The Real Story: The Tree And The Development

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

You might have heard how a heartless developer is threatening the life of a rare tree so he can build in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

 

Asi Cymbal, project developer, next to “The Tree”

 

 

It’s a compelling story of the type the media loves, pitting good and evil.

Good, the environmentalists who want to “save” the tree (Yay!).

Evil, the greedy developer from Miami (Boo!) who is threatening the tree with death (Boo!) to enrich himself (Boo!).

One problem with this scenario: It’s not true.

At a news conference today at the site of the controversial Marina Lofts project, I looked around.

The six acres along the New River is a dump. Huge FPL transmission lines run thorough the middle. Run-down little utilized buildings.  Tattered bushes. Waste on the ground.

The land is boxed in by two giant apartment complexes. It also abuts the railroad tracks. This is far from pristine property.

Then there is The Tree.  The Tree that has been so controversial.

 

The Big Tree

 

It’s an Albizia saman, or rain tree.

At 72 feet high with a 135 foot wide crown, it’s the largest of its type in Florida. Perhaps anywhere.

It’s big.

Big and ugly.

It is not adorned with moss or orchards. A crooked basketball hoop is nailed into its bark.

It is just one big tree among many big trees in an empty rundown lot.

In my opinion, it would be no loss to cut it down.

But I’m not developer Asi Cymbal.

He said he is spending $1 million to move the tree to another part of the property. It would be on the street in a public park.

The tree is currently secluded on private property which can’t legally be accessed.

Cymbal hired Bob Brennan, a private arboricultural consultant who also works for Fairchild Gardens. He hired Paul Cox, an arborist who is one of the nation’s most experienced movers of giant and endangered trees.

These experts will move the tree. Brennan says it should live for another 200 years.

The rain tree is only one of dozens of trees on the property.  A number of them are over 100 years old. All will be saved.

 

Project Already Renting

 

So when Cymbal says that Marina Lofts will be an environmentally favorable project, believe him.

Now there is blight on the New River. Soon Cymbal hopes there will be 998 affordable luxury apartments (Rents will start at $1,100-a-month.), stores and restaurants surrounded by tropical trees.

Cymbal will bring in Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, whose goal is to maximize the visual access to the water.

Prospective renters like the idea. Half of Phase One has been rented without putting a stick in the ground.

Cymbal expects the buildings to be filled with singles working downtown, childless couples and empty nesters. His marketing studies show that as many as 20 percent of those living in the downtown Fort Lauderdale area are college students, so he’ll pitch to them, too.

The Tree has become such a public controversy, that what was once a no brainer could get derailed at the city commission.

I asked Cymbal if he envisioned the controversy over the tree when he bought the property in late 2011.

“I didn’t envision illogical opposition,” he said.

Cymbal called the opponents a “small group.”

He is right.  There have been far fewer opponents than will be employed building the $150 million project.  Fewer opponents than want to live in the buildings.

But the opponents have had one advantage. Only one.

They know how to spin the media….until now.

 

XXXXX

The project:

 

 



75 Responses to “The Real Story: The Tree And The Development”

  1. Don't have a cowan says:

    Big and Ugly Tree? Buddy you are out on a limb on that one.

    Remember, the tree was noted on the plat as protected. The property owner knew or should have known. I don’t understand why they didn’t design the buildings around the tree…”the Rain Tree Apartments” ?

    Now it is up the the City Commission to decide if the tree has a chance to survive the move or ask the owner to go back to the drawing board and design a new building.

  2. Green Broward says:

    Oh so you bought all the “Spin” that was done by the developer who staged an Earth Day press conference? Did you know that this developer has a marketing and PR firm working for them and is likely paying them 6 figures by now to get this project approved?
    I would say a few unorganized environmental protestors vs a Developer with high end marketing firm and lobbyists are the ones who should be able to win the “Spin.” So why have they not thus far???

  3. Ghost of McLovin says:

    excellent post – thanks for printing the truth. people have property rights, tree huggers can buy the property to keep the tree if they wish

  4. Lynne Helm says:

    Buddy? Buddy? Come on, Buddy. You say “big”? … “big and ugly”? … are we talking about the gorgeous raintree our city voted to protect in 1987? The lovely tree within walking distance from my house in the Tarpon River neighborhood? Where its protected status is noted on the plat? Where there’s an attractive, appropriately sized condo next door? And terrific potential for logical development on an open lot? I worry that Asi Cymbal, carpetbagging symbol of arrogance personified, has slipped you a micky.

    By the way, Buddy. Do you now live in Fort Lauderdale? Last I knew (since we go way back and I must admit to always admiring your reporting abilities)you didn’t live here. So think about it before you get so enthusiastic about a potential blight like Marina Lofts on my neighborhood. That and a developer attack on the largest raintree in Florida.

    FROM BUDDY:

    “Blight like Marina Lofts”

    You must be kidding. There are two huge apartment complexes directly next door to this property — one already built and one being built. There is a FEC RR track running by it. It is a wasteland of garbage and weeds now. Anything would be an improvement.

  5. oh really says:

    Fort Lauderdale wants a river walk, maybe as nice a tourist draw as San Antonio’s Riverwalk.
    google it or look at
    http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/

    dream on Fort Lauderdale as you pave over and over develope every square meter

  6. Brett Circe says:

    Great article, thanks for sharing. Powerful stat they have a 100% success rate with giant tree transplants.

  7. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    According to the Sun-Sentinel in Oct. 2012, it is not “just one big tree among many”; see http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-10-21/news/fl-champion-rain-tree-2-20121021_1_champion-tree-century-old-tree-albizia: “In 1982, the Florida Division of Forestry declared the tree a “Florida Champion,” meaning it was the largest of its species in the state. Since in the U.S. rain trees only grow in Florida, it may well be the biggest such tree in the country… In 1987, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission designated the evergreen a ‘protected tree’ which means it can only be moved upon the commission’s specific approval. Such trees, the commission said, ‘are particularly worth preserving and protecting for the future enjoyment and benefit of the city’s citizens.’”

  8. Sam The Sham says:

    It is very difficult to successfully move a tree this size. The trees can be moved but they seldom thrive afterwards. It is usually the case that a reasonably sized nursery grown tree will be larger and healthier in ten or twenty years.

  9. ProPublicInterest says:

    Thanks, Buddy. As you note, if anyone took the time to actually listen, learn and evaluate the proposal to move the tree…which has been done numerous times with far larger trees, contrary to the info being put out by those opposing the Marina Lofts project…they’d find that not only is the tree highly likely to survive for another 200 years, an entire park and even more trees will be added to the entire area…with REAL public access for all.

    Unfortunately, the leaders fanning the flames of opposition to this project are many of the same folks who gave us the ‘Save the Shippey House’ fiasco. And it’s looking more and more to many of us as if they are simply using the ‘Rain Tree’ in the same way they used a ‘historic preservation’ argument in their efforts to drum up support to ‘save’ The Shippey House…and, of course, left us a financial and aesthetic fiasco. One has to wonder if both the Shippey House protest and the Rain Tree protest were, and are, really just extensions of an ongoing, thinly-disguised political agenda whose real purpose is to try to discredit and embarrass our current local and county political administrations by any means possible in hopes of creating a better opportunity for their own candidates…who were overwhelmingly rejected in our last city elections.

