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Biloxi trees get the ax, but Hyatt Place keeping healthy Live oaks

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDA pedestrian passes under one of the old Live oaks being saved on the U.S. 90 property in Biloxi where Hyatt Place hotel is being built.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDA pedestrian passes under one of the old Live oaks being saved on the U.S. 90 property in Biloxi where Hyatt Place hotel is being built. SUN HERALD

BILOXI -- Construction is back on at Hyatt Place hotel on U.S. 90 after court appeals were resolved in the developer's favor, including his request to remove 36 trees from the property.

Several residents objected to removal of the trees, including a neighbor who appealed the city's decision to Circuit Court. After hearing the evidence, Circuit Court Judge Roger T. Clark ruled that city officials did not make the decision lightly and had evidence to support it.

"If you had looked at those trees, they were in horrible shape," city Arborist Eric Nola told the Sun Herald. "They needed to come down anyway."

The property, which is west of the Biloxi Lighthouse, had long been untended, he said. Most of the trees were scrub oaks. The tops of some, he said, were dead.

Hyatt Place applicant Sonny Bhakta moved the building on the property, partly to save some trees and also to avoid trimming others on an adjoining lot because their branches will create a canopy over a Hyatt Place driveway.

Nolan said only one big old Live oak is being removed. It was in bad shape. A big branch had sheared off, laying open the oak's main trunk. He said three old Live oaks on the perimeter are being saved, along with one on the property's south end overlooking the beach.

He said a total of 11 trees are being saved, five or six of them Live oaks.

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