canal were not trimmed. I said to her,”why would I tell they were not trimmed, if indeed they were?” She personally came out on Thursday and supervised the trimming of the palms. Now they look uniformed and neat. I am glad that all my efforts resulted in a fine job being performed by FPL and that Carrie Shuster came through in the end. I told her she needs to treat me to a margarita, and thanked her and she laughed and was sorry that it took so long…

  9. Chung Lee Jr Reply

    April 13, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Tree trimming? What tree is being trimmed? There are no trees. It’s all fast growing, invasive, non-native, overgrown and unmaintained weeds and vegetation like brazilian pepper, carrotwood and acacia. Its looks to me like the power company is doing a great job keeping this wild vegetation away from the wires so that the power can on in a storm.

    -Chung, New Woodlands resident

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