County pays property owner for tree

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee County commissioners agreed Thursday to pay a homeowner $3,000 compensation for a tree that must be removed to eliminate a hazard to the county airport. Airport Director Adam Hied said a large oak tree on private property is a hazard to the main runway.

He said they initially considered trimming the tree, “but it would take so much trimming it would kill the tree.”

Mr. Hied said the homeowner initially wanted $5,000 but they negotiated it to $3,000.

He said if the county does not remove the tree, they would have to change the runway, which would be much more costly and would reduce length of the runway.

“Ideally, we would own property this close to the airport,” he continued.

He said the county has a licensed and insured contractor who will remove the tree.

“This is our main runway,” said Commissioner Brad Goodbread. “ It is our only lighted runway. If this tree gets big, it’s going to be at the end of our only lighted runway. For air traffic safety, this is something we should take care of.”

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