Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tarpon Springs adopts policy to protect trees

TARPON SPRINGS — To create more than 2 acres of artificial wetlands, a contractor had to clear some trees from North Anclote River Park.

But the contractor told city officials that mostly invasive Brazilian pepper trees would be cut down and mulched. Instead, a resident reported additional oak, pine and palm trees were ripped up and destroyed during the work in December.

The Tarpon Springs City Commission formally adopted a policy Tuesday night to prevent that from happening again.

"I think it's a good policy," said Vice Mayor Chris Alahouzos. "For the future, it's good for checks and balances as well."

The policy requires staff to notify city commissioners of specific numbers, sizes and species of trees slated for removal on any city projects. If city commissioners object to any planned tree removal, they can address it before the project starts.

The policy supplements a city ordinance that protects trees from being removed without a permit — an ordinance that usually doesn't apply to city projects.

High visibility for ad

The city found a prime place to launch Tarpon Springs' new marketing and branding initiative.

"Visit Greece without leaving Florida," reads the advertisement on the back cover of the Republican National Convention visitors' guide for delegates, which is published by the Tampa Bay Times.

"It was a real coup," said City Manager Mark LeCouris told commissioners at Tuesday's City Commission meeting. He boasted that Tarpon Springs beat out several other prospective advertisers for the placement.

The ad features a sponge diver and directs visitors to a new website, The ad cost about $3,000, LeCouris said, an expense that the city will share with local merchants.

City settles lien

Also Tuesday night, the city finally agreed on a settlement for a 10-year outstanding lien — for a fraction of the debt.

In 2001, too many cars sat at Percy's Towing, 424 N Pinellas Ave.

That's a code violation, an inspector told the landlord and tenant.

But for 304 days, the problem wasn't fixed. It racked up more than $45,000 in code enforcement fines.

It was, LeCouris said, one of the city's "biggest eyesores."

After the property owner's initial offer of $600 to pay off the lien, city commissioners voted 4-0 to accept a second offer of $2,000 for the violation. Commissioner Townsend Tarapani was absent from the meeting.

The deal slashed amounts due that totaled $1,700 in fines for a previous violation involving an unsightly dumpster; $45,600 in fines for the nearly year-long illegal collection of cars; and $1,150 in administrative fees.

In accepting the $2,000, commissioners expressed a desire to move on. LeCouris shook his head as the violators left the meeting.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or

Tarpon Springs adopts policy to protect trees 08/22/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 7:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Spacewalking astronauts pull off urgent repairs at International Space Station (w/video)


    CAPE CANAVERAL — Spacewalking astronauts completed urgent repairs at the International Space Station on Tuesday, replacing equipment that failed three days earlier and restoring a backup for a vital data-relay system.

    In this NASA provided frame from video, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer works to install antennas at the International Space Station while astronaut Peggy Whitson, not pictured, works on repairs Tuesday, May 23, 2017. [NASA via AP]
  2. Forecast: Severe storms, gusty winds for Tampa Bay as cold front arrives Wednesday


    Muggy and dry conditions will prevail across the Tampa Bay region ahead of a cold front that could produce gusty winds and potentially severe storms late Wednesday.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  3. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way


    Rays veteran RHP Alex Cobb had a lot to say Monday about the team needing to focus on getting past .500 and building a winning record.

    And after the disappointing 3-2 loss that …

    Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.
  4. Tampa murder suspect told police he wanted to stop neo-Nazi roommates from committing acts of domestic terrorism


    TAMPA — After he admitted to shooting two roommates and led police to their dead bodies, Devon Arthurs said he committed the killings to prevent the pair from carrying out terrorist acts, a prosecutor wrote in a court filing.

    Devon Arthurs, 18, told police  he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with his roommates, Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk, until he converted to Islam, according to a police report.
[Tampa Police]
  5. Pinellas School Board approves plan that aims to close achievement gap


    After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the Pinellas County School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan that aims to tackle the achievement gap in 10 years and settles a long-running lawsuit over the education of …

    "I'm an optimist. I think this is going to work," Pinellas School Board member Linda Lerner said Tuesday after the board was presented with a plan that aims to settle a long-running lawsuit over the education of black students and close the achievement gap. The board voted 7-0 to approve the plan. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]