MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Oak Court Mall owners will have to pay a fine for cutting down several trees along Poplar, the administrator for the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning said.
The tree removal centered around a new sign that city and county officials approved in 2018.
The sign shows the name of the mall along with several stores, and has a flashing electronic screen.
But Josh Whitehead, director of planning for Memphis and Shelby County, said the approved plans did not allow for cutting down trees or changes to landscaping.
Crews are out removing more trees today in front of @OakCourtMall, even though @CityOfMemphis/@ShelbyCoTN office of planning officials tell me they plan to cite the mall for doing so. pic.twitter.com/8Z3nvdOHLO
— Stacy Jacobson (@StacyJacobsonTV) April 23, 2019
“Trees are important. They provide a lot of shade, help cool the planet, pump a lot of oxygen into the air and absorb [carbon dioxide],” said Charlie Belenky with the Sierra Club of West Tennessee.
He’s said he was glad city and county government took action, but hoped they would do the same thing with several other similar projects across the city.
“When they take down the trees they’re expected to re-plant, and they did it without any kind of advance notice or plan to what they were going to re-plant,” Belenky said.
City and county officials say they’ll issue a citation to the Washington Prime Group, which owns Oak Court Mall.
But some people say they didn’t even notice the change. And those people may never notice it, because officials say the mall will have to re-plant all of the trees.
WREG contacted mall management for an explanation, but haven’t heard back.