Dead West End trees may rack up thousands in fines

A dead pine tree on the West End Golf property in Newberry could cost the owner thousands of dollars in code violation fines.

During the Oct. 7 Alachua County Special Magistrate hearing, a county forester and landscape inspector presented photos of the dead pine tree that sits in close proximity to homes lining the unkept golf course.

Row of West End trees that include a dead tree in county code violation

The inspector noted that the tree was in violation of Section 74.29 of the Alachua County Code which prohibits “Hazardous Lands/Dangerous Structures.”

“It shall be unlawful for any owner of real property in the unincorporated area of Alachua County to create, keep, maintain or allow the existence of any hazardous land or dangerous structure, as defined in section,” the code says. 

The violation was filed on July 23, 2021, and is a repeat violation. The first occurrence was brought into compliance, but the new report of a hazardous land or dangerous structure was introduced and discussed at the Oct. 7 hearing as case number SM 21-060, Alachua County vs. West End Golf Club, Inc.

The property is registered to Peter Min, who was not present at the hearing to ask for a reduction to any potential fines.

Diana Johnson, senior assistant county attorney, presented the case and recommended a $250 a day fine until the property is brought into compliance.

The county sent Min a registered letter on Sept. 22 via certified mail, but Johnson said it was returned. The county then posted the notice of the hearing 10 days in advance of the Oct. 7 meeting.

Along with the $250-a-day-fine, the violation also comes with a $210 cost for the county to file notice of a lien.

The West End Golf property has sat dormant with trees falling and overgrowth while a developer eyes it and adjacent homeowners fight for the space to remain green. In August the developer presented a plan that would potentially retain some of the area’s green space, but advocates said they had outstanding questions about the proposal.  

The county started receiving complaints about tall weeds and dangerous trees in 2020 but said unless the trees are close to homes there was nothing it could do to address this issues.

Former West End Golf Club could be fined for dead trees
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