The Coastal Star

Gulf Stream: To save iconic tree canopy, water main might be moved

By Steve Plunkett

The town may reroute its main water line from alongside State Road A1A to Gulfstream Road or Polo Drive to make sure its treasured Australian pines do not run afoul of state restrictions.

The pipe will be enlarged to 12 inches in diameter from 6 inches to improve water flow to fire hydrants.

Under a plan town commis-sioners discussed Dec. 14, the main would jog west, perhaps at Golfview Drive. Driving the possible relocation is a fear that the Florida Department of Transportation might not let the Australian pines remain in the A1A right of way if Gulf Stream winds up keeping the water main next to the highway.

Mayor Scott Morgan said when the Spence property was developed, it turned out a number of the pines were in the state right of way, and “when we tried to replace them, we were obstructed by the state,” he said.

“It would be disastrous if we find that these Australian pines are in the right of way, they have to be removed for this project and then we’re prohibited from replanting them,” Morgan said.

“It’s the canopy — it’s part of Gulf Stream,” Commissioner Joan Orthwein said.

The town replaced the A1A water main south of Golfview, which also serves Place Au Soleil, in 2006. The pipe north of that is 60 to 70 years old and brittle, Rebecca Travis of Mathews Consulting said.

She said designing the project would take up to eight months, with perhaps 10 more months needed for construction. Design and construction are estimated to cost $1.1 million.

The water main project was originally planned for design in the 2024-25 budget year and for construction the next year. But commissioners said they did not want to pursue road and drainage work in the core area of town first and possibly have to return to do the rerouted A1A project.

In other business:

• Police Chief Edward Allen said he wants “no trucks” signs put on narrow Lakeview Drive and Banyan Road. “We’ve had a lot of traffic issues … with large trucks entering off A1A and trying to get to side streets,” he said. Trucks will be diverted to Sea Road and Golfview.

• Commissioners told Staff Attorney Trey Nazzaro to draw up an ordinance patterned after one in Palm Beach to limit the time builders can take to construct a home. Had the ordinance been in place, the owners of 3140 Polo Drive, which will reach three years of construction in February, would have had to seek an extension to finish. But the ordinance would affect only future projects. 

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Comment by Geoff Braboy on January 15, 2019 at 10:07am

The Australian Pine Canopy is a defining feature of the Gulf Stream landscape. Great decisions by the town officials. 

Comment by greg gunther on January 2, 2019 at 9:44pm

Please do what must be done to save those trees. I have enjoyed them every day for 50 years. Gulf Stream would be so different without them.

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