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CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – The Coral Gables City Commission is set to arguments Tuesday concerning a live oak tree which is in the midst of a major neighborhood controversy.

Neighbors fear a developers plan to trim the tree back will ultimately kill the tree.

The oak tree has sat on Lisbon Street for 125 years, making it older than the City of Coral Gables.

Residents take pride in the tree, because it represents what the city is all about.

“One of the things that makes us beautiful is the canopies,” said concerned resident Tamara Mckeown.

CLICK HERE to watch the report by Cynthia Demos.

While Mckeown feels the tree is the embodiment of the city, resident Bruce Lecure is skeptical it will last.

“I’m concerned because I feel the canopy is disappearing,” he said.

Lecure and his wife live right next to the property that houses the tree. They paid more than $2,000 filing complaints to the city to try and protect this indigenous live oak tree.

The property where the tree sits was sold to a developer who plans on putting two houses on the site.

Neighbors say the way Palmcorp Development Group plans to trim the tree – to make way for a house – will ultimately kill it.

“It’s going to require them to take off the whole eastern side of the canopy. It’s going to require them to dig up the root system on the west side 6-feet deep,” said Mckeown.

Palmcorp told CBS4’s Cynthia Demos they have the provided the city with a report from an arborist showing that their trimming plan is perfectly safe for the tree.

The developers have already received the okay from the City’s development department. That’s what the neighbors are fighting.

Well known Coral Gables environmentalist and feminist Roxcy Bolton has joined the fight. Even though her health has declined and a stroke impaired her speaking, Bolton is fighting as hard as she can – just like when she use to work with Eleanor Roosevelt.

“I heard you say you would climb that tree before you would let anything happen to it. Is that true?” Demos asked Bolton.

“If I could I would,” replied Bolton.

Bolton plans on joining Lecure and dozens of others who signed a petition to stop the trimming of the tree. The concerned citizens also have the backing of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.


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