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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - The tree canopy in the Barnes and Noble parking lot in St. Augustine is gone.

According to the St. Johns County, the property owner -- Retail Strategies LLC in Jacksonville – had six trees cut down earlier this month. County spokesman Milton Soto said, the property owner cut the trees without getting a permit from the county to do so.

Soto said he understood the trees were cut on a Saturday, a time when code enforcement officers typically don't work.

Sally Ann Freeman is a former St. Augustine Street Tree Advisory Committee member. She said the penalties for cutting trees in the county needs to be stiffer.

"Then they (the property owners) might pay more attention if they had to actually pay this money. Plus of course, it goes back to the administration to see that this happens," Freeman said.

Milton said St. Johns County says it will work with the property owner to get as many trees back on site as possible. He said the area is measured in inches, and there were 90 inches of trees removed. For the area that is left unplanted, the owner will have to pay $25 per inch, Milton said.

First Coast News called Retail Strategies, LLC. As of news time, no one had returned the calls.