City Denies Permit to Remove Oak Trees from Notre Dame D'Haiti, New Church in Limbo

What is it about trees?

Terrence Malick's award-winning, foliage-filled movie Tree of Life has been plagued by walk-out audiences and at least one crazy crackhead.

Now Notre Dame D'Haiti's long-awaited expansion is being uprooted by opposition to the church's plan to cut down nearly a dozen oak trees -- some 150 years old.

The Herald reports that the city has denied Notre Dame's request for a permit to remove eleven of the trees.

City of Miami code director Sergio Guadix told the paper that the permit was rejected because 7 of the 11 trees slated for removal are "live specimen oak trees" of more than two feet in diameter.

After we broke news of the controversy last Thursday, the post received more than two dozen comments -- most in opposition to tree removal. While most were concerned with the century-old oaks, some comments, such as "Haitians hate trees," were inaccurate, xenophobic and, frankly, unhelpful.

"We are the ones who have been taking care of the trees for the longest," pointed out Rev. Reginald Jean-Mary last week.

"I understand the concerns of the citizens. They have a right to protest," he said. "But we are citizens. We pay our taxes. And we have a right to build a church."

"We are not going to remove any trees without a permit," Jean-Mary added.

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.