  10. Bah says:

    Why Don’t we just knock down that old Stranahan House on the New River as well and expand the intended development to it next door. We don’t need anymore history, heritage or culture, just vacant condos in Downtown Fort Lauderdale.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Thanks for your comment.

    Remember that the rain tree is not “history, heritage or culture.”

  11. Kelly Alvarez Vitale says:

    Thank you for writing this article. I love Fort Lauderdale (and live downtown) and I am fully in support of this project.

    Marina Lofts is consistent with the master plans of the city. As proposed, it meets the intent, vision and planning principles of the Downtown Master Plan, The New River Master Plan and the Riverwalk District Master Plan. The vision of a vibrant mixed-use Downtown, combining new homes with office space, shops and restaurants; a downtown with destinations, activities and places that appeal to both residents and visitors is not a bad thing.

    The Marina Lofts project meets and exceeds the City’s Vision to activate the Riverwalk District as an urban center of Broward County, providing a balance between iconic architecture, the natural environment, and urbanism.

    If I thought the developer was being unreasonable and not listening to the concerns of the community/neighborhood, I may have opposed the project. But instead, the developer has gone above and beyond to address the issues, preserve the tree, create an environmentally space and improve our downtown. It’s hard for me to understand why this isn’t a win/win for everybody.

  12. green Broward says:

    FACT: Rain Trees consume more carbon dioxide than almost any other species of tree.

  13. just the facts says:

    @Kelly Vitale
    are you related to the city commission appointed chair of the vizion Comm?
    randy vitale?

  14. Jonathan Schwartz says:

    I live downtown as well and I am in favor of this project. The affordability and unique design of Marina Lofts will have a large impact on attracting young professionals to our community. Marina Lofts introduction of cutting edge architecture will set the tone for future developments. In addition, this project will bring density to the south-side of the river and activate an underutilized area of our downtown core. Projects on this scale have a significant impact on the evolution and future growth of our City.

    I hope we can all celebrate the unique beauty of our community and see the potential for how great downtown Fort Lauderdale could be.

  15. John Henry says:

    I find it very, very hard to believe that a 1/1 in this brand new building overlooking the new river will start at $1,100 per month when a 1/1′s in my 10 year old building next to the tunnel start at $1500.

    This is one whole scam just waiting to be kicked into gear.

  16. Cap'n Loogie says:

    Buddy, you’re wrong. Take a look at what Cymbal has built. Not what his website says he’s built but what he actually has down there in Miami. The guy’s a con in my opinion. He’s packaging properties to flip them. It’s not about the “big ugly tree” it’s about the dirt bag who wants to sell out Fort Lauderdale. Change the color of your journalism from yellow to green. I have the City’s best interest at heart. Cymbal does not.

  17. Development says:

    Buddy, I think you are missing the point. There are so many trees torn down in the name of development in the last 50 years all over FL, and specifically downtown Fort Lauderdale, its insane. Rio Vista has been pummeled. Victoria Park is hanging in there but they lost a ton and had a lot that have been cut back so much for townhomes, they almost killed them. Las Olas Isles and Harbor Beach never had any trees because man made. Colee Hammock and some of the surrounding neighborhoods have survived quite well. Some of the less expensive neighborhoods in Ft Laud actually have the best old trees. So we needed to grow to accomodate the massive influx of people, but we may not have been the best stewards of what was here first and if we keep going in this direction will prob regret it. Not giving you a hard time but look at some old pictures of S FL. Regards

    FROM BUDDY:

    Your argument seems to say that this property, because it is being developed late in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s building cycle, should suffer for the sins of those earlier developments.

    The debate on development in Fort Lauderdale was lost long ago. The time to fight this was two decades ago or more.

    Commissioners decided downtown Fort Lauderdale should be developed. Even those elected on a slow-growth platform flipped to embrace the developers’ vision.

    The fight is already lost. Turning down this project solves nothing.

    In addition, designing the project differently would no doubt rob the public of the chance to ever see this much-acclaimed ugly tree since it is now slated to be moved to a park.

  18. chris engle says:

    As a homeowner in FLL, I want to say that there are many of us who think this project is cool, and should be built. I think the developer has done a great job of implementing a plan to save the tree, and it’s worth the risk. As a baby boomer myself, i worry sometimes we are a city catering only to people my age and above. I love the project- the architecture is amazing and its a very thoughtful design. I love that it will be upscale but affordable rentals that will surely attract a cool young professional vibe. We should be encouraging development that creates an urban environment for everyone, and this project is a home run in my perspective. Again this isnt a battle between an evil developer and residents, there are MANY of us who are residents and strong neighborhood supporters who are in favor of the project. I sincerely hope its approved.

  19. Jessica Kross says:

    DEAR PRO PUBLIC INTEREST: I WROTE THE SAVE THE RAIN TREE PETITION. I AM JUST AN AVERAGE CITIZEN OF THE CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE who heard about it on the news that a PROTECTED TREE – is NOT Really PROTECTED in our CITY, and its supposed to PRotected from REMOVAL and HARM – so HOW can there EVEN BE a QUESTION of MOVING IT. I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THE SHIPPEY HOUSE, I have NEVER been involved or interested in Politics before so to that comment- YOU COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG. I didn’t it On My Own with help from Cal Deal and The Cities ARBORISTS the UNPAID ONES. The ONLY Experts who say the Tree will survive a Move are the ones being PAID for by the DEVELOPER. SO, FORGET YOUR CONSPIRACY THEORY – IT was JUST me average CITIZEN working on my OWN and learning from ALL that would help me.
    As to the WRITER of this article: The Rain Tree looks different as many trees do during different seasons, you should see it now, starting to bud and turning green! Its canopy so beautiful! To call this ugly is to see it bare maybe or you are blind? Wait until it blossoms!!!!
    MEASUREMENTS Taken by the CITY ARBORISTs for the City of Fort Lauderdale – TOM CHANCEY – UNPAID – NOT BOUGHT EXPERT the tree is MUCh larger than Cymbal’s experts Report, It is 6 Stories High, the crown diameter is about 130 feet, The Girth of its Trunk is just short of 20 FEET AROUND. LARGEST TREE EVER MOVED/TRANSPLANTED – SEE SOURCE – BOOK OF GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS – “Old Glory” a California Oak that ws 23.5 Feet NARROWER, with a trunk girth 3 feet 4 inches SMALLER than the Rain Tree. IF the Project is SO Good, WHY then has the MARINE ADVISORY Said NO? – ANSWER: the damage to the RIVER.
    And who else has WRITTEN PROCLAMATIONS against the Tree – YES- The HIstorical Society of FLorida, this Tree was planted by our City’s Pioneers 90 to 100 years ago.
    The Broward Water & Soil Conservation Committee also wrote a Resolution Against the Project for its impact on the environment is NOT Acceptable. ALL THE SEWAGE from ALL THE BUILDINGS on the New River GO DIRECTLY into the RIVER, a project of this MASSIVE, OVER SIZED, OVER PACKED DENSITY will have TRULY HARMFUL Effects.
    LUXURY APTS.??!!! Out of 998 Units 342 ARE EFFICIENCIES –

    - Actual Unit size 386 Ft. THIS IS A LUXURY? This is a cruise ship cabin, over jammed/crammed in housing where someone wants to make as much $ per square INCH as possible with no thought For ANYTHING ELSE.

