St. Joe Company to Begin Clearing Trees North of Pier Park - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

St. Joe Company to Begin Clearing Trees North of Pier Park

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Generally you can make one common observation about people.

"People don't like change," said Barbara Lundgren, the President of Palmetto Trace.

But change is coming. And if it has to, Lundgren says, so far it's being done right. Lundgren who lives in Palmetto Trace could see big change in the landscape surrounding her community.

"They have submitted for development approval," said Mel Leonard, Director of Building and Planning for Panama City Beach. "They do not have approval yet."

Leonard says the St. Joe company is beginning to clear trees north of Pier Park.

According to a brochure on the Casto Real Estate Services Web site, the Pier Park North site with be host to a number of big commercial names. Plans include Dicks Sporting Goods, Kirkland's, and Rooms-to-go.

"From what they've notified the city, they will start moving the equipment in probably the Friday of this week," said Leonard. "And then start doing the work on Monday of next week."

According to Leonard The St. Joe Company doesn't need a developmental order to start this process, but they will before any construction begins.

"The property at one time was designated for tree harvesting," said Leonard. "That gives them the ability to go ahead and harvest the trees just like a crop independent of the development review process."

These changes are close to home for Lundgren.

"So, I would be facing the homes that would back up to this area."

She spent time at Tuesday night's community meeting sharing these plans with other residents.

"I was worried they wouldn't leave us a buffer space but they are leaving us a buffer space with trees," said Lundgren. "So, I think that was very considerate of the homeowners that live in Palmetto Trace."

The tree buffer will vary some 25-50 feet around the property's edge. Although this may just be the beginning for Palmetto Trace Residents? So far so good.

Before a developmental order can be approved Leonard says traffic and utility issues need to be resolved. News13 reached out to The St. Joe Company and they declined to comment however they did confirm that they will begin harvesting in the next week.