- Associated Press - Monday, December 7, 2015

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A Gulfport property owner wants to cut down five Live oaks on Pass Road’s only tree-shaded lots so he can put in a parking lot that could help sell the property.

The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1HPV61Z) the city’s Planning Commission rejected the request from Dennis Barber, but he has appealed to the City Council for permission to cut down the trees.

The City Council is scheduled to consider the request at its Tuesday meeting.

The city staff recommended denial of the request because the building Barber is trying to sell, the old Gulf Regional Planning Commission office, already has parking in back. A representative of Barber said the business property would be easier to sell if a front parking lot with seven spaces is added for potential clients and visitors. The property sits just east of point where Pass Road and 28 Street intersect.

“Those are established trees,” city arborist Gus Wesson told the commission. “You drive down Pass Road right now, what do you have?

“Honestly, you have open-front parking lots with no trees. This is one of the prettiest corners on Pass Road. Everybody recognizes it. I would just personally hate on my end to see trees come out for a drive and parking.”

Barber was willing to donate trees that would be planted elsewhere in exchange for the ones being lost.

Commission member Marty Warren pointed out that 15 trees sit on the property.

“The trees are beautiful,” Warren said. “I’ve been by there a number of times. This is an area as everyone knows there’s not a whole lot of trees there. I think on the property next door that Mr. Barber owns I don’t believe there’s a blade of grass on it.”

However, Warren said, Barber wants to remove only five trees and is offering to compensate with other plantings. Warren and commission member B.J. Sellers opposed denying Barber the tree removal permit.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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