    PARKING – The parking entrance will be opposite the entrance at the Esplanade. This is where the Rain Tree is now. THAT PUTS THOSE LITTLE STREETS and that WHOLE HISTORIC neighborhood in a MESS Of traffic, and that’s just with possible tenants, not counting retail stores, and the narrow streets there! What are they going to do to your yards????

    OH, As to the Retail – ITS REQUIRED BY THE CITY – NO Brillant Idea on the part of the Developer.

    -The number of units has been reduced from 1066 to 998 (i.e. a reduction of 68 units or 6.4%). The parking required for the 998 units is suppose to be 1941 but Cymbal Development wants a ruling to allow for only 1368 parking spaces (a 573 unit shortfall or 30% less than required). WHY DO BUILDERS DO THIS??? WHERE ARE ALL THE TENANTS GOING TO PARK? SHOPPERS that can’t park don’t COME BACK, same with DINERS and PARTY GOERS – btw The Rain Tree is TO BE THE PARKING LOT!

    And there is Sooo much more. Yes, the issue of the Integrity of MY Cities Local Government. The Commission passed the buck by not voting it historic, they want the CITY to decide they could end up with a spit decision!

    There is the issue of Integrity to honor AN ORDER made by our own elected officials!

    – the “PARK” an empty lot in a Warehouse area is 90 Feet, the ROOT SYTEM OF THE RAIN TREE EXTENDS WELL BEYOND its 130 foot Crown, WELL BEYOND as do All Albinian Samian trees. IT WILL DIE ON THIS TOO SMALL LOT – The so called “PARK” is also too far away from the RIver from which the Rain Tree drinks and does not have the same “sugar sand.” SEE TOM CHANCEY for more on that.

    THE SEWER SYSTEM on that side of the River has 4 inch Pipes! 4 INCHES, that means every single street in that Neighborhood will be torn up! FOR YEARS. The Sewage Backs up NOW all down 2nd and RIVERWALK which is already ONE DEAD condo/mall/retail space SMELLS LIKE A SEWER 24/7 NOW.

    THE TRANSMISSION LINES, THE HUGE FPL poles, how can you even navigate the tree on its special removal system around the Power Lines that are already there that the Tree is already taller than NO ANSWERS To these questions have Come from the Developer yet.

    And the POWER itself, comes from 2nd Street, on the OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER and NO Answer as to HOW to solve that has been Addressed by the DEVELOPER Either! Going under or OVER the river?? How bad is THAT going to look, be. How disruptive. How expensive to the Residents of the City of Fort Lauderdale on their Taxes and on their environment. NO ANSWERS have come to any of these MASSIVE problems.

    And then there is my personal feelings that lead me to take action and Create the PETITION ON MY OWN: THE WHOLE FREAKING PROJECT IS JUST RIDICULOUS and it DOESN’T BELONG HERE! You PICKED the WRONG spot in the WRONG City on in the WRONG neighborhood in the wrong sweet historic neighborhood. I think the Building is UGLY, OVER PACKED like Sardines and looks AWFUL, block upon cement block, HOT sun glaring and a wall of CEMENT that will allow no sunlight around it – there is NOTHING aesthetically pleasing about it in ANYWAY, and it does not belong in a historical district, It does not appear to e luxurious and 368 square foot apartments fit ONE person and at $1100 a month (The actual rental rate at this time) I don’t see where you are going to get your “well-heeled clientele) you promise to bring. ITS TOO BIG, TOO MODERN IN STYLE FOR DOWNTOWN, NO ONE IS GOING TO GO THERE TO PARTY, SHOP, HAVE COFFEE. Its a FREAKING JOKE – the impact on the River and the Enviroment have been found to be Unacceptable by all Expert committees and factions in our City so far, and the horrible impact the on the Residents that live there in the historic Bryan homes neighborhood well that is Unquestionably Unacceptable. AND ITS NOT GREEN. Sorry Mr. Cymbal that you bought this foreclosed property for less than HALF its value at a Foreclosure sale without doing your homework, spent your money on a lot with a Protected Tree – NOW DO WHAT YOU BOUGHT INTO – PROTECT IT FROM HARM AND REMOVAL, and Don’t try to sell us that with all your experts, Money and Expertise You DIDN’T KNOW the property housed a PROTECTED TREE! TOO BAD it does. And the Citizens of the City want it to Stay just that. A CITY DOESN’T PROTECT A TREE FOR NO GOOD REASON and take the time and money to enter AN ORDER.

    I did My research – YOU DO YOURS! I don’t have to hide behind a fake name

    ANY one who doubts the veracity of what I have written here – get in touch with me! My name and number are right on the Petition to Save the Rain Tree (we are nearing 3000 Signatures!!!). My Names is Jessica Kross, my e-mail is jesred@comcast.net, feel free to contact me – I have SO much more to say. You can find me on facebook as Jessica Kross. I will be happy to talk to you, show you my rough drafts and homework and reading material and the hours I spent working on the PETITION ON MY OWN.

    Sincerely!!
    Jessica Kross
    Resident City of Fort Lauderdale

  20. Jessica Kross says:

    PLEASE JOIN THE THOUSANDS – SIGN THE ON-LINE PETITION TO SAVE THE FORT LAUDERDALE RAIN TREE! OR EMAIL ME FOR A PDF COPY OF THE HARD COPY at Jesred@comcast.net

    http://signon.org/sign/save-the-fort-lauderdale.fb23?source=c.fb&r_by=58799

  21. Jessica Kross says:

    Sorry Trunk girth of largest tree ever moved per Guinness Book 3 to 4 FEET smaller, typing fast and passionately! Forgive my typos!

  22. Jessica Kross says:

    I AM AN OPPONENT, I DON’T NOW HOW TO ‘SPIN THE MEDIA’ What a joke your don’t know what you’re talking about! I DID THIS because I CARE and I LIVE here and I LOVE that tree and our historical districts. YOU ARE FLAT OUT WRONG.

  23. Jessica Kross says:

    ONE MORE THING! :) A really BRILLANT ARCHITECT and DEVELOPER and their team should Certainly be able to work this all out, INCORPATING the Rain Tree into the project. Not against Development, Against IMPROPER and OVER Development.

  24. Rachel Sanders says:

    To the writer of this article: you are totally missing the point of why citizens are petitioning to save this tree. Who cares if it’s ugly (in you’re opinion)? The tree is an icon; it’s been there for decades, and to uproot it and move it is beyond stupid. Quit bashing the “Green folk” who actually give a damn about it. Your developers are, of course, going to reiterate how “safe” of a move this is because that is what they are paid to do. Florida has enough buildings; every acre of land has been developed on. Why ruin a historic site? For greediness for some soon-to-be over priced apartments? If you think the downtown area looks like a dump, then use the money to clean it up and leave the property the way it is (under developed). As Jessica put it, any good architect would be able to work around this. If it looks that bad to you, make the tree the center point and add life around it.

  25. Just one vote says:

    You go Jessica! thanks for ALL your efforts and passion. Cal Deal and the Garden Club too.
    Interesting point on the existing sanitary sewer pipes and size. Did WaterWorks 2010 ever upgrade ANYTHING in this neighborhood south of river and running to the waste plant near the neighborhood? The one where the city and public works keeps buying ‘odor eaters’ to quell the smell. Same sewer plant that Tim Smith and Company toured last fall and got a real eyeopener at. What are the impact fees for adding that much sewer waste to the system? Would the city commission really just let them dumps tens of thousands of gallans of waste in the New River every day to avoid sewer line upsizing?

