In the face of Mayor Billy Hewes' planned veto, Pass Road property owner Dennis Barber is withdrawing his request to cut down five Live oak trees on one of the commercial strip's few shaded properties.
Hewes announced Friday during his annual speech to the Gulfport Chamber of Commerce he planned to veto the City Council's 5-2 vote allowing Barber to take out the trees for a parking lot.
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The office building just east of 28th Street, the former home of Gulf Regional Planning Commission, already has parking in the rear. Barber said front parking would make the building more marketable.
Hewes, along with council members R.Lee Flowers and Ella Holmes-Hines, didn't want to set a precedent by allowing the tree removal without a demonstrated need.
Hewes said Pass Road business owners have gotten together to improve the corridor, adding rear parking is something the city has encouraged in some areas.
Councilman Myles Sharp notified the administration and council by email the oak removal is off.
"In light of what Mr. Barber views as a situation that could divide the administration and the council, he has decided to withdraw his tree permit request. He will formally do so when offices reopen next week," Sharp wrote.