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St. Simons Land Trust acquires lot, saves big oak on Island's densely populated south end

Couple who sold lot at deep discount wouldn't build because big oak would have to fall, Land Trust said

Posted: June 23, 2014 - 5:24pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND | An oak tree estimated to be 200 years old likely spared one of the few remaining green spaces on the barrier island’s crowded south end from development.

The St. Simons Land Trust acquired a lot at the corner of Arnold and Demere Road that has a big oak that could not have remained if the property were developed, Ben Slade, executive director of the ALand Trust, said Monday.

“Now, we can not only save the oak, we will have the opportunity to plant additional trees in the future which is consistent with our long-range goal of enhancing the tree canopy on St. Simons,’’ Slade said in a release.

The couple sold the lot to the Land Trust for $110,000, a deep discount from the original purchase price, said Gordon Strother, chairman of the Land Trust board.

“The people who bought it really liked it,’’ only to learn later that the tree would have to go if they wanted to build a house there, Strother said.

“They really worked with us because they really wanted to save the tree,’’ and they were long-time supporters of the Land Trust, Strother said.

The purchase is very important because there isn’t much green space left on the densely populated south end of the island, Strother said.

“People say why don’t you do something on the south end. There just aren’t that many opportunities,’’ he said.

A St. Simons native, Strother said he has a vague memory of a store or bar on the property but wasn’t sure.

John Rogers, also a Land Trust board member, said he was delighted the Land Trust was able to acquire a visible lot that it can preserve as a small park.

Strother said this is a good example of how preservation and development can co-exist.

“The Land Trust is not anti-development,’’ he said. “We want quality development. We like trees, marsh views and green spaces. That’s why people come here.’’

The lot is a short distance from a section of Demere Road has a tunnel-like canopy of live oaks.

Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405

 
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