  26. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Here is a great summary & illustration of the case against moving the tree:

    http://www.fortlauderdaleobserver.com/raintree/2012-10-16-rain-tree-email.pdf

    And here is the Wikipedia page for this species:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albizia_saman

    All these opposition arguments have merit:

    * Moving a tree of this size is very risky and unlikely to succeed
    * The proposed location is too small for a tree of this size
    * The tree absorbs lots of CO2
    * The tree contributes natural beauty

    In addition, the intense criticism of the developer’s plan to build a thousand very small units has great merit. Japan is now struggling to overcome the disastrous results of such ill-advised construction:

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19961013&slug=2354061

    However, the tree also poses important risks. Apparently the folks who planted it decades ago didn’t put a lot of thought into the question of whether this species would be at all suitable for a very hurricane-prone and highly populated location. From Wikipedia: “Large branches of the tree tend to break off, particularly during rainstorms. This can be hazardous as the tree is very commonly used for avenue plantation.”

  27. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The petition created by Jessica Kross has over 2,000 signatures opposing a 998-unit development. Buddy’s claim – “There have been far fewer opponents than will be employed building the $150 million project.  Fewer opponents than want to live in the buildings.” – is blatantly false.

    Ms. Kross has done some great (though ungrammatical) investigative journalism. She is very smart, and she is certainly running rings around this developer. These would-be-renters should urgently look at the question of how to get their money back ASAP.

  28. Jessica Kross says:

    Mr. Nevins, you are not the whole media, you are one small part, don’t over credit yourself. There are THOUSANDS against the project as it is, but not against development. And I am no professional BOUGHT lobbyist, and I DO have media behind me. Not because I ‘Know how to spin it.” But because I spoke up and people are listening there are over 2000 signatures on the on-line petition, and there are about 1000 on my dining room table, and I believe that is now more than the # of tenants the pretend they would rent there. If you go to the Marina Lofts page on Facebook, they have their “recommendations” they are fake and researched each and everyone of them one night. All those saying “They can’t wait to be a tenant” – They are the interior decorators, the construction supply company, the Glass and Window and aluminium company, and they are the development group, the real estate agent, the promotions group Star Mark, they are related to those on the Commissions and committees that want this project, just as those are they wrote here in favor of the project. They are fake. Those tenants have yet to be seen as anything more than wishful thinking at this point, on a project that has not even been given final approval and has not solved all the problems, way beyond the issue of the tree. The tree is UGLY, well the trees picture is up everywhere now and its far from ugly and you are trying to sell that and I have to wonder if someone is paying you to write this drivel and to try and build a political conspiracy theory well that is just laughable Thank you for being so entertaining – that has just made my day. WE don’t say Don’t develope, we say DEVELOP RESPONIBLY> This is not that.

  29. Jessica Kross says:

    Also, Buddy, in response to, and I quote you the lot looking like a “It is a wasteland of garbage and weeds now”

    The Developer NOW owns the property, it is his responsibility to keep it up. I drive to the tree all the time. THERE IS NO GARBAGE and its MOWED, and there are not excessive weeds. There are some downed tree branches near the water, that needs to be cleaned up. I DROVE OVER TODAY AFTER COMMENTING HERE.

    If the lot does now or ever looks like a wasteland of weeds and garbage – well then that will be Mr. Cymbal’s fault. He owns it and now he needs to keep it nice as does any landlord.

    Do you have a fear of open spaces?

  30. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    Re response to no. 17 that: “it is now slated to be moved to a park.”

    The tree is absolutely not slated to be moved to a park (by the developer or anyone else). According to the developer’s plan, if the move is approved by the city commission, the tree (if it were to survive) would remain elsewhere on his own private property, with significantly less greenspace around it.

    There is no evidence that the property would be offered to, or accepted by, the city, as a “park.” If it were, it would be by far the smallest park in the county — smaller than the tiny “greenways” which the city currently includes in its calculations of greenspace.

    {BTW the very significant reduction is so-called “required” parking is a big deal, with no real justification. So far the proposal is asking for a lot of contortions of city standards and guidelines (and ordinances), including the orientation of the proposed buildings. City guidelines call for North-South orientations to permit less walling-off of the river, and the proposed plan is the exact opposite.)

    The city deserves a better quality plan, more compatible with a livable urban environment, and it can get one if it wants one.

  31. Sunshine says:

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

    http://Www.Fcaebook.com/groups/SaveTheRaintree
    Comission dates , hearing and petitions available JOIN. And help make a difference and set a precident that PROTECTED means EXACTLY that. Buying a piece of land in a foreclosure doesn’t give you the right , the developer had KNOWLEDGE of the property when he purchased it and if he didn’t, well his loss … All of Fort Lauderdale is blighted an littered its time to clean up not add more to the empty housing issues and overcrowding in a city plagued with the highest foreclosure rates … 1100 a month is NOT affordable rent to single or college students whose average salaries are about 400 a week that’s 90 % of their income … Realty check!!!!!

  32. Sunshine says:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=194181244062251&set=a.139052296241813.31627.134817156665327&type=1&theater look at the picture and tell me if what you see is what is described as UGLY and trash ridden ..this image comes from the marina lofts page on facebook … I see beauty and one arborist who seems to defy that of countless arborist s and foresters who say this tree cannot be moved and survive

    FROM BUDDY:

    Who are those “countless arborists and foresters?”

  33. Jessica Kross says:

    Ungrammatical as hell! Please forgive me. I really do need to proof read! I am trying to squeeze this all in, get this information everywhere I can (and there is so much of it,) be everywhere I need to be, respond to over 250 emails every evening, and the telephone calls, live, take care of my home, and work full time. Thank you to all who have supported here, and your excellent information. I have no way to reach you otherwise – to thank you but here. Pass the tissues, you have moved me today.

  34. zoning watchdog says:

    this city commission has supported and approved reduced REQUIRED parking (per ULDR) for the last 4 years on residential and commercial development
    the residential building under construction (nu river) adjacent to the bridge has significant required parking “Relief”. thats because garages are expensive and the ROI is not suficient
    the developers proposed residents will BUY monthly parking passes in near by city and county paid parking garages
    oh yeah right.
    if parking is reduced for this marina lofts and efficiencies are 400 sf with not enough parking that sounds like Section 8 or Subsidized housing to me

    FROM BUDDY:

    There are efficiencies in old buildings near Las Olas that are probably the same or less square feet.

    Having less than adequate parking is a legitimate problem–the developers’ problem. If he can’t convince prospective residents that he has a place for their cars, he won’t rent apartments.

  35. Noreen says:

    These neighborhood protestors are lucky that the developer didn’t cut the tree down or poison it and pay a fine, which would have been less than the $1 million its costing to move it.

  36. Ha Ha Ha says:

    If buying parking space in a parking garage is needed, that should be a very big warning that the area is already very much OVERBUILT and that it certainly does NOT need yet another multistory building to further increase its congestion.

