The Town Council will consider an appeal tonight (April 23) by Woodside property owner Rajiv Gujral, who is facing a fine of $52,500 over the felling, without a permit, of six mature bay laurel trees on his Jane Drive property.
The council meets at 7:30 p.m. in Independence Hall, located along Whiskey Hill Road at the corner of Woodside Road.
The town of Woodside requires property owners to obtain a $50 tree destruction permit before cutting significant trees. Significance depends on the species. A tree native to the area becomes significant when it measures more than 9.5 inches in diameter at 4 feet above the ground. For non-native trees like the eucalyptus and Monterey cypress, the standard is 11.5 inches.
The prescribed fines for cutting such trees without a permit are $5,000 for the first tree, $7,500 for the second, and $10,000 for each subsequent tree. The permitting process involves a visit to the property by town officials.
Over the past few years, the Woodside council has heard three appeals of staff decisions and lowered the fine every time.