Pleas from neighbors fail to sway commissioners on fate of historic trees


The Lady Lake Commission voted unanimously Monday night to annex a lot that is home to historic trees in the Village of Orange Blossom Gardens.

Villagers are fighting to save these trees, said to date back to the Revolutionary War.
These trees will be coming down after a vote by the Lady Lake Commission.

The trees are to be removed to make room for a new site-built home at 1304 Debra Drive.

Residents made a last-minute plea to save the trees.

Richard St. Amant, who lives directly across the street, noted the irony that The Villages is currently marketing the new Village of Fenney by promoting the presence of live oak trees “reminiscent of old Florida.”

But he said, on the Historic Side, neighbors would be getting “another stripped and sterile lot.”

The property was owned for many years by Dick Egan, who is said to have frequently entertained Villages founder Harold Schwartz.

His daughter, Kathy Egan Hildebrandt, was among those making a plea on behalf of the trees.

Despite the residents’ concerns about the trees, the commission indicated it could not intervene.

“We want to save trees when we can, when they’re not in the middle of a lot,” said Mayor Jim Richards. “Removing those trees meets with our current codes and ordinances.”


  1. I wonder how the folks that removed some trees to enhance their view feel about this, so another home can be built? There were all kind of reason why the trees should not be removed, i guess it just boils down to who is doing the asking. “God bless America”

    • Never heard of a tree paying taxes but perhaps I missed something. Whoever buys a nice house on that lot will! Less that the rest of us homeowners have to pay to support the few that can’t work and the many who won’t,

  2. If you see a lot with a tree on it that you love and can’t live without, ‘BUY IT’. everything has a price. Otherwise, take a picture, so you have something special to help you remember, as you age. This country was built on progress and intelligence. For every tree that is removed, another is planted elsewhere. i/e We just planted 1000 trees on the perimeter of our 20 acres in Michigan last summer.

    • Does The Villages allow residents to buy empty lots next door and leave them as lots? When a tree is cut down, and a tree is planted somewhere else will the new tree still supply the shade where the old tree did? If the answer to either of these questions is NO, what are you talking about?

    • I’m all for leaving trees where you can, but who came up with the idea that those trees are hundreds of years old??? I have friends in Weirsdale with a dozen or more huge “granddaddy oaks” that were planted in 1959 when the house was built. Those trees are HUGE, have the typical Spanish moss hanging from them, and are beautiful–but they aren’t even 60 years old yet. Most of these native oaks will grow like weeds, from a few feet tall to 30′ or more in less than 20 years. There are literally trees the size of the one in the article’s picture that I mowed around as 3′ saplings in 1994. So while I’m all for saving any tree you can–people shouldn’t assume they are old, or historic.

  3. We have been removing trees for building sites since Daniel Boone’s time…not much of a surprise here. The property would be almost worthless if the trees were not removed so the new home could be built.

  4. Honestly, some people are never happy. There are some beautiful trees on the historic side and in Spanish Springs! Can’t have it all folks! And Howard Schwartz is proud of what the Morse family has accomplished over the years believe me!

    • Apparently the rules do not apply to everyone equally! Surprise, surprise! Lady Lake hassles the day
      lights out of current residents when they request to take down a tree because it’s invading their foundation or heaving their driveway – they say it’s illegal – but whatever the Developer wants to do is perfectly OK! This is a Democracy????