    I hope Jessica Kross will soon become a candidate for election to the Broward County Commission. She is a honest, hardworking person, and that alone would be a huge improvement relative to many of the other people who have been (and in certain cases still are) Broward County Commissioners.

    FROM BUDDY:

    The downtown is overbuilt. That battle was lost long ago.

    The law says government can’t deny one developer permission to build a structure siilar to what another developer built on virtually identical neighboring property. That’s an unreasonable taking of a person’s property, forbidden by the Constitution.

    There is a huge apartment buildings on either side of this property. There will be something built on this valuable waterfront property no matter what happens to the tree unless the city wants to buy it as park land.

  37. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The Property Appraiser’s web page for the parcel containing the tree is here:

    http://bcpa.net/RecInfo.asp?URL_Folio=504210013560

    Click on the “View Map” button and you will see an aerial view of the property with its boundaries superimposed onto the image. It’s a square parcel closely containing one very large rain tree. The parcel was last purchased on 12/20/2011 for $11,525,000 and its listed “Market Value” is $326,240. The address is 424 SW 4 AVENUE , FORT LAUDERDALE and the Property Owner is DOWNTOWN FORT LAUDERDALE WATERFRONT 18 LLC at Mailing Address 3470 N MIAMI AVE MIAMI FL 33127.

  38. Christine says:

    Jessica .

    Seriously.

    What do u think about the tree?

    P. S. Are you related to Commissioner Angelo Castillio ?

  39. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The previous purchase of the “rain tree” parcel was for $895,000 on 3/22/04. The 12/20/11 purchaser paid 12.88 times what it was worth only 7 years and 9 months earlier. That’s a 39% annual rate of appreciation for the land underneath the tree. Apparently the purchase price is misleading because several other parcels were also purchased on the same day for the same price:

    http://bcpa.net/RecInfo.asp?URL_Folio=504210013550

    http://bcpa.net/RecInfo.asp?URL_Folio=504210013540

    http://bcpa.net/RecInfo.asp?URL_Folio=504210013670

    http://bcpa.net/RecInfo.asp?URL_Folio=504210013680

    These parcels are valued at $682,200, $917,800, $2,269,030 and $5,430,430 respectively. That’s a total of $9,299,460. Add the $326,240 value of the tree parcel and the total is $9,625,700 or 83.5% of the December 2011 purchase price, which is about right because assessed market value is typically 80% of what the actual selling price would be.

    So the tree parcel, with an assessed value of $326,240, is probably worth $393,000. That’s a pretty reasonable price for the acquisition of a new county park via Eminent Domain.

  40. jessica kross says:

    Buddy, you have the lay out all wrong. Stop arguing about where things are and how large they are! See aerial map! I don’t think you’ve ever been to that area! Your ignorance is showing like my bad grammatical errors only worse! There is a Marina to the immediate East, then the Pirate Republic Bar then, no other Condos and another Marina Being built at the Andrews Ave Bridge, a bit further down. There are no Condos to the West of it so no “huge apartments on either side! And none of the existing buildings come anywhere NEAR the MASSIVE size of Marina Lofts! And there is no argument as to “what another developer built on a virtually identical property”! The condos that are there are SINGLE building structures for starts, Marina Lofts is THREE buildings! So forget your “Constitutional rights” argument its weak because you’re wrong and you are comparing apples to oranges! The lot can be developed and it can incorporate the tree and a brilliant architect should be able to figure that out or City should wait for that architect and those plans!

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=424+SW+4th+Ave,+Fort+Lauderdale,+FL&hl=en&ll=26.11775,-80.146967&spn=0.001066,0.002064&sll=37.6,-95.665&sspn=59.922922,135.263672&oq=424+S+W+4th+Ave,+Fort+&hnear=424+SW+4th+Ave,+Fort+Lauderdale,+Florida+33301&t=h&z=20

  41. Jessica Kross says:

    Noreen, I am not sure whose side of the fence you’re on but the tree already has an Order of Protection in place since 1987 granted by the City of Fort Lauderdale. It is being studied and is under very close scrutiny. The $1 million is a 1 year bond the developer is paying to “insure” the tree once its moved and he will get that money back after the year. I don’t know the cost of moving the tree, but it is great, but nothing I am sure to a multi-million dollar development group. At any rate, (and Mr. Nevins) ALL OTHER EXPERTS who have studied the tree, our City’s arborists, garden club, EVERY ONE OF THEM say it the tree will most likely the tree will die if moved to a 90 foot lot. As a matter of fact the ONLY expert that says the tree would be okay is the one who has been PAID/HIRED/RETAINED by the Developer. The trees root system reaches at least 150 feet, the lot is 90 feet. To move it away from the river the tree will take about 5 years to wither and die a slow death, the developer will have gotten his money back. The tree will be lost to us forever and it is priceless. Nothing had better happen to that tree now while it lives and grows just fine on the lot where it is. Noreen, your statement concerns me that you would even think that way. The Developer had better hope nothing happens to that tree while its on his lot and I am sure he is making sure nothing does.

  42. jessica kross says:

    Fact, about the ONE Condo that lies next to the Rain Tree Lot – Esplanade. Esplanade is a small boutique type condo. 139 units. The building is 16 stories high.

    Marina Lofts: 998 Units. 3 Buildings. One at a height of 299 Feet the rest TALLER.

    No comparison, MARINA LOFTS is a MONSTER SIZE complex. Too big to be on the New River, too tall, too many units and buildings.

    The structures ARE not similar in ANYWAY.

    FROM BUDDY:

    I don’t believe that it matters how tall a building is legally in this case. In addition, you are forgetting the huge Related project bordered on the east by Andrews Avenue that is now being constructed.

    I’m not sure that one tree with conflicting opinions about its worth or the ability to move it would trump property rights in court. I believe the rights may entitle the owner to best and highest use. Florida’s Bert Harris Act requires that governments compensate landowners if they cause an “inordinate burden” on an owner’s property.

    Get over it. Fort Lauderdale is going to build up and up. If you don’t like it, move to Parkland. Or elect new Fort Lauderdale commissioners.

    Stopping one project won’t mean anything. In the end, something will be built on that land. How about a homeless shelter?

  43. just the facts says:

    wow Buddy. you are entitled to your rebuttal and opinion but sounds like the fort lauderdale city commission just bought your blog and paying your salary

    FROM BUDDY:

    Absolutely not. I have nothing but distain for the way members — mostly past members — have shoved one high rise after another into Fort Lauderdale.

    I also believe that the city’s finances are on shaky grounds. It will come back to haunt taxpayers someday.

    But I also firmly believer in property rights. You can’t tell one property owner what you allowed another property owner to build.

  44. voter says:

    @Buddy
    ok. you are right. got worried that maybe you were drinking the kool aid at city hall
    and yeah the finances are real shaky which is how they did a $340,000,000.00 pension bond deal for twenty years in August 2012. thats what made the finances really shakey. city has 160,000 people and about 85k ‘properties’ to tax in the city. how can that ‘base’ support a debt service of $340MM? they can build over every square inch of the city but that will not fill city coffers
    city (and county) demographics per 2010 census are radically altered from the 2000 census.
    so more development with marina lofts construction is not the answer. a half rented building will simply force the owner/corporation to challenge the appraisal for taxes before the VAB and lori parish office

    FROM BUDDY:

    See my post last year: http://www.browardbeat.com/financial-folly-in-fort-lauderdale-city-hall/

  45. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Well, Buddy, the problem with this property rights argument is that it’s not consistent with the facts of this case.

