In 2005, Terrell • Hogan attorneys Jim Terrell and Wayne Hogan provided pro bono counsel, assistance and support of the amendment to the Jacksonville Tree Protection Ordinance in the appeal before the First District Court. Enough signatures had been obtained to place the amendment on the November 2000 ballot in Jacksonville. Passage meant that The Jacksonville City Charter would be amended to establish minimum standards for mitigating tree loss during development. Area developers, The Northeast Florida Builders Association, and a few individual property owners filed suit and unsuccessfully argued that the amendment was an unconstitutional tree tax in an attempt to keep it off the ballot. The Tree Amendment was overwhelmingly passed by local voters (196,639 voters or 76% of the vote) on November 7, 2000. Despite this resounding support by the citizenry, having lost in the lower court, the developers appealed that decision. Jim Terrell and Wayne Hogan helped successfully defend the amendment in the appeal. On October 12, 2005, the First District Court of Appeal issued its mandate- a legal victory upholding the Tree Amendment and the will of the majority Jacksonville’s citizenry.
On November 4, at the Cummer Museum, a celebration of the 15-Year Anniversary of the Tree Amendment was held. At this celebration, Jim Terrell’s and Wayne Hogan’s role as pro bono counsel seeing the matter all the way through its successful end – the issuance of the First District Court of Appeal’s mandate ten years ago – was honored and recognized.
Also, as part of the celebration of the 15th Anniversary of the Tree Charter Amendment, a year-long Tree Planting Challenge– JAX DIGS TREES , was announced. JAX DIGS TREES is a citywide initiative to increase city beauty and create a healthier community by increasing Jacksonville’s tree canopy. Trees add oxygen, clean the air, decrease the urban heat island effect, slow surface water runoff, provide wildlife habitat, and add aesthetic beauty, which not only improves the quality of life but also increases property values. Citizens, schools, neighborhood organizations, businesses, and groups are encouraged to plant, protect, and preserve trees to ensure the continuation of a vibrant tree cover in Jacksonville. Terrell • Hogan has accepted this challenge and urges everyone else to accept this challenge and challenge others to do so too.