Pleas from neighbors fail to sway commissioners on fate of historic trees

The Lady Lake Commission voted unanimously Monday night to annex a lot that is home to historic trees in the Village of Orange Blossom Gardens.

Villagers are fighting to save these trees, said to date back to the Revolutionary War.
These trees will be coming down after a vote by the Lady Lake Commission.

The trees are to be removed to make room for a new site-built home at 1304 Debra Drive.

Residents made a last-minute plea to save the trees.

Richard St. Amant, who lives directly across the street, noted the irony that The Villages is currently marketing the new Village of Fenney by promoting the presence of live oak trees “reminiscent of old Florida.”

But he said, on the Historic Side, neighbors would be getting “another stripped and sterile lot.”

The property was owned for many years by Dick Egan, who is said to have frequently entertained Villages founder Harold Schwartz.

His daughter, Kathy Egan Hildebrandt, was among those making a plea on behalf of the trees.

Despite the residents’ concerns about the trees, the commission indicated it could not intervene.

“We want to save trees when we can, when they’re not in the middle of a lot,” said Mayor Jim Richards. “Removing those trees meets with our current codes and ordinances.”