    Here is the property in question, one square parcel closely containing one very large rain tree:

    http://199.27.243.5/default.htm?cmd=ZOOMPARCEL&folio=504210013560

    This parcel was legally encumbered in 1987; proceeding with the full consent of the property owner, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission’s 1987 Rain Tree Resolution declares “the tree shall not be removed or damaged” – that’s a legal limitation on the use of the property. And as the above aerial view clearly shows, the property in this parcel consists only of the land immediately beneath the tree. Therefore, this specific parcel’s “highest and best use” as of 1987 was simply the provision of proper support to this rain tree. Arguably, it’s now the parcel’s only legal use.

    http://www.fortlauderdaleobserver.com/raintree/2012-10-16-rain-tree-email.pdf

    Now after 1987, the parcel changed hands several times. It was sold in 1988, again in 2004, and a third time in 2011. The 1988 buyer received the parcel subject to the legal constraint imposed by the 1987 resolution. And so did the 2004 buyer. The 2011 buyer also received the parcel in its post-1987 condition, fully encumbered by the 1987 City Council resolution.

    http://www.fortlauderdaleobserver.com/marinalofts/resolution.pdf

    So when you talk about the “property rights” associated with this parcel, that bundle of property rights purchased by the developer plainly does NOT include any right to remove the tree from its present location. Nor does it include any right to damage the tree in any way. Yet your whole article is premised upon the assumption that the developer will move the tree, something he has absolutely no legal right to do!

  46. Wa Wa Wa says:

    @ Jessica “ALL OTHER EXPERTS who have studied the tree, our City’s arborists, garden club, EVERY ONE OF THEM say it the tree will most likely the tree will die if moved”

    Name one? They dont exist. The real experts – those people who have ACTUALLY moved giant trees before (not the local garden club) give it a 100% success rate. And, they have moved hundreds of trees larger than this. There is no doubt the tree can be moved successfully. You are just anti-development, admit it.

  47. Jessica Kross says:

    Tree expert – Tom Chancey. He’s the best, he has always cared for tree. He can give you the names of the others. He is also not a BOUGHT expert. As to moving giant trees the fact still remains the largest tree ever moved is smaller than the Rain Tree (see Guinness Book of World Records) and that tree was moved to a different location in the same environment. This tree will be moved away from the River from which it drinks. The plat is clearly marked Cymbal knew it was a property with a protected tree when he bought the property. Not to mention the lot they would move the tree to cannot support it at 90 ft., its roots extend beyond 130 feet. I am not against development, I am against a 3 building 998 unit oversize high rise for the lot, the area and the river. Where there are only buildings at best 140 units or so. As to the development mentioned by Mr. Nevins which is East of Andrews, there are many building that are East of Andrews of larger size, however, those buildings are in downtown and not in an already established and historical neighborhood of small beautiful Florida homes. I am not related to anyone on the Commission or anyone else. I am not against Development, but I think we can do a lot better than this mess of a project which has still failed to answer the questions to resolve the problems above. This project is too large and will cause too much impact on the River, the surrounding neighborhood with 4 inch sewer pipes and the need for the power to come from the North side of the River (2nd Avenue) and the great HUGE Transmissions lines that stop on the South side of the River. Where do you go, over or under the River to get power from 2nd? And then there is the tree, and Cymbal knew the tree was protected when he brought the land, He just thought he could move the tree out of his way, no one would notice, and he would get his bond money back after a year and then it would slowly die. That’s what I am not okay with. I am going now to try and find the experts video – the ones NOT paid for by the Developer who say the tree will die. They were on Channel 10 and 7. YOU can google it. I will find it and post, but anyone can find it if they just google it. I don’t make things up, I don’t need to. The company that says the have 100% success rate is also being paid for by the Developer – the developer has made numerous statements that are flat out lies and so have his supporters. At this point no one has a right to move anything and I hope they never do. SO Tom Chancey is one, and he’s the Best, we really don’t even need more than that. But there it is your name you asked for.

  48. Jessica Kross says:

    Here it is Tom Chancey on the feasibility of moving the Rain Tree!
    http://www.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/21010436984086/developer-wants-to-move-historic-tree-to-build-condos/

  49. Jessica Kross says:

    A great Video about why you cannot move a tree (our Fort Lauderdale Rain Tree with a canopy of about 137 feet) to a lot that is 90 Feet! The Roots extend WELL BEYOND the Canopy – Albizia Saman – A Rain Tree! If the move itself does not kill the tree – the too small lot will – over time – that would be so awful. A slow withering away. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mxn73Fo1cXk&feature=youtu.be

  50. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Here is the announcement for the upcoming Planning & Zoning meeting on May 14th…
    ———-
    What is Happening on 5/14 @ 6:30 p.m.??? – It is a meeting held by Planning & Zoning of Fort Lauderdale to review the Developers final submitted plans for the Marina Lofts development on the New River.

    –EVERYONE that wants to gets to talk, its not over til EVERYONE talks – 3 minutes per person – YOUR OPINION COUNTS – YES – Just Come and Say how you feel!

    –A night designated to decide if Planning & Zoning IS FOR or AGAINST THE REMOVAL OF THE FORT LAUDERDALE RAIN TREE from Its Home on the New River. Then Planning and Zoning will write its Recommendation to the CITY.

  51. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @46 – your claim that “hundreds of trees larger than this” have been moved is provably false. The size of this rain tree is substantially greater than the size of the largest tree of any kind that has ever been moved. So the total number of trees “larger than this” that have been moved is ZERO.

    Largest tree ever moved: 58 feet tall
    Rain tree height: 72 feet tall (24% taller)

    Largest tree ever moved: 104 feet wide
    Rain tree width: 135 feet wide (30% wider)
    ——
    http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-1/largest-tree-transplanted/

    Guiness Book of World Records

    The largest tree to be transplanted was an oak tree (Quercus lobata), aged 180–220 years and measuring 17.67 m (58 ft) tall, 31.6 m (104 ft) wide (branch-span), weighing approximately 415.5 tonnes (916,000 lb) and with a trunk girth of 5 m (16 ft 2 in). “Old Glory” was moved 0.4 km (0.25 miles) by Senna Tree Company (USA) to a new park in Los Angeles, California, USA, on 20 January 2004.

  52. Robert Giordano says:

    @Wa Wa Wa,

    Apparently, you didn’t take the time to read everything before you posted.

    1. This tree is LARGER than the largest tree ever moved, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. So, NO ONE has “moved hundreds of trees larger than this.”

    2. Name one? Tom Chancey. He certainly does exist. Here’s a link http://fortlauderdale.citysearch.com/profile/33202476/fort_lauderdale_fl/l_thomas_chancey_consulting.html

    Nice try.

  53. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @46 – A Wall Street Journal article on February 4, 2013 quoted TWO experts:
    ——-
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324900204578283894112766784.html?mod=ITP_AHED#

    [...] Even though Mr. Cymbal wants to save it and not chop it down, some of the city’s tree lovers are upset. They believe that if the tree is moved, its days might be numbered. “It will die a slow, agonizing death,” says Charles Livio, an arborist in nearby Oakland Park. [...]

