I would take a lot for me to have any sympathy to someone who buys a property with the knowledge that it is subject to some environmental restriction but goes ahead and violates the restriction as if it doesn't even exist.
But in this case, the punishment far exceeds the crime.
Judge: Jupiter couple must pay $1.6 million for cutting down mangroves
Don't mess with mangroves.
That's the message from the $1.6 million fine imposed today against Roger and Myrna Byrd of Jupiter, said Albrey Arrington, the Loxahatchee River Environmental Control District's executive director.
The Byrds in late 2010 removed 109 mangroves from their property on the Loxahatchee River without proper state and town permits.
In addition, the Byrds likely will have to pay additional fines to the state, and are likely to be forced to restore the area by planting mangroves.
If you follow the link to the article,there are before and after photos of the area where the mangroves were removed. The Byrds appear to have removed a few hundred square feet of what could be described as mangrove bushes for the most part with a few saplings, apparently so they could have a view and what looks to be about 20 or 30 feet of beachfront. The volume of vegetation removed looks like it would not add up to one full blown tree. It looks like it's a job you could do on a Sunday afternoon with a toy chain saw.
What they did was wrong and they deserve to be fined and I have no problem with forcing them to restore the area at their won cost. And they did turn down a settlement for $100k in fines that in retrospect looks almost reasonable. But $1.6 million??
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