OCEAN SPRINGS -- The Board of Aldermen on Tuesday night took back its order to cut down the leaning tree on Lovers Lane.
A majority of the aldermen rescinded their Feb. 2 votes to cut the tree that is more than 100 years old.
Neighbors have fought to keep the tree, saying it adds to the ambience of the neighborhood.
The mayor had already stopped action on the tree last week, with a veto, to give aldermen a chance to take another look. She had new information -- a video and photo showing that fire trucks going under the tree could easily clear it.
"Aldermen overrode my veto," Mayor Connie Moran said about Tuesday's action, "then immediately voted not to cut the tree down and instead assess the situation and implement other measures."
What aldermen decided to do was cut some of the weight out of the top of the tree, add landscape lighting to better illuminate it, post warning signs and consider the cost of a flashing light system that emergency vehicles can use to warn oncoming traffic on the lane that a fire truck or ambulance was approaching.
Moran said the biggest problem with the tree is not a fire truck getting under it, but any large vehicles getting under it when there's opposing traffic taking up half the lane.
Does this mean the tree is safe?
"We don't know," the mayor said. "If we do all these measures and it's still considered a hazard, aldermen can come back again. We will monitor it. But right now, we will undertake simple measures and check the price for a flashing-light system.
"No one really wanted to cut the tree down," she said. "They are even looking at legal options to widen the road, rather than take the tree out, once they saw it wasn't such a tight squeeze. They had new information."
She said several aldermen went to Lovers Lane to see for themselves and decided, "Let's not cut it now, let's try other measures."