    L. Thomas Chancey, a Fort Lauderdale arborist, says he was hired by the previous owner of the riverfront lot to see whether it was feasible to move the rain tree, and he concluded it was too risky. The property ended up in bankruptcy, and Mr. Cymbal bought it in 2011. [...]

  54. Real History says:

    Digging up the Past
    Archaeologists in Miami find more traces of an ancient Indian village, remnants of the city’s first hotel and original shoreline
    May 1, 2013
    BY ANDRES VIGLUCCI aviglucci@MiamiHerald.com
    In urban archaeology, the backhoe is a time machine: Scrape away a mountain of asphalt, dirt and rock near the river in downtown Miami, and the city’s buried history, centuries of it, suddenly comes to light in a startling reveal.
    Here are three smooth concrete steps leading down to a tiled floor, a remnant of industrialist Henry Flagler’s grand Royal Palm Hotel, which gave birth to modern Miami and its tourism industry. There are the brick bases of the columns that once held up the hotel’s famed veranda…..Since Carr began exploring the former Royal Palm site, he and his assistants have uncovered surprisingly extensive remnants of the hotel, which boasted the first sewer and fire-suppression systems, electric lights, elevators and swimming pool in Miami. Those finds include foundations, pipes, pieces of wooden walls still coated in Flagler’s signature yellow paint, bricks still legibly stamped “AUGUSTA,’’ presumably for their origins in Georgia, and thousands of small artifacts such as hotel keys.
    In the layer below, the archaeologists found extensive evidence of a Tequesta settlement, including rudimentary tools, fragments of bones and shells from the fish and animals that fed the Native Americans. And on the lot where a Whole Foods market is now under construction, they discovered an Indian cemetery with the fragmentary remains of an estimated 500 people. Those remains have been reburied in an undisclosed location under the guidance of the Seminole Tribe.

  55. Tree supporters say "not against development" says:

    Why doesn’t Cymbal build a small community center/ kitchen and we can finally solve the permanent feeding site for the homeless issue. What better place than under the shade of a nice tree. Sounds like a win for the tree and a win for all the tree activists, who mostly live in neighborhoods far away from this site.
    Cymbal, commission: Kill two birds with one stone. Make this site the permanent feeding site for the homeless.

  56. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @48 – Thanks Jessica for the link!! Here’s the part I found really interesting:

    WSVN Reporter: “Have You Done This Before?”
    Tree mover Paul Cox: “Absolutely, on bigger trees.”

    This is provably false, since the Guinness Book of World Records clearly shows that never in human history has ANYONE moved a tree larger than, or even the same size as, the New River rain tree.

    Unfortunately, the WSVN reporter apparently failed miserably in the “Pre-Interview Research” and “Asking Tough Questions” components of journalism school.

    But perhaps the Fort Lauderdale Planning and Zoning folks, at their public meeting on May 14th at 6:30 PM at Fort Lauderdale City Hall, will question the credibility of Mr. Paul Cox, which at this point appears to be substantially lower than a snake’s belly. Citizens exercising their right to make 3-minute statements at this meeting might even persuasively explain to the Planning and Zoning folks exactly why Tree Mover Paul Cox’s credibility requires very, very diligent investigation…

    I can only hope that there will be a lawsuit related to this situation in which Tree Mover Paul Cox will be placed under oath and compelled to explain, under both penalty of perjury and the gaze of multiple video cameras, exactly how it is that he has supposedly moved “bigger trees” than this rain tree. That will be a cross-examination well worth watching!!!

  57. truth says:

    The Guinness book of world records is not the definitive proof that no bigger tree has been moved. Guinness has a rigorous process for qualifying including paying to have one of their “judges” present at the “official attempt to break the record.”
    just because nobody has made an official attempt to break the record, doesn’t mean bigger trees haven’t been moved. All it means is that nobody has decided its worth the publicity stunt (which is what the records book is) to pay for their guy to come out and draw attention to the moving of a tree.

  58. Jessica Kross says:

    Okay, my friends in rightful opposition who wish for the Rain Tree’s survival and a decent project on the lot one more fitting of the space – Please I have come across yet another article this one in the New York Times! This writer, while he has created a much better and informed article and does not pretend he has actually seen anything and knows where it is – well beside all that he could use a little enlightenment from all of you as well! So please – Mr. Nevins has gotten more than enough attention on this poorly written and not true to fact and substance article as it stands now, and really his comments are quite inane and well and I am rather bored with him – So please my friends, I think our energy could be better applied to addressing comments to this writer now and this NY Times article at this time! ANd THANK YOU – I’ll see you there under comments!http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324900204578283894112766784.html?mod=ITP_AHED

  59. truth? NOT!!! says:

    http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/set-a-record/get-ready-to-start-record-breaking/

    How do I attempt a world record?

    At Guinness World Records we want everyone, anywhere in the world to be able to make their record-breaking dreams a reality.

    That’s why the record application and assessment process is FREE – and always will be.

  60. truth says:

    First, it still requires somebody to care enough and spend their own money compiling enough evidence for an “official attempt”
    For something this complex, I’m sure substantial proof would likely be required.
    Just because something is not an official world record doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Another example was recently in the paper involving a world record fish catch. The guy caught a giant fish that was not a “world record” because of the lure that he used. That doesn’t mean no bigger fish has been caught. The same with the tree. It just means that was the biggest tree to have made sufficient application to Guinness.

  61. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The relocation of such large trees quickly generates heavy media coverage, which constitutes zero-cost and highly reliable evidence. This rain tree has already been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Sun-Sentinel, multiple TV stations, etc., and that’s just due to the speculation that it COULD be moved, rather than to any actual movement.

    Guinness can and does take notice of events happening in the world on its own, simply by observing media coverage of significant events. Guinness does its own verifications at its own expense should it deem further verifications necessary, which in the case of an enormous tree being moved under very heavy media coverage would be exceedingly improbable.

    But more importantly, Tree Mover Paul Cox is the one making the claim that he has personally moved “bigger trees”, yet neither he nor Mr. Cymbal has offered any evidence to back up that preposterous assertion. The developer, Mr. Cymbal, is the one who must prove his case to the city of Fort Lauderdale. Mr. Cymbal, not his opponents, must provide evidence. His opponents need only expose the numerous fatal flaws in his argument.

  62. truth says:

    “The ousting of Norris McWhirter from his consulting role in 1995 and the subsequent decision by Diageo Plc to sell the Guinness World Records brand have shifted it from a text-oriented reference book, to an illustrated product. This shift means that the majority of world records are no longer listed in the book (or on the website), and can only be determined by a written application to Guinness to ‘break’ the record).”

    what this means is that in 1995, Guinness shifted from a reference book to a pr product that doesn’t seek out “the world record.” Just the world record that somebody cared to find unclaimed.

  63. truth? NOT!!! says:

    @62 – the majority of world records are on some incredibly obscure topic that few people care about (beyond those who would like to see their own names listed in the Guinness book as a world record holder). This low level of significance is why they are no longer listed in the book or on the website.

    That is certainly not the case here, since @51 it was irrefutably proven that the record for “largest tree moved” is indeed listed on the Guinness website.

    So how exactly does Mr. Cymbal intend to prove that Tree Mover Paul Cox has moved “bigger trees” than the New River rain tree?

