Line of palm trees get the buzz saw between CityPlace and tracks

Posted on February 4, 2016

By Tony Doris

West Palm Beachers love their trees.

Not only does the city boast about its program to increase its tree canopy, including tree give-away days, but it seems that anytime a limb falls anywhere in the city, residents are quick to call out the cutter on Facebook or to call City Hall to complain.

That’s what All Aboard Florida and CityPlace managers learned this week, after residents spotted a nearly block-long row of palm trees buzz-sawed between the railroad tracks and CityPlace garage.

Nobody’s talking on the record but we were able to piece together what appears to have happened.

The felled trees were on Florida East Coast rail right-of-way that had been leased to CityPlace, presumably to allow landscaping that for years that helped block views of the Quadrille Boulevard side of the garage. But as All Aboard Florida prepared for high-speed rail service, it needed that room for the tracks, so it was time to cancel the lease and hand back the land in the condition that CityPlace received it.

That meant removing lots of trees. There’s still a row of tall, thin palms within a foot or two of the garage but anything closer to the tracks than that had a date with the wood-chipper.

West Palm’s city arborist, Ray Caranci, says he’s talking to CityPlace about what happens next. But since the land is on the FEC right-of-way, the trees aren’t within city jurisdiction, so he’s not yet clear whether he’ll need to approve any permits related to the landscaping.

We couldn’t get All Aboard Florida, CityPlace or FEC to comment.

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