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Updated: 04/25/2014 10:36:44PM

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NORTH PORT — The fine for cutting down a heritage tree on residential or commercial property in North Port could cost hundreds now, following the recent revision of the city’s tree ordinance.

In the past, property owners didn’t need a permit to remove heritage — or protected — trees on their own land after a home was built. Now, a tree 30 inches or more in diameter cannot be cut down on private or commercial property without first getting permission from City Arborist Ryan Pieper. If Pieper deems the tree can be cut down, a fee of $100 per inch over the 30 inches in diameter is assessed. For example: To fell a tree 35 inches in diameter will cost a homeowner $500 for the city permit. If there are two of the same-size trees, it’s $1,000, and so on. The money goes into the city’s tree fund to plant trees in parks, near city buildings and along public roadways.

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