    Where’s the evidence?

  64. jessica Kross says:

    It took me a while but I found the names of a bunch more of the experts who say you cannot successfully move this tree and a tree of this size through streets with tiny roads through an established neighborhood with other huge trees already in it and let’s not forget about the giant FPL transmission poles on the property and all the surrounding power lines -but those experts are: Peter Burke, Natural Resource Specialist for Environmental Protection and Growth Management, L. Thomas Chancey, Consulting Arborist and Robert Haehle, Landscape Consultant. AND from an e-mail in my inbox they have written to the City Commission:

    “… as well as many other qualified arborists, all feel the tree should remain in place. I do not believe it will survive the move. The company is touting a 98% survival rate, but not on tropical trees of this age and size. It is a shame we did not get to speak on this topic. “Just moving it”, was taken too lightly. We are very disheartened.

    Again, thank you for your continued support for our environment.”

  65. Roger says:

    Your opinion is just that. Yours! If the mayor of a city makes a promise, it should be honored. This is the largest tree of its kind in the area and we need more citizens with a conscience. I’ve seen the same seen play out over and over again in South Florida. Developers simply pay any minor penalty when it comes to environmental issues. Cut it down, move it or fill it in to make way for development. All hale to the Holy dollar and destroy the only reasons why we came here to begin with. Broward Beat Me!

  66. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @64 – These experts will have another chance to speak very soon, to the Fort Lauderdale Planning and Zoning folks, at their public meeting on May 14th at 6:30 PM at Fort Lauderdale City Hall. Everyone gets their three minutes to speak. These experts, and everyone else, should make their opportunity count, bringing specific facts and important points to the attention of the Planning and Zoning group.

  67. just one vote says:

    look at planning and zozing members and voting records over last 4 years
    they vote to approve 99% of every item before them
    they will sit and listen to whoever shows up walnting 2 minutes or 3 minutes, then they will vote as instructed by those who appointed them
    its gonna take a lawsuit to uphold the 1987 Resolution by the then City Commission
    I suggest we start planning for that now

  68. eye for an eye says:

    Cymbal: I know you read this. Grow some balls and start feeding the homeless at the site, and since its private property let them drink booze under the shade of the nice tree without worry of police harassment.

    I promise you that tree will be mulch for the playground at south beach park within 3 months.

  69. Chaz Stevens, Malcontent says:

    just one vote says:

    they vote to approve 99% of every item before them

    Yeah, but what about the other 14%?

  70. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Cymbal’s tragic history exposed here:

    http://fortlauderdaleobserver.com/raintree/pdfs/stevesticht.pdf

    New Times article here:

    http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2013/05/rain_tree_marina_lofts_zoning_meeting.php

  71. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/fl-lauderdale-marina-lofts-rain-tree-20130514,0,7122742.story

    Fort Lauderdale Board backs downtown Marina Lofts project
    3:20 AM, May 15, 2013

    When the [Fort Lauderdale] Planning & Zoning Board recommended approval of an iconic, high-rise apartment complex early Wednesday, the developer’s controversial plan to make room for the buildings by relocating the property’s massive rain tree didn’t factor into the decision at all.

    Board members were advised by their legal staff before discussions began that they weren’t to consider the fate of the rain tree, which the project’s critics contend would not [be] likely [to] survive a move. Whether the tree is allowed to be moved is a city commission decision, because it was the commission that gave the tree protected status in 1987. [...]

  72. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/commission/

    John P. “Jack” Seiler
    Mayor Seiler may be reached at 954-828-5003 or via e-mail at jack.seiler@fortlauderdale.gov.

    Vice Mayor/Commissioner Bruce G. Roberts
    District 1
    Commissioner Roberts currently also serves as Vice Mayor.
    Commissioner Roberts may be reached at 954-828-5004 or via e-mail at BRoberts@fortlauderdale.gov.
    OFFICE CONTACT: Robbi Uptegrove – 954‐828‐5033; email: ruptegrove@fortlauderdale.gov

    Commissioner Dean J. Trantalis
    District 2
    Commissioner Trantalis may be contacted by calling 954-828-5923 or via e-mail at DTrantalis@fortlauderdale.gov.
    Commissioner Trantalis hosts regular community forums to discuss the agendas of upcoming City Commission meetings. They are held at 5:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month in the 7th floor conference room of City Hall except when the commission is in recess.

    Commissioner Bobby B. DuBose
    District 3
    Commissioner DuBose may be reached at 954-828-5004 or via e-mail at BDuBose@fortlauderdale.gov.
    District III pre-agenda meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of each month.
    1st Monday | 6:00 pm | Carter Park, 1450 W. Sunrise Boulevard
    3rd Monday | 6:00 pm | Riverland Fire Station, 1000 SW 27th Avenue

    Commissioner Romney Rogers
    District 4
    Commissioner Rogers may be contacted by calling 954-828-5004 or via e-mail at RRogers@fortlauderdale.gov.
    District IV pre-agenda meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of each month.
    1st Monday | 5:30 pm | City Hall
    100 N. Andrews Avenue, 8th Floor Cafeteria
    3rd Monday | 5:30 pm | City Hall
    100 N. Andrews Avenue, 8th Floor Conference Room

  73. Ha Ha Ha says:

    http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/commission/bios/newsletters/rogers/2013/0513rogers_newsletter.pdf

    District IV Commissioner Romney Rogers’ Newsletter – May 2013

    [...] For Your Calendar [...]

    * Tuesday, May 14, 6:30 PM: Planning & Zoning Board hearing on Marina Lofts, City Hall First Floor Chambers. [...]

    * Monday, May 20, 7 – 8 PM: Telephone Town Hall with Mayor Jack Seiler. Call toll free 855-269-4484 to join in. [...]

    My Staff Contact is MJ Matthews, phone 954-828-5028 or e-mail mmatthews@fortlauderdale.gov.

  74. S. Roselle Higby says:

    The builder thought he could just cut it down? Maybe he thought it was rotten. Who was responsible for the roots and damage the tree made in the past? Sounds like the buyer got tricked into a situation he never realized existed. Are there no records of the damage the roots have made in the past? Sounds like a run-a-way TREE. Along with my spouse, we owned a 40 ft frontage piece of retail zoned commercial property. 30 years ago there was a tree on each side of us belonging to residents. The trees are on the roof of the business now and roots are taking over the property. The fact is, people are more important than trees, We need the sewers, not the trees. So I believe PEOPLE should come first, and believe it is the only way to solve our tree situations in the city. You want city, you sacrifice the trees.

  75. Ha Ha Ha says:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/SaveTheRaintree

    The Date of the Final Hearing HAS been changed. 7/2/13 IS CANCELLED. NEW DATE 8/20/13 – this works in our Favor, get more Petition Signatures and MORE people to attend, you don’t even have to go inside if you don’t want to, be outside in Green with SIGNS and Come SUPPORT the RAIN TREE – BE THE VOICE OF THE TREE! 8/20/13 at CITY HALL 6:30 p.m., RSVP, SHARE, SIGN. REPOST Please!

    8/20/13, 6:30 p.m. NOTE 7/2 IS CANCELLED – FINAL HEARING with CITY COMMISSIONERS, RAIN TREE ISSUE TO BE DECIDED
    August 20 at 6:30pm
    City Hall, 100 N. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

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