Mulching has become a popular way to make a lot look attractive for personal use or when putting it on the market. Whether you own a vacant lot, a lot combined with your home or a home on acreage, if you have underbrush or exotic species that you would like to be mulched (also called mowing) a permit is required from the Charlotte County zoning department (per county code section 3-2-189). The fee for the permit is $55 and includes an environmental inspection. Once the permit is issued by staff the applicant is authorized to mulch all the underbrush, exotic species, dead trees and trees smaller than four caliper inches, barring any additional environmental conditions. There is no additional tree removal, clearing, filling or soil excavation authorized.
When permits are not pulled for mulching the resulting environmental consequences can be significant. If gopher tortoises (a state threatened species) are harmed or their burrows are damaged, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer will be contacted to conduct an investigation which could result in fines or potential prosecution. Mulching in scrub jay review areas is reported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for review and investigation. Also, as a result of the mulching activities Scrub Jays may begin utilizing the lot. Mulching and rutting in wetlands is reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and possibly the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They will conduct their own investigation which could result in additional permits, mitigation and/or fines. For questions or additional details on the mulching permit call 941-